Armed with restoration gear, CIR volunteers head out for another day of planting on beautiful San Nicolas Island.

January brought another busy planting season on San Nicolas Island for Channel Islands Restoration! In just one month, over 1,000 nursery-grown native species were planted to help with erosion control, expand populations of rare plants, and benefit the endemic island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana), found only on Santa Barbara Island, San Nicolas Island, and San Clemente Island.

Volunteers installed native plants in four locations: two upland areas that expand on plantings that had been done the previous year, and two areas in the sand dunes near the ocean. Species planted in the upland areas include the California boxthorn (Lycium californicum), coastal prickly pear (Opuntia littoralis v. littoralis), needle grass (Stipa sp.), and island sagebrush (Artemisia nesiotica). In addition to erosion control, the thorny boxthorn and prickly pear are beneficial to the night lizard because over time they create a densethicket that protects the lizard from predators. Near the coast, beach morning glory (Calystegia soldanell) and woolly seablite (Suaeda taxifolia) were planted in the dunes, along with other rare species. Realizing the critical importance of unique island species, we are actively working to increase the rare plant populations on San Nicolas Island, and we plan on scheduling several more planting trips later on in the season for larger dune planting efforts. If you are interested in joining the efforts, watch out for upcoming volunteer announcements!