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Restoration Projects

COPR has a number of exotic and invasive species that must be eradicated or controlled (Table 1). These plants have degraded natural habitats and displaced native species. COPR has started removing the most invasive species such as Acacia, pampas grass, iceplant, and Myoporum. Areas dominated by non-native grasses are also in need of restoration because European grasses prevent native species to become established. Grazing and fire, which were natural phenomena at COPR, are now absent owing to fire suppression and loss of large native grazers. California native species of non-local origin have been introduced in the past to the Reserve as part of soil remediation projects, by accident, or by unauthorized planting. These plants must be removed to avoid hybridization with local genotypes and to limit confounding effects for researchers studying these species. Sites have been restored over the years through a number of volunteer efforts or grants.


Below is a summary of each project:

Trail and Access Improvements

  • Year: 2011-2015
  • Size and Location of Project:  6 acres,  Access Points and Trails
  • Funding:  California Coastal Conservancy: $250,000
  • Project Overview:  Implementation of the Access Plan portion of the Coal Oil Point Reserve Management Plan (COPR 2004) by improving the 3 main access points and closing unapproved trails (see below).  Tasks included installing fences, removing old fences, re-grading eroded paths, and creating a natural “green fence” composed of native plant species to encourage people to stay on trails.

This project complements the vision of the Ellwood Devereux Open Space Plan to create a large coastal open space to serve the community and protect sensitive habitats. 

Access B - Sands Beach Entrance
The chain-link fence at Access B was replaced by a more durable 3-rail Woodcrete fence to improve safety and aesthetics.  The position of the new fence matched the position of the previous chainlink fence.     

Old Chainlink FenceReplacement Woodcrete Fence



Access C - Pond Trail
Shrubs and other native plants appropriate for the habitat were planted along the pond trail to create a “green fence” and reduce trespassing and encourage people to stay on the marked trail. This “green fence” has been used successfully in other parts of the reserve. All of the green fencing occurred on disturbed habitat and replaced exotic vegetation with native vegetation typical of the site. 
At the northern boundary of the pond trail, a 30-foot Woodcrete fence was installed on each side of the trail entrance. The fence has a L shaped entrance (as in access B) to discourage horses and bicycles from entering the pond trail.

The southern end of the pond trail bisects the dune swale that connects the dune pond to the slough.  During the rainy season this portion of the trail may flood.  To allow continued access through this area during the rainy season a boardwalk was laid out over the flooding section of the trail.

Informal trails that branched off of the pond trail were closed with fences and revegetated with native plants.

Pond Trail Plantings

Access D - Western Reserve Boundary

Access D is on the western boundary of the Reserve and it is outside of the Reserve’s boundary, but it is part of the UC Santa Barbara's South Parcel on North Campus.  A woodcrete 3-rail fence was installed on the Reserve side of the access D trail to reduce unauthorized people entering the dunes and wetlands.  Informal trails were closed and restored with native vegetation typical of the habitat. 

In addition, a large patch of iceplant  by the Venoco tanks was killed and revegetated with native coastal sage scrub species. 

Access D Fence and Native Plantings

Coastal Live Oak Planting

  • Year: 2014
  • Size and Location of Project: 1.3 acres
  • Funding:  Goleta Valley Beautiful
  • Purpose: The reserve has a few scattered oak trees.  The planting of 150 Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) on the northwest corner of the reserve aims to provide new habitat for wildlife.  Oaks may or may not have existed there before, but similar natural areas nearby have patches of oak trees mixed in with coastal scrub (for example, Mariposa Reina to the north).  Plants were grown by Goleta Valley Beautiful from seeds collected in the Devereux and San Jose Creek watersheds.  Oak Treesacorn









Oak Plantings



Devereux Slough Margin Enhancement

  • Year: 2012-2014
  • Size and Location of Project: 0 .6 acres, Devereux Slough Margin
  • Funding: Wetlands Recovery Project (through SB Audubon): $24,400
  • Purpose: Enhancement of the slough margin at Coal Oil Point Reserve by removal of invasive plant species (primarily Iceplant and New Zealand spinach) and revegetation of native species at the iceplant removal sites
    671 Native plants were installed following the removal of iceplant.  Species included: Coast goldenbush, CA sagebrush, Mugwort, Beeplant, CA brome, Coast morning glory, CA fuchsia, CA buckwheat, Western goldenrod, Arroyo willow, Wood mint, Alkali ryegrass, Santa Barbara honeysuckle, and CA sunflower.  In addition, 2 populations of Western goldenrod were installed, Euthamia occidentalis, from seed collected at the Goleta Slough.  COPR Director Cris Sandoval expects that this species had been extirpated from the Reserve, and this is a re-introduction (from Goleta Slough watershed stock).

