Blooming native wildflowers are evidence of a job well done by our seasonal restoration crew. Photo by Jackson Brooke.
Within the 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve exists a mosaic of oak woodlands, redwood forests, grasslands, chaparral, ponds, and streams. One of the most important facets of the Conservancy’s work is maintaining and enhancing these natural habitats which provide food, shelter, and migration corridors for hundreds of wildlife species across our region.
As plant communities are the foundation of The Preserve’s ecosystem, the Conservancy invests a great deal of energy in maintaining their health and diversity. In large part, this work boils down to aggressively removing invasive weeds that displace native plants and is led by our Restoration Team.
According to the California Invasive Plant Council (CAL-IPC), the state spends at least $82 million on invasive plant control, monitoring, and outreach annually – not including the substantial and harder to quantify ecosystem impacts. Nationally, Cornell University researchers have estimated that invasive species are responsible for $120 billion in damage each year.
While it is impossible to eradicate invasive plants, slowing their spread and reducing their seedbank is a critical endeavor. The alternative would be to allow invasives to take over—consuming high quantities of already scarce water, increasing fuel loads that raise wildfire risk, disrupting nutrient cycles in the soil, and reducing wildlife habitat in their wake.
As community members, we all play a critical role in slowing the spread of invasive plants by managing weeds in our own backyards. For more information, check out our Weed Management Guide.
Click the button below to learn more about our work in our April Newsletter.