Fundraisers for UCSB’s Sedgwick Reserve are trying to raise $13 million to renovate buildings and infrastructure on the 5,900-acre reserve in Santa Ynez.
The director of the reserve, Michael Williams, along with UCSB and community representatives, has been working for the last year drawing up a “Master Plan” for Sedgwick, the largest of the 34 reserves owned by the University of California. The reserve was established in 1996 as one of seven reserves maintained by UCSB.
Williams has also been raising funds to pay for improvements if the campus planning committee approves the plan this fall.
“A majority of the buildings are in desperate need of repair,” Williams said. “Most of the buildings are from the 1950s, some are from the 1930s.”
Williams said he hope s the plans to renovate the buildings on the reserve will be finished by 2005 and that the entire project will be finished in 10 years.
“The reserve is a very valuable facility for the state of California and the UC system,” Williams said. “It protects a large piece of California’s natural diversity.”
Three buildings in violation of the health code have been shut down after rats carrying an anti-virus in their droppings infested the buildings, Williams said. Two buildings, the main house and the studio, are still safe enough for reserve activities.
Many of the buildings are being renovated to provide long-term housing for staff and undergraduate researchers, and to provide a field laboratory for general research purposes.
Once raised, the money will also go toward repairing the 39 miles of trails on the reserve, putting roofs on the buildings without roofs and replacing the sewage system.
“Currently there are no public restrooms available,” Williams said.
The reserve is also improving security since an incident in August when hunters, in the beginning of the summer hunting season, trespassed and tried to shoot deer. Two men were later arrested for being drunk in public, shooting from a vehicle and resisting arrest. Since then, the reserve has significantly decreased the number of trespassers and illegal hunting and fishing by repairing the fences and gateways around the reserve.
UCSB Vice Chancellor for Research France Cordova said improvements in the physical structure would provide a better environment for research.
“The current layout, uses and conditions of the building require substantial improvements in order to make the reserve a more viable place to achieve the missions of conservation, research and education,” she said.
Researchers from UC Davis, Riverside and Irvine also use the reserve to study oak regeneration, native grassland, soil nutrient flow and environmental monitoring.
The reserve is also involved with educational public outreach programs and works closely with Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, the Santa Barbara Historical Society and local artists.
The Natural Reserve System, a UC-wide organization for research and educational sciences, has donated $65,000.
The Dean Witter Foundation also donated $20,000 to the reserve, and Goals for American Foundation granted an additional $20,000.
“In the past, very little has been donated to the reserve, but its acquisition by UCSB is recent,” Cordova said.
External sponsors donated $1 million for an observatory where researchers do extensive studies on the movement of carbon in soil, Cordova said.
Once the proposal is approved, Marine Science Institute Development Director Cathleen Candy will oversee all fundraising efforts.
“We need to go through the campus approval process and [Williams] is in the process of doing that now,” Candy said.