Cape Ivy Removal & Coastal Poppy Enhancement Project

  • Year: 2011-2013
  • Size and Location of Project: 1.6 acres, North East Corner of Reserve
  • Funding:  Goleta Valley Land Trust (through SB Audubon): $38,335
  • Purpose: The main goal was eradication of Cape ivy from COPR.  The largest infestation, totaling 0.4 acres, was cleared in the first year, with extensive volunteer labor and interns. Cape ivy from several locations where Cape ivy had been previously removed was monitored for regrowth and removed.

The second major goal was enhancement of a Coastal Poppy population, a subspecies of the common California Poppy.  The flowers are yellow instead of orange, and there are some minor other physical variations.  By clearing weeds and mulching around the poppies, we have been able to promote establishment of many seedlings, expanding the density of the poppy patches.  405 native species were planted, about ½ poppies plus some shrubs such as Coast Goldenbush, CA fuchsia, Purple Needlegrass and CA sagebrush. 

Pond Trail & Freshwater Wetland Habitat Enhancement

  • Year: 2009-2010
  • Size and Location of Project: 3 acres. Fresh Water Wetland
  • Funding: Goleta Valley Land Trust (through Santa Barbara Audubon): $34,050
  • Purpose: Enhancement of habitats surrounding the dune swale pond and vernal pool on the western side of Devereux Slough.  Non-native invasive plants such as Tamarisk, Harding grass, fennel and thistles were removed from the wetland buffers and the area was re-vegetated with native species.

    An informal trail immediately east of the freshwater pond was closed to reduce disturbance to wetland habitats. Ray Ford, from Santa Barbara Trails Council, operated a small excavator to reduce trail compaction, which facilitated planting of willows, Mulefat and native grasses in the trail, and allowed for the expansion of the rhizomatous wetland plants into the trail from both sides. While some trespassing and damage to the temporary fencing placed on the northern end of this closed trail segment has continued to occur, for the most part visitors have abandoned this trail. This decreased the impact to birds breeding in the pond and the Southwest pond turtle.


Restoration of the Devereux Slough Margin

  • Year: 2007-2010
  • Size and Location of Project: 7 acres. Devereux Slough Margin
  • Funding: Wildlife Conservation Board: $263,484
  • Purpose:   Removal of approximately 7 acres of exotic shrubs, and annual non-native species.  The exotic shrubs included Acaica, Myoporum, Tamarisk, and Pittosporum.  Other invasive species included wild radish, black mustard, fennel, Himalayan Blackberry, New Zealand Spinach, Italian Ryegrass, Harding Grass, and Italian Thistle.

    Following the removal of exotic species, a total of 31 native species and 5,743 native plants were installed in the project area.  We were able to establish 6 sensitive species, including Hordeum bracheantherum, Lasthenia glabrata subspp. Coulteri, Anemopsis californica, Lonicera subspicata var. subspicata, Stephanomeria elata ,and Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus.   Astragalus pycnostachyus var. lanosissimus (Ventura Marsh Milkvetch)  is an endangered species that has a restricted geographic distribution.  15 of the 167 plants planted in the field survived to produce flower and seeds.  Lasthenia glabrata subspp. Coulteri was propagated from seeds collected at Goleta Slough.

    Invasive weed control was performed following revegetation, targeting New Zealand Spinach, Cape Ivy, Fennel, Italian thistle and Wild radish.  Student interns and volunteers preformed weed control for several years following shrub removal and installation of native plants.

  • Pictures

Weed Control at the Point
Weed Control at the Point

Burn Site Restoration & Trail Enhancement

  • Year: 2008
  • Size and Location of Project: 1 acre. “Burn Site”
  • Funding: Coastal Fund: $7,750
  • Purpose: Enhancement of 1 acre that burned in the fall of 2006.  The burn site on the west side of COPR was cleared of Pampas grass and Myoporum shrubs by the contractor.  Restoration interns and staff cleared fennel, annual weeds, some iceplant, and smaller Pampas grass.  Seeds of native plants were planted in the grassland area to complement the bunchgrass and Blue-eyed grass.

