Point Conception Dune Restoration
A dune restoration project focused on invasive species removal at Point Conception in Santa Barbara, California.
Established in 2017 with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Jack & Laura Dangermond Preserve protects one of the last undeveloped areas of the California coast. For the last 100 years, the land was a cattle ranch, preceded by a rich cultural history of the Chumash peoples spanning over 9,000 years. Point Conception hosts a rare headland bypass dune system where strong winds move sand from beaches on the west over steep bluffs and across the headland to beaches on the south. The landscape is now covered with invasive ice plant and the Coastal Commission requires that ~1,000 acres be restored to re-establish dune ecosystem form(s) and function.
Restoration has begun to remove over 300 acres of ice plant. The goal is to remove iceplant and restore dune ecosystems at the site to re-connect the climbing dunes and blowouts on the bluffs of the west shore, to clifftop parabolic dunes on the plateau, and falling dunes on the south-eastern bluffs. Native dune plant communities will be reintroduced as part of the restoration. