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VENTURA:Partners Project Removes 20,000 Invasive Trees From Santa Cruz Island
California-Nevada Offices , September 15, 2007
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Ken Owen, Executive Director of Channel Island Restoration, giving instructions to volunteers from the University of Hawaii before removing Acacia trees in Canada Del Puerto.  USFWS 06/15/2006
Ken Owen, Executive Director of Channel Island Restoration, giving instructions to volunteers from the University of Hawaii before removing Acacia trees in Canada Del Puerto. USFWS 06/15/2006 - Photo Credit: n/a
Duke McPherson and Ken Owen of Channel Island Restoration removing invasive Eucalyptus trees in Canada Del Puerto.  USFWS 06/16/2006
Duke McPherson and Ken Owen of Channel Island Restoration removing invasive Eucalyptus trees in Canada Del Puerto. USFWS 06/16/2006 - Photo Credit: n/a
View looking west up Central Valley of Santa Cruz Island. Photo shows most of of the upper watershed of Canada Del Puerto, a canyon that leads to the ocean and begins just right of structures in center of photo.  USFWS  06/15/2007
View looking west up Central Valley of Santa Cruz Island. Photo shows most of of the upper watershed of Canada Del Puerto, a canyon that leads to the ocean and begins just right of structures in center of photo. USFWS 06/15/2007 - Photo Credit: n/a

By Mary Root, Ventura Fish & Wildlife Office
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Private Stewardship Grant Program provided funding to the County of Santa Barbara Agricultural Commissioner’s Office to implement an invasive species removal project on the privately-owned portion of Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.  The Nature Conservancy owns and manages the western 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island in partnership with the National Park Service, which owns and manages the eastern portion of the island.  The project specifically focused on the control and removal of non-native woody species including Eucalyptus sp., Acacia melanoxylon, and Tamarix sp. in an effort to assist the recovery of native plant communities on Santa Cruz Island.  The National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Geological Survey, University of California Reserve System, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Channel Island Restoration, and many volunteers provided in-kind and cash support to assist with implementing the project. 

 

Although all the partners involved with the project played vital roles, Channel Island Restoration, a local nonprofit organization, implemented all of the on-the-ground invasive tree removal activities for the project and organized a large number of volunteers that were essential to the project’s success.  Channel Island Restoration’s extensive list of volunteers ranged from Boy Scout troops and Sierra Club volunteers, to students from local elementary schools or Universities throughout California and the United States.  In addition to their efforts, the County of Santa Barbara Agricultural Commissioner’s Office also played a very important role in managing the various grants and providing technical support for the project.

 

Santa Cruz Island, one of the northern Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, is home to 10 Federal and/or State listed plant species and 1 endemic Federal and State listed animal, the Santa Cruz Island fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae).  All are potentially impacted by the encroachment of invasive non-native vegetation, which comprises about 26 percent of the island’s flora.

 

Now completed, the project has removed nearly 20,000 individual invasive trees from within the watershed of Cañada Del Puerto and other remote areas of the island.  The project has exceeded the original project goal by almost 10-fold.  This success is mostly because of Channel Island Restoration’s efforts and the organization’s extensive list of volunteers who helped to stretch project dollars to remove more invasive trees than anticipated.

 

Removing invasive trees from the island complements and extends the benefits of Federal management actions occurring on the National Park Service portion of the island where similar efforts are also taking place.  The Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife and endangered species programs jointly participate in the Santa Cruz Island Weed Control Coordinating Group (Weed Control Group), which is led by The Nature Conservancy and is comprised of stakeholders, researchers, and local nonprofit groups.  The Weed Control Group aims to integrate the numerous invasive plant removal efforts occurring on the Federal and private portions of the island to streamline approaches, minimize duplicative efforts, share data, and leverage resources.  The Weed Control Group also assists with coordinating the various weed control efforts occurring on island.

 

Removing invasive trees from Santa Cruz Island is consistent with and implements conservation actions identified in the Thirteen Plant Taxa from the Northern Channel Islands Recovery Plan (Service 2000) and the Recovery Strategy for Island Foxes (Urocyon littoralis) on the Northern Channel Islands (NPS 2003).  The project also spotlights an important partnership between private landowners; Federal, State, and local agencies; private organizations; and volunteers to benefit native species and their habitats within the Northern Channel Islands complex.

 

 For more information contact:

 

Mary Root, Conservation Partnerships          David Chang

Program Coordinator                                      County of Santa Barbara Agricultural

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service                       Commissioner’s Office

Ventura Field Office                                        805/ 681-5600

805/ 644-1766 ext 233                                  dchang@co.santa-barbara.ca.us           

mary_root@fws.gov

 

 

Ken Owen                                                           Coleen Cory, Ph.D.

Channel Islands Restoration                          Ecoregional Ecologist with

A 501(C)(3) Organization                                 The Nature Conservancy

805/ 448-5726                                                  805/ 642-0345 ext 508

islands@rain.org                                             ccory@tnc.org

www.channelislandsrestoration.com


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov



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