Pampas Grass at COPR
Before removal of Pampas Grass

Pampas Grass removal
After removal of Pampas Grass

Important Bird Area Enhancement Project

  • Year: 2007-2008
  • Size and Location of Project: 10 acres. western slough margin and hind-dunes
  • Funding: Audubon California and Wetland Recovery Project. $9,500 WRP 1 year; $11,739 IBA (Audubon-California, 2 year grant) 
  • Purpose: Enhance habitat for sensitive shorebird and estuarine birds. Eradicate ½ acre of  non-native ice plant, remove non-native shrubs including White poplar, Myoporum, Acacia and Pittosporum. Re-vegetate with native dune plant species.
  • Pictures

Important Bird Area Project

Slough Margin Restoration & Invasive Plant Control at Coal Oil Point Reserve

  • Year: 2006-2007
  • Size and Location of Project: Slough Margin
  • Funding: Shorelines Preservation Fund, $8,830
  • Purpose: Restoration of the margin of Devereux Slough, plant natives to assist in closing informal trails that fragment habitat, and control invasive plant species that disrupt native plant communities and their wildlife habitat value.

 Buffer Protection and Restoration of Coal Oil Point Reserve

  • Year: 2004-2006
  • Size and Location of Project:  ~0.5 acres. Northern boundary
  • Funding: Phase I: Shoreline Preservation Fund: $ 11,638 (2005-2006), Phase II: Shoreline Preservation Fund: 9,625 (2004)
  • Purpose:  Create a buffer zone between the northern boundary of Reserve and the trail, road, and possible future development on the North Campus area. Restoration of steep slope near slough bridge where ice plant had previously been removed.

North-East Corner

  • Year: 2004-2006
  • Size and Location of Project: North-east corner, 1.9 acres
  • Funding: Bella Vista Foundation via Earth Island Institute, to Community Environmental Council $26,500; Wetland Recovery Project Small Grants Program to Community Environmental Council, $20,000 (2-year grant).
  • Purpose: This area was dominated by iceplant and restored in 2000 by students from the Goleta Family School under the supervision of the Reserve Director.  Students removed the iceplant by hand and hauled it off-site.  They collected seeds of native plants on the Reserve and cultivated them in the Reserve’s greenhouse. 

 Slough Margin Restoration

  • Year: 2002
  • Size and location of Project: immediately south of the bridge over the Devereux slough channel
  • Funding: Shoreline Preservation Fund: $13,000
  • Purpose:  This site is located immediately south of the bridge over the Devereux slough channel.  The project area was dominated by a number of exotic shrubs such as Acacia, Myoporum, and large Eucalyptus trees.  Some native species such as Coastal Scrub Oak (Quercus agrifolia), Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), and California brome (Bromus carinatus) occurred in the gaps and edges of the thick exotic vegetation. The exotic shrubs and trees were planted years ago for a landscape project.  The goal of the project was to restore the area with native coastal scrub species, improving the views from the public trail while visually screening the Devereux Foundation buildings.  All exotic brush species were removed, eucalyptus trees were trimmed to within 2 meters from the ground, and coastal scrub species and oak trees were planted.  All plants used in this restoration project, except the California Sunflower and Lemonade Berry, were propagated from seeds collected from plants found on the Reserve, and were grown in the Reserve greenhouse.  Seeds of the California sunflower were collected at Goleta beach and Lemonade Berries were collected at the UCSB’s north bluff because there was no source of seed for these species on the Reserve.  A professional arborist removed the trees and shrubs and the area was planted with natives with help of numerous volunteers of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Audubon Society.  A wood fence replaced a degraded barbwire fence along the slough margin at the completion of the project.


 Northern Margin

  • Year: 2000-2004
  • Size and Location of Project: Northern margin of the slough. 1.5 acres.
  • Funding: Shoreline Preservation Fund:  $4,850 Wetlands Recovery Program: 28,800 (to Santa Barbara Audubon, 2 year grant)
  • Purpose: The project began in 2000 when a large Meleleuca removed tree from the wetland edge.  This tree was the site of a homeless encampment that was a problem for the Reserve.  In 2002, the Santa Barbara Audubon Society, with the help of the Reserve Director, received a grant for $28,800 from the Wetlands Recovery Program to remove exotic species and plant native species in a 1.25 acre area along the northern margin. 

Dune Pond Project

  • Year: 2000
  • Size and Location of Project: 1 acre. Dune pond margin.
  • Funding: Coastal Resource Program: $46,000. The County of Santa Barbara: $500 matching funds.  UCSB: $10,000  matching funds
  • Purpose: The main goal of this project was to eradicate Pampas Grass from the Reserve.  One acre of pampas grass was removed from the dune pond margin using a backhoe and disposed off-site. Isolated clumps of pampas grass were sprayed with glyphosate and left on-site to decompose.  Small plants were removed by hand.  Volunteers also removed curly dock and cockle burr by hand.  Other tasks in this grant included installation of 6 interpretive signs and benches.


