A project is under way to improve erosion control, reduce stormwater pollution, create new vegetation and rehabilitate irrigation systems at various interchanges along Highway 101 and State Route 150 in southern Santa Barbara County and Carpinteria.

The project includes the removal of the invasive ice plant in selected locations. Trees that are dead or decaying will be replaced to ensure the continuity of landscape along the corridor. After consultation with the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioners Office, it’s anticipated that only six Monterey pine trees will be removed, which is far less than originally planned.

Caltrans’ goal is to preserve as much of the landscaping as possible while working to maintain the environment by preventing erosion and pollution in the area. Work on the project is expected to occur 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Much of the replacement planting will be drought tolerant and adaptable to Santa Barbara County. The plants will aid in weed suppression and slope stabilization/erosion control.

The contractor for the $1.6 million project is American West Landscape Inc. of Chino. The project should be completed by the end of 2010 and will include a three-year plant establishment period.

— Jim Shivers is a public information officer for Caltrans, District 5.