Nearly 200 CIR volunteers of all ages have helped plant natives at Refugio State Beach since January, and the work should continue for the next several months. The project will increase native habitat at the mouth of Refugio Creek by removing non-native flora and planting natives along the creek banks, in an area covering about 30,000 square feet. Starting in October, non-native trees, shrubs and grasses were removed by the State Park and CIR. These include Palms, Myoporum, Arundo, Black Acacia, Pampas Grass, Fennel, Castro Bean, Pepper trees, Eucalyptus, and annual grasses. In January, the planting of 3,000 container plants began, including native riparian trees and coastal scrub species.
The project is led and managed by our partner, South Coast Habitat Restoration, a local non-profit organization. CIR is providing assistance with the removal of non-native plants, and is arranging for the bulk of the volunteer help. California State Parks is another partner, and funding from the project has come from the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Earth Island Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Board and Southern California Edison. The last scheduled planting day is March 8, but volunteers may also be needed to help water the plants until they become established.