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Habitat Restoration Project Under Way at Coal Oil Point Reserve

The next Volunteer Restoration Planting Day will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

The Santa Barbara Audubon Society has initiated a habitat restoration project at the Coal Oil Point Reserve.

The buffers of the freshwater wetlands at COPR will be enhanced by the removal of non-native plant species such as tamarisk shrubs, harding grass and thistles. Native plant species will be installed to enhance the coastal sage scrub and wetland buffer plant communities.

The project is funded by the Goleta Valley Land Trust, which has awarded a $34,050 grant to the local Audubon chapter to implement the project through June 2011.

Project goals include enhanced raptor foraging by replacing non-native grasses with native grasses such as purple needlegrass and California brome. Enhancement of the buffer of the dune swale pond will improve breeding habitat for several bird species such as red-wing blackbirds. The pond is also home to the sensitive southwest pond turtle. The pond trail and viewing overlook also will be improved in the portions within the 14-acre project site.

The Coal Oil Point Reserve is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System and is managed by UCSB. COPR encompasses Devereux Slough and adjacent habitats.

The Santa Barbara Audubon Society and COPR have a long-standing partnership to improve the habitat for birds and wildlife, including the threatened shorebird Western snowy plover. This project expands the efforts to habitat enhancement of the freshwater wetlands of the preserve.

The Goleta Valley Land Trust is supporting integrated interpretive tours of COPR with hands-on restoration. Community groups, such as Scout troops, that would like to take advantage of this opportunity can contact Ofri Gabay at 805.893.5092 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The next Volunteer Restoration Planting Day will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday to help install native plants. Contact Darlene Chirman at 805.692.2008 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for information about future restoration workdays.

— Adam Lewis is the publicity chairman for the Santa Barbara Audubon Society.

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