Ecological Restoration

1 January 2017

Considering how these aspects are different to different regions, it becomes difficult to develop a term that everyone can agree on unanimously. The campus lagoon, 94 acres in total, is “surrounded on the north, east and west by the Main Campus of UCSB and is bordered on the south by the Pacific Ocean. ” The floor of the lagoon contains a depth of about 40 feet of loose and incompact layers of sand, slit, and clay comprised of partially decomposed organic matter. Habitat types that the lagoon includes are salt marshes, coast live oak woodlands, coastal dunes, vernal marshes and coastal sage scrubs.

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Archaeologists have determined that mankind had inhabited this area for about 9,000 years (UCSB Campus Lagoon). The restoration of Manzanita Village, Campus Point and the degraded wetlands will be focused on. Their descriptions, future goals and future actions will be discussed to have a better understanding of the sites. Daylight streams, Kudzu plants and riparian buffers strategies will be explained to illustrate how they will improve water quality, diminish erosion and decrease pollution, respectively on these sites.

The Pacific Ocean and the campus lagoon border Manzanita Village. The restoration began in 2002 as a way to diminish the impact it made on the vernal pool and vernal marsh habitats on the site (5 Year Performance). The site is considered a Mediterranean climate zone and the soil consists of clay (Bitting). Currently, there are six acres of restored coastal grassland, vernal pool, vernal marsh and coastal sage scrub and more than 80,000 native plants have been replanted to increase species diversity (CCBER).

The expanded wetlands have also significantly increased the number of birds, animals, reptiles and amphibians. Much of Campus Point is covered with an ice plant, Carpobrotus edulis. These plants grow year round and individual plants compete with native plants by forming mats up to 40 cm thick and 8-10 m in diameter. Examination shows that this ice plant has a very dense tough root system concentrated in the upper 50 cm of the soil, and that new roots form at each node as the plant spreads outward (D’Antonio, 886).

In 2006, CCBER planted 2,000 acorns along Campus Point with hopes that in 15 to 20 years a small oak woodland habitat will be reestablished (CCBER). The eastern edge of the Lagoon, near San Nicolas Hall and Parking Lot 5, is dominated by Kikuyu grass, a rhizomatous plant with matted roots. Data from 2009 illustrate that even at that time, the site was completely covered in non-native Kikuyu grass (San Nicolas Slope Restoration Monitoring). Kikuyu grass favors moist areas and therefore it occurs in hydric soils.

A Mediterranean climate, the site records rainfall averaging 16-20 inches per year. A myriad of different birds also inhabit the riparian and coastal sage scrub habitats as seen on wildlife surveys done monthly of the site due to the Lagoon Survey requirement (San Nicolas Habitat Restoration Plan). If Manzanita Village does not undergo restoration, the confined underground pipe systems will eventually cause decreases in flow capacity, escalation in flow rate and water pollution, resulting in floods, erosion and loss of natural resources.

Goals for this restoration include improving water quality by subjecting water to air, sunlight, vegetation and soil, all of which aid in neutralizing toxins and reconstructing riparian habitat so more wildlife can inhabit the site as well (Koshaley). In some cases, daylighting streams on school grounds have led not only to ecological restoration but also to the advancement in students’ knowledge regarding other outdoor ecological programs (Ubran Stream Daylighting).

Because the coastal bluffs on the Campus Point are eroding, more action needs to be taken in order to slow down this natural process. The goals for this site are to “restore the soil and reduce erosion” (Kudzu). Individual Kudzu stems can grow to about 20-30 m in one season so it should not be used in abundance in the future because it can become a detrimental invasive weed with serious ecological and economic effects (Sasek). With a restored wetland being designed on the way, inland buffer zones should be created “to provide an opportunity for wildlife to move inland” (Kostyack).

Wetlands need to be restored because damage to them can obstruct wetland functions, such as water quality safety, habitat for fish and other wildlife, and flood prevention (Wetland Restoration). Goals for wetland restoration include reducing the outcomes of human disturbance on wetlands and increase in diet for wildlife (Wetland Buffering Plantings). To continue into the future, all of California’s shoreline wetlands require buffer zones around them to allow for steady migrations of each wetland as ocean levels increase (Bridgers).

Currently, the Manzanita Village site contains 1,300 linear feet of bioswales (CCBER). An alternative, or addition to the bioswales could be daylighted streams. Because there are underground pipe systems that connect Manzanita Village to the lagoon, streams can be daylighted so that their flow of formerly concealed rivers, creeks and streams can be partially or fully exposed (Koshaley). The daylighting of living streams can occur in several ways. Various implications of creek daylighting are discussed by Brown and Schueler (2004), Pinkham (2001), Wolfe and Mason (1999).

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