We have a number of habitat restoration projects we work on; both large and small. We find that the key to accomplishing any of these is collaboration with all of the stakeholders, including the Federal, State, and local agencies, non-profits, and private property owners. It can get complex but the results are worth the effort.
Restoring the Gaviota Creek watershed is our most ambitious project yet. We have prepared a Watershed Restoration Plan Update and are working closely with South Coast Habitat Restoration to remove the barriers to steelhead migration in the creek. We have also identified the potential for restoring the estuary in a recent report by Channel Islands Restoration.
In the past, projects to restore damaged habitat have been required to go through the same arduous permit process as a project to develop land. This has often placed an unreasonable cost burden on restoration projects. Coastal Ranches Conservancy retained a consultant to help assess permit problems and recommend methods of streamlining permits for restoration work to the appropriate public agencies. A number of our suggestions were implemented and the process is today much improved.
A group of land owners wanted to do an assessment of the feasibility of restoring steelhead to a local watershed. Coastal Ranches Conservancy provided some of the funding to support the effort, which resulted in a plan which the land owners could use to seek grant funding to do the restoration work, if they so desire.
A local ranch has a number of pastures that were previously farmed and, as a result, suffered from low fertility and a loss of topsoil. Coastal Ranches Conservancy provided funds for the drill planting of 13 acres of Purple Needle Grass, a native perennial, to attempt to improve the productivity of the pasture. Native perennial grasses have deep roots which are able to tap into soil moisture and minerals below the level that annual grasses can reach.