CIR Busy on San Nicolas Island


CIR is working in partnership with several organizations on four distinct restoration projects on San Nicolas Island.  Starting in February, CIR started growing up to 7,000 native plants in the island nursery.  The nursery was constructed by CIR staff and volunteers in 2012 to grow plants
for an erosion control project.  The latest batch of plants will be used to enhance habitat for the island night lizard and also to mitigate the impacts from a wind generation construction project.  The nursery is now filled to capacity with thousands of plants covering all three of the huge nursery tables.  An expansion of the nursery space is in the planning stages. 

The island night lizard (restricted to just three of the Channel Islands) was recently removed from the endangered species list, because lizard numbers have increased markedly with conservation efforts led by the Navy and the Park Service.  To help insure that the species continues to thrive, Navy staff on San Nicolas have designed a project to enhance the habitat of the lizard.  CIR is growing several plant species that the lizard is known to favor for habitat including, box thorn and three species of cactus.  In the wild, these plants grow in impenetrable thickets that protect the lizards from predators.   The plants will be installed with the help of CIR in the fall.

CIR recently welcomed Sheri Mayta to our staff to oversee the nursery on San Nicolas.  Sheri has over

nine years of experience in native plant nursery management and native plant propagation. She owns and operates Estero Natives, a native plant nursery in Carpinteria.  She worked for Coastal Restoration Consultants (CRC) as a senior restoration ecologist and nursery manager. With CRC she managed the production of up to 50,000 plants per year at on-site nurseries.  Sheri was raised in Ventura, Ca. where she currently resides with her two children.

In addition to growing plants, CIR is helping to eradicate invasive plants that are a priority for the Navy, who owns the island.  Several CIR staff and volunteers have also been helping to eradicate two invasive plants that are particularly troublesome, ecologically.  Sahara mustard (brassica tournefortii) was introduced to the island several years ago and is a highly invasive species that has devastated the ecology of many areas in our mainland deserts.  Carnation spurge (euphorbia terracina) has recently spread to many new areas throughout California, and several populations have been found on San Nicolas.  The Navy is working with CIR and other contractors to eradicate both of these highly invasive plants before they spread any further on the island.