The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration received a $36,000 grant from the Goleta Valley Land Trust on Monday to fund restoration of a 37-acre area located within the West Campus bluffs.
The project involves removing invasive plant species such as non-native annual grasses and replacing them with native plants and grasses in the Ellwood-Devereux Open Space along coastal West Campus. The latest endowment serves to complement CCBER’s trail renovation along Isla Vista’s Eastern bluffs last year.
Fourth-year hydrology and history of public policy major Aaron Kreisberg, a Cheadle Center intern, said non-native plant species endanger the areas they invade and consequently threaten the habitat.
“Ice plant is an invasive plant from South Africa, which really tends to take over,” Kriesberg said. “Especially on cliffs, it seems to accelerate erosion.”
According to CCBER project leader and director of ecosystem management Lisa Stratton, replacing invasive species with indigenous plants and grasses will restore the ecosystem’s health and natural character.
“Native coastal grasslands are becoming increasingly rare — less than 10 percent remain and besides being beautiful, they also support populations of small mammals that support a larger food chain,” Stratton said.
Stratton said the Goleta Valley Land Trust provided significant finances for expanding and continuing of campus environmental projects.
“CCBER hopes to continue finding grant funding to expand on the current restoration to create an intact native coastal terrace,” Stratton said.
Kriesberg said students’ ability to participate in natural restoration efforts provides an invaluable experience not available in other departments.
“You get to work outside and you feel good about the work you are doing and you can’t beat the view,” Kriesberg said. “I love it and I highly recommend it to anyone. You feel like you’re using your time in a good way.”
Students and other community members are welcome to participate in rehabilitation activities scheduled for April 20 and April 27. Visit http://ccber.ucsb.edu/get_involved for more information.