Liquid News

New Biologist is the ‘Man in the Marsh’

Ian Swift Oversees IRWD San Joaquin Marsh and Natural Treatment Systems

Ian Swift is the new Supervising Wetlands Biologist for the Irvine Ranch Water District. After spending two years working as the watershed biologist at the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, a drinking water, recreational and educational facility owned by the Contra Costa Water District, the Los Angeles native feels like he has come home.

 “Working in the San Joaquin Marsh on a daily basis is one of the best parts about coming to work at IRWD,” said Swift. “Its serenity and beauty enhance my new work experience.”

Swift joined the District in March and he oversees maintenance of the San Joaquin Marsh and all of the Natural Treatment System (NTS) sites. The San Joaquin Marsh encompasses more than 300 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands, half of which have been restored to a natural state.

NTS is a series of manmade wetlands which use the natural ecosystems to remove sediment, nutrients, pathogens and other contaminants from urban runoff. One of the largest and most visible sites is Quail Springs in Irvine, where Sand Canyon Avenue and Shady Canyon Drive meet.

Swift gives kudos to other wetlands employees for showing him around. The first day in the marsh, he spotted the resident bobcat.

Swift comes to IRWD with impressive credentials. Prior to Contra Costa, he spent eight years as a natural areas supervisor with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Additionally, he has traveled all over Central and South America hiking and studying insects. In 2006, he was in French Guiana assisting renowned documentary film maker David Attenborough on a project, “Life in the Undergrowth.”

In his new position, Swift supervises two Wetlands Specialists, coordinates the District’s wetlands operation with state and federal regulatory agencies and coordinates with county vector control to ensure a minimum of vector-related problems.

He is eager to become involved as the District moves forward with the construction of another 15 NTS sites throughout the San Diego Creek watershed.

“The new challenges we face are adapting to the new regulatory environment and the new NTS facilities being designed and engineered,” Swift said.

Please visit www.irwd.com/environment for more information about the San Joaquin Marsh and NTS.

Ian Swift oversees the San Joaquin Marsh and Natural Treatment Systems operations.

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