Nature Reserve of Orange County

The Irvine Ranch Water District Board of Directors honored the Nature Reserve of Orange County as a key partner in service at its meeting on November 28, 2011. The Nature Reserve was formed in 1996.

“The original partnership between the Nature Reserve of Orange County and IRWD began with NROC’s inception,” said IRWD General Manager Paul Cook. “However, we had the opportunity to enhance our partnership by welcoming NROC into the IRWD family in 2000 by providing them office space in our Sand Canyon building.”

The 1996 formation of the Nature Reserve of Orange County is the result of conservation planning by federal and state wildlife agencies, county and city governments, major landowners and the environmental community. The partnership was formed to establish a Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan for the Central and Coastal sub-region of Orange County. The result is a regional open-space reserve with 37,000 acres that permanently protects a wide range of local wildlife and natural habitats. NROC creates opportunities for people to enjoy and learn about this community of nature and it manages many monitoring and restoration programs throughout the reserve.

The 37,000 acres are located in two approximately equal sections - the Coastal Reserve extends from Newport Bay through Dana Point and north to Irvine. The Central Reserve is located in the county’s foothills and extends north of Irvine to the Santa Ana River. Some notable reserves in the IRWD service area include the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve, the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve and Irvine Regional Park.

The NROC Board of Directors is composed of public and private owners of reserve land, wildlife agencies, local governments and community representatives including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish & Game, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the County of Orange, the Irvine Ranch Water District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the University of California at Irvine, the Transportation Corridor Agencies, the City of Irvine, The Irvine Company, Headlands Reserve, LLC, the California Department of Forestry, the Coastal Greenbelt Authority and the Orange County Fire Authority. In addition three at-large public members representing the environment, business and recreation communities are elected to the board every two years. Board President, Steve LaMar serves as the IRWD representative.

Additional information about NROC can be found on their website,

From left, IRWD Board members Peer Swan, John Withers, and Mary Aileen Matheis; IRWD General Manager Paul Cook; Nature Reserve of Orange County Executive Director Lyn McAfee; IRWD Board President Steve LaMar and IRWD Board Member Doug Reinhart.