Santa Barbara Island Update

Students from SBCC Ecological Restoration class sailed to Santa Barbara Island this past spring and fall to continue restoration efforts on the Island. In spite of the lengthy drought which spurred extraordinary efforts to get water to this desert island, the plants are surviving and thriving. We are seeing seedling recruitment from some of the species …a very encouraging marker of a plant’s ability to sustain itself. Further, we are seeing the return of Scripp’s Murrelts and Cassin’s Auklets as the native nesting groundcover increases. Heartening signs! Besides planting over 3200 plants students weeded the notorious crystalline iceplant, Mesembryanthemum crystalline, leading to lively speculation about 19th-century sailors who likely brought the South African native to the island in their travels (some say as a supposed syphilis cure). Growing Solutions’ staff, volunteers and students have been involved from the beginning in this exceptional project. Overall combined efforts from staff, volunteers, interns and students have resulted in 30,000 plants in the ground on five sites along the island perimeter increasing the seabird habitat by seven acres. For video and more information CLICK HERE.