News

The Conservancy Uses eDNA to Find Threatened Amphibians

A mass of California Red-legged Frog eggs rests at the surface of a pond on The Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman.  May 11, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator A major development in fish and wildlife monitoring, Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a scientific method that can tell us whether a species is present
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Shaded Fuel Breaks Increase Fire Safety on The Preserve

A shaded fuel break along Dormody Road, where young bay laurel trees and shrubs have been cleared in the understory. Photo by Jackson Brooke.  May 6, 2022 By Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager The Conservancy’s vision for fire and fuels management on The Preserve is one that harmoniously combines the protection of life and property with
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April 2022 Newsletter

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
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What is Conservation Grazing and How Can it Benefit Coastal Prairies?

The contrast between a just-grazed pasture and the first day of grazing in a new, adjacent pasture on San Clemente. Photo by Andrew Evans.   April 20, 2022 By Claudio Núñez, Conservation Grazing Manager, and Andrew Evans, Conservation Grazing Associate In this ecological moment, animal husbandry is a controversial topic. Industrial livestock production has led to
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California Natives to Cultivate in Your Garden by Habitat Type

Redwood Sorrel is an herbaceous perennial plant that provides excellent ground cover in moist, shady environments. Photo by Serena Lasko. April 13, 2022 By Evany Wang and Sophie Heny, Seasonal Restoration Crew Members Waving grasslands decorated with strings of blazing wildflowers, oaks hung thick with moss, cattle marching through vivid green grass—The Santa Lucia Preserve
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Sudden Oak Death on the Santa Lucia Preserve

A volunteer pins a sudden oak death (SOD) sampling tag to a tree. April 4, 2022 By Dr. Brian Woodward, Conservation Ecologist Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is a tree disease caused by the exotic plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum. Originally introduced with imported nursery plants, the pathogen has spread widely across coastal California and southwestern Oregon,
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March 2022 Newsletter

Our conservation grazing herd browses under the oaks at San Clemente. Photo by Andrew Evans. March 31, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director A visionary model, the Santa Lucia Preserve blends sustainable development into a permanently protected natural landscape. The founders’ vision led to the science and nature-based design of The Preserve with a dedicated
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How to Identify 7 Common Raptors in the Santa Lucia Mountains

Ventana Wildlife Society Biologist Mike Stake and Conservation Ecologist Dr. Brian Woodward conduct a Raptor survey on The Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman.  March 25, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator Soaring overhead on rising thermals, dive-bombing rodents in the rolling grasslands with their piercing screeches echoing off of the hills – birds
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How Conservation Flows Downstream in the Carmel River Watershed

The Coastline at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Photo by Alix Soliman. March 21, 2022 By Andrew Evans, Conservation Grazing Associate From Big Sur to Carmel Beach to Asilomar and beyond, the draw of the Central Coast is centered on its pristine landscapes, resilient habitats, abundant fisheries, and welcoming coastal towns. However, as global watersheds
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February 2022 Newsletter

Chorus frog floating in a pond on The Preserve. Photo by Matthew Savoca. February 28, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director Internationally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot, the Santa Lucia Preserve is located within the Santa Lucia Mountains at the intersection of coastal and inland climate gradients, with a variety of elevations and habitats. Over
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What Does Applied Ecology Look Like on the Santa Lucia Preserve?

Conservation Ecologist Dr. Brian Woodward conducts a raptor survey on The Preserve. Photo by Alix Soliman. February 24, 2022 By Dr. Brian Woodward, Conservation Ecologist Driving through The Santa Lucia Preserve, you may see Conservancy staff wading through ponds, crouched in a field looking closely at budding flowers, or gazing through binoculars at soaring raptors.
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The Field Season Has Begun, Meet Our 2022 Restoration Crew

The 2022 Seasonal Restoration Crew. Photo by Jackson Brooke.   February 15, 2022 By Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager In 2019, the Conservancy launched its Grasslands Initiative after a rigorous assessment of the ecological health of The Preserve identified the 5,275 acres of grasslands as both an incredibly significant ecological asset and in dire need of restoration.
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Before & After: Preventing the Spread of Invasive Stinkwort

Invasive stinkwort. Photo by Joseph DiTomaso.  February 8, 2022 By Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager Native to the Mediterranean and Middle East, Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens) is a relatively new invader of California and was first reported in Santa Clara County in the 1980s. It has spread aggressively since then and is now found in a majority
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January 2022 Newsletter

Shooting star blooming on Black Mountain. Photo by Jenna Allred.  February 2, 2022 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director With the Colorado Fire in Big Sur nearly contained, the ongoing drought across California, and year 3 of the pandemic, adapting to the “new normal” has become a leading theme in my work and life, as I’m sure it
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Preserve Resident’s Stormwater Collection System Creates Drought Resilience in the Arid Oak Savanna

Kate Kennedy's stormwater collection tanks at her home on The Preserve. Photo by Joe Fletcher. January 24, 2022 By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator On a foggy afternoon in December, I drove up to The Preserve and parked next to three massive tanks that make up Preserve Resident Kate Kennedy’s 30,000 gallon stormwater collection
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Honoring Leslie Dorrance’s Conservation Grazing Legacy

Leslie Dorrance, Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona, and Leslie's dogs take a break in the sun.  January 14, 2021 By Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona, Director of Ecological Management To create our Conservation Grazing Program from the ground up, the Conservancy needed a very special person. Someone with a deep knowledge of the land, an incredible mastery
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The Central Coast’s Intimate Relationship with Fog

Dew collected by a spider web. Photo by Andrew Evans. January 7, 2022 By Andrew Evans, Conservation Grazing Associate You may know that California is special for its unique climate and diverse range of habitats. The Mediterranean climate in the Central Coast Region, which is uncommon globally and characterized by wet winters and dry summers,
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Before & After: Tackling Invasive Teasel in 5 Photos

A patch of invasive teasel west of Cienega Pond on the Santa Lucia Preserve earlier this year. Photo by Jackson Brooke.  December 29, 2021 By Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager In this post, we’ll take a look at some photos of our work with teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), one of the Conservancy’s Zero Tolerance Species of invasive
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2021: A Year of Growth and Change

Albino redwood growing from the base of its emerald parent tree. Photo by Alix Soliman.  December 21, 2021 By Jamison Watts, Executive Director After the first storms of the season, The Preserve is awash in new green grass, windswept leaves, the sweet smell of fecund earth, and the sound of babbling brooks and streams. As we
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