Channel Islands Restoration and Channel Islands National Park worked together to organize and lead three volunteer trips to Santa Rosa Island in July and October to remove fencing that had been erected to protect sensitive plants from non-native grazing animals. Removing the fencing was difficult, but the hardy volunteers put in long hours and were able to visit some remote parts of the island that few visitors have a chance to see. Volunteers camped at Johnson’s Lee (with special permission) on the south side of the island on two of the trips.
CIR volunteers receive instruction on Santa Rosa Island
from NPS restoration biologist Sarah Chaney
The fencing was originally installed by mostly volunteer labor (including CIR volunteers) under the direction of the National Park Service. Non-native deer and elk were present on the island as part of a commercial hunting operation run by the island’s previous owners in an agreement with the NPS. The fencing protected rare plants from grazing by the animals and protected sensitive environments threatened by erosion. With the expiration of the hunting agreement at the end of 2011, all non-native animals are now gone from the island and the protective fencing is no longer needed.
No funding was available for the trips, so CIR and the NPS needed to come up with creative ways to finance the project. Volunteers paid for the cost of the boat transportation and the wages of one CIR staff person. CIR donated the wages of a second staff person and the cost of coordinating volunteers. The NPS provided vehicles, logistical and staff support and campsite use.