The San Marcos Foothills experienced an exceptionally hot and dry summer along with the rest of the region and we were concerned about the survival of the native seedlings we had just planted. Luckily, with some watering throughout the season, they survived it. Now, after the January rain, invasive plants are surging up from billions of dormant seeds. Our native plants received a head start from irrigation during the summer, but winter can be a critical time for young plants, because they can become overwhelmed by fast-growing non-native annual grasses and other weeds that compete for soil moisture and sun.
We are currently growing and maintaining nearly 13,000 native and endemic island plants as part of our current restoration project. These plants were grown from seed and cuttings collected exclusively from the island under the watchful eyes of our Nursery Manager, Kelle Green and Nursery Assistant, Sarah Spellenberg. It has taken the dedication of thousands of staff and volunteer hours to successfully propagate, grow and maintain such a large number of plants at an isolated island nursery 60 miles off shore.
We are glad to announce that Friends of the Island Fox (FIF) is joining the CIR family. FIF is a group which supports efforts to preserve and protect the island fox (Urocyon littoralis) on the California Channel Islands through conservation and education programs. FIF became a key component in the efforts to help restore the number of island foxes when they were threatened with extinction. Today, Island Foxes throughout the Channel Islands are no longer endangered, which is thanks in part to the help of FIF and their supporters. Now FIF will continue their conservation efforts as a program of CIR.
In the wake of the Thomas Fire, many people have expressed concern over the state of the burn areas, particularly in relation to landslides from the bare slopes and how native and invasive plants will respond.
Channel Islands Restoration has experienced unprecedented growth in 2017. Due to the energy of our volunteers and staff and the generosity of our donors, we have worked on 25 projects in 2017 so far. We have removed an uncountable number of invasive weeds, propagated tens of thousands of plants and we restored habitat from the Channel Islands to the San Rafael Wilderness and everywhere in between. More than 800 volunteers and around 200 financial donors have made this possible.
Base personnel from the environmental department onboard Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu, California with some help from the Channel Islands Restoration (CIR) staff and volunteers are enhancing critical wetlands without competing with the base’s military mission.
In February 2017, the CIR team salvaged individuals of Braunton’s Milkvetch and brought them to the CIR native plant nursery in Camarillo, where our Nursery Manager Kelle Green and Nursery Technician Sarah Spellenberg, with the help of volunteers, gently cared for the plants, giving them shade, water, soil and pruning
Right now during the month of December, your donation to Channel Islands Restoration is doubled. An anonymous group of donors have pooled their money and pledged to match every dollar we fundraise with a dollar of their own - up to $6,500. If we don’t raise a matching $6,500, then we’ll only receive a respective percentage of the match.
Channel Islands Restoration is currently leading the largest-ever restoration on San Nicolas Island. With the help of volunteers that have put in well over ten thousand hours over the years, we’ve grown and planted more than 30,000 plants to restore critical habitat throughout the island.
CIR, with two crews of intrepid volunteers, took two trips down the Sisquoc River deep in the wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest in October and November of 2017.
Throughout August CIR staff, UCSB students, and community volunteers got down in the marshes to survey for salt marsh bird's-beak (Chloropyron maritimum subsp. maritimum).
On Sunday June 4th, an adventurous group of CIR supporters and volunteers were treated to a unique tour of the Santa Ynez ridge. as it has never been done before
On a gorgeous Day in March, over 50 CIR volunteers and donors were treated to a unique trip in a classic dome lounge-dinning train car up the coast to San Luis Obispo and back.
Five days riding on the backs of mules left us sore but happy, as we scouted the Sisquoc River and Manzana Creek for Tamarisk trees.
With the rain arises a new array of benefits and obstacles. Much like the harsh drought helped eliminate poorly-adapted invasive species, yet made the establishment of new natives difficult, rain offers a gradient of impacts.
Channel Islands Restoration proposes to eradicate non-native invasive Tamarisk species in the Sisquoc River and Manzana Creek. The objective of the project is to restore and maintain habitat for riparian dependent species such as the federally listed arroyo toad, California red-legged frog and steelhead trout.
To those that would like to get more involved with CIR and work a little "behind the scenes" - we just so happen to be looking for dedicated and creative volunteers to join our Party Planning Commission.
In the past year, support from donors has given us the capital to pursue grants for new and exciting projects and to continue work where federal funds have been eliminated. Plus, donations have helped us further our education outreach and bring underprivileged kids into nature and onto the islands, and it hasallowed us to expand our efforts to restore special and important habitat on the Central Coast. To those that have given at other times in the past year: THANK YOU, and please consider sustaining or upgrading your membership through monthly donations. Now through automatic monthly donations, there's no need for reminders or alterations in your monthly budget! However, regardless of how you donate, and regardless of how much, we sincerely appreciate your support. Without donors, we wouldn't be able to continue the mission of CIR.
Anacapa Island is more a chain of islets rather than one large island and because of this, it has a high ratio of coastline to interior. This expanse of ocean bluff and coastline provides critical and/or important habitat for seabirds, marine mammals, and a number of rare plants. The island boasts sixteen plant species that are found only on the Channel Islands, two of which are unique to Anacapa, and the largest breeding population of the formerly federally endangered Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in California. Anacapa Island is an important breeding location for the Scripps’s murrelet (Synthliboramphus scrippsi), one of the world’s rarest seabirds, and the ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), a California Species of Special Concern.
By mid-afternoon on Santa Rosa Island, the winds reached gale force. 50mph gusts tore through our worksite in the cloud forest, throwing grit in our eyes faster than our tear ducts could remove it. Still, we labored to the best of our ability, working to retrofit a series of erosion control barriers beneath the island oaks before the sun set behind San Miguel Island to the west.