El Dorado Nature Center

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North lake (near the visitor center), 9/18/11

El Dorado Nature Center is located in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park East.  This 105 acre nature park includes a visitor center and museum, interpretive classes and programs, 2 miles of dirt trails (divided into an optional 1 mile or 2 mile loop) and ¼ mile paved handicapped accessible trail.  Features also include 2 lakes and ½ mile stream.  Originally planted with some non-native Mediterranean species, since the 1980’s only California native plants have been used.  The nature center includes oak woodland, riparian, chaparral, coastal sage scrub and grassland native plant communities (all found naturally in the LA/OC area).  Restoration projects have included the removal of non-natives.  Minus the sounds of the surrounding city which can sometimes be heard, El Dorado Nature Center has the look and feel of a typical hike in the wilderness parks surrounding the county.  This urban nature oasis created from flat farm land was formerly a part of Rancho Los Alamitos.  The land was contoured using soils from the 605 fwy construction and construction of the parks lakes. 

On the trails... click any pic on the page below to enlarge

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Fall colors, 11/23/12

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Sept 18, 2011

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South Lake, on the 2 mile trail, 11/23/12

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Sage scrub habitat, on the 2 mile trail next to South lake, 11/23/12

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Woodland & riparian habitats along the trail, 11/21/12

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Dec 30, 2010

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Dec 30, 2010

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Dec 30, 2010

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Dec 30, 2010

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Great Egret, 11/21/12

A variety of wildlife has made the nature center home:  coyotes, striped skunks, raccoons, possums, lizards, snakes (not poisonous), squirrels, rabbits and a wide range of birds including wetlands, raptor, songbird and duck species (some birds found here are also on the endangered/threaten lists).  The official website has a good online photo bird list.

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Wood ducks in North lake, 11/21/12

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Osprey in a tree next to South lake, 11/23/12

 

Creek restoration, a few pics showing how it looked when the contouring construction was completed in March 2010 compared to years afterwards.  It usually takes a couple of years for CA native plants to mature to the point of losing "the barren look". 

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Creek just after restoration complete 3/20/10

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The same spot as shown on the right, 8 months later, 11/27/10

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Creek on 3/20/10 after restoration work

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Restored creek 2 years 8 mos later, Great Egret is seen in the creek, 11/21/12

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March 20, 2010, after restoration work complete

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Same spot as pic to the right, 1-1/2 years later (9/18/11)

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Riparian habitat along the restored creek, 11/21/2012 (2 yrs 8 mos later)

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Creek on 9/18/11 (1-1/2 yrs aft restoration)

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Creek on 9/18/11 (1-1/2 yrs aft restoration)

In 2010 and 2011 restoration projects were completed which included stream, pedestrian bridges, native plant/habitat and trail improvements.  Other ideas considered include visitor center improvements, more habitat restoration and even the idea of wetlands expansion/connection to the San Gabriel River.  It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this park.

A few random tree pics...

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Looking up through the pines, 12/30/10

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The red berry trees (Toyon) are found throughout the nature trails.

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Looking up through the Toyon...

A few California native plant pictures, dated to show what is found in the different seasons.  Also see the CA native plant picture gallery on CAOpenspace Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33014&l=a10171291f&id=100405670015047

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Elderberry, 11/27/10

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Lemonade Berry in back, rust color is California Buckwheat, front pale green is White Sage 11/27/10

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Leaves of 3 in the park? In this case not poison oak, these are California Blackberries, 3/20/10

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Black Sage, 3/20/10

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November 21, 2012

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September 18, 2012

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September 18, 2011

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September 18, 2011

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September 18, 2011

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Grassland restoration sign (click pic to enlarge)

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Grassland restoration area

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North lake, 12/30/10

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Trail map sign posted at trail heads, 11/23/12 (click pic to enlarge)


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For more park info see the El Dorado Nature Center official website.  Click here for the current fee schedule and hours.  Note the entry fee covers both the Nature Center and El Dorado East Regional Park, annual park passes are also available; for purchase info click here.  For trail map, not sure how up to date this is, but see this trail map photo.  At the park trailhead you will find a current trail map interpretive board.