Slough Margin, Eastern Edge

  • Year: 1999-2001
  • Size and Location of Project: Eastern margin of the slough and the vernal pool on west campus
  • Funding: Coastal Resource Program: $85,000. UCSB: 15,000 matching funds
  • Purpose:  The project included restoration of the slough margin and 7 vernal pools on west campus, the installation of benches and educational signs, and planting of vegetation to screen buildings south of the reserve’s field station.    The slough margin was dominated by iceplant that was killed by covering it with black plastic for 8 weeks.  The thatch was removed by hand and taken off-site.  None of the natural plant community endemic to this very degraded site remained to provide a model for restoration.  We used the plant communities found at nearby wetland sites (e.g. Hollister Ranch and Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve), which are similar to COPR but less degraded, to determine which species to plant and their distributions in the restored areas.  Seedlings of several species from COPR were propagated in the Reserve’s greenhouse.


Eastern Dune Restoration 

  • Year: 1998 to 2002
  • Size and location of Project: 6 acres. South-east corner.
  • No Funding Source
  • Purpose: This site is located on the south-east corner of the Reserve, adjacent to the reserve’s field station.   Before it was restored, the site was dominated by acacia and there were almost no native species on site except for some nightshade, willows, and a small patch of Scirpus mexicanus.  When the acacia was removed, the bare area revealed a complex landscape with dune and sandy loam soils.  The dunes were planted with seeds collected from plant species found on the dunes on the west side of the slough.  On the sandy loam soil seedlings of coastal scrub species were planted to mimic the vegetation growing on the west side of the slough.  Plants were grown in the Reserve’s greenhouse from seeds collected on the Reserve.


Vernal Pool Project

  • Year: 1987
  • Size and Location of Project: Less than 1 acre. Western grassland area
  • Purpose: The vernal pool was created in 1987 as a mitigation project for the UCSB West Campus Faculty Housing project.  It was the first vernal pool reconstruction project attempted by the UCSB Museum of Systematics and Ecology Currently, the deep areas of the pool function as a vernal marsh that rarely dries up, and the shallower edges as a vernal pool that dries up seasonally.

Soil Remediation Site

  • Year: 1980s
  • Location of Project: Access D
  • Purpose: This project is located on the west boundary of the Reserve in the 40 acres that were added to the Reserve in 1998.  The area was replanted in the 1980’s after a remediation project to clean up the soil.  The origin of the plants used to replant the area is unknown, but it is clear that they came from a variety of locations.  For example, the Lupine arboreus has a yellow-flower and is native to Monterey.  The coastal golden bush is much taller than the variety native to the Reserve and has a different leaf shape.  These plants that originated from non-local populations can hybridize with the Reserve’s natural populations and alter the local gene pool.  Ideally the vegetation in this area should be removed and the site restored with local genotypes.


Figure 1. Location of Restoration Projects


Table 1. List of most common invasive exotic plant species.

Acacia longifolia  Golden Wattle (Mimosaceae)

Arundo donax  Giant Reed (Poaceae)

Myoporum laetum  Myporum  (Myoporaceae)

Carpobrotus edulis  Hottentot Fig [iceplant] (Aizoaceae)

Cortaderia jubata  Pampas Grass (Poaceae)

Eucalyptus globulus  Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Mystaceae)

Foeniculum vulgare  Sweet Fennel (Apiaceae)

Tamarix aphyla  Tamarisk  (Tamaricaceae)

Carduus pycnocephalus  Italian Thistle (Asteraceae)

Tetragonia tetragonioides  New Zealand Spinach (Aizoaceae)

Pennisetum clandestinum  Kikuyu  Grass (Poaceae)

Phalaris aquatica  Harding Grass (Poaceae)

Piptatherum miliaceum Smilo Grass (Poaceae)

Populus alba  White Poplar (Salicaceae)

Raphanus sativus  Wild Radish (Brassicaceae)

Atriplex semibaccata  Australian Salt Bush (Chenopodiaceae)

Brassica nigra  Black Mustard (Brassicaceae)

Conium maculatum  Poison Hemlock (Apiaceae)

Bassia hyssopifolia  Five-hook (Chenopodiaceae)

Centaurea melitensis  Tecolote, Napa Thistle (Asteraceae)

Cynodon dactylon  Bermuda Grass (Poaceae)         

Lolium multiflorum  Italian Ryegrass (Poaceae)

Nicotiana glauca  Tree Tobacco (Solanaceae)

Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum Slender Crystalline Iceplant (Aizoaceae)

Opuntia ficus-indica  Indian-Fig (Cactaceae)

Pennisetum villosum  Feathertop (Poaceae)

Pittosporum undulatum  Victorian Box (Pittosporaceae)

Ricinus communis  Castor Bean (Euphorbiaceae)

Salsola tragus  Russian Thistle (Chenopodiaceae)


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