Habitat Heroes Make Their Mark in Year One

The Habitat Heroes effort has been extraordinarily successful in its first full year. A collaborative program between the Point Lobos Foundation and California State Parks this work focuses on managing invasive species and supporting healthy habitat throughout the Reserve.

In its first year, the Point Lobos Foundation secured funding to hire a full-time restoration ecologist for Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The addition of this position was a huge step forward in adding much-needed capacity to the environmental science team at the Monterey District of California State Parks. 

PLF restoration ecologist, Anna Bonnette, in her seed-filled office. Photo credit: PLF

The ecologist has focused on recruitment, oversight and ongoing management of the wonderful volunteers necessary to reduce non-native species cover in Point Lobos, reintroduce native species, reduce erosion and discharge of sediment into the surrounding marine protected areas, and engage our community in restoration efforts.

Anna leads an ongoing volunteer team called the Native Plant Patrol (NPP). Between January and October of 2018, NPP has held 31 workdays throughout Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. 

Targeted invasive species include slender iceplant, crystalline iceplant, various species of thistle, fireweed, french broom, sonchus, fennel, licorice, scarlet pimpernel, tocolote and black mustard. NPP has also gathered native seed including deschampsia, bee plant, hemizonia, and seaside daisy to cultivate for restoration efforts and also to broadcast seed directly to restoration sites. 

For restoration, the NPP has worked with the broader community at large on planting efforts for California State Parks’ South Shore Bluff restoration project. Since January, volunteers planted 15 native species, cultivated from the seed collected at the Reserve, along eroded bluff areas. In terms of volunteer engagement, 28 Point Lobos docents and 42 community volunteers have been involved in this work since January. Approximately 750 volunteer hours have been put in on all the efforts above. 

In October 2018, 9,000 new seedlings were delivered to the shadehouse and will be planted in coming months among South Shore Bluff Trail and Bird Island Trail. To get involved, contact Anna.

South shore bluff restoration site, before and after

Many thanks to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the Community Foundation for Monterey County and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District for their support of the Habitat Heroes project, and to the many Point Lobos Docents who've given their time and energy to ensuring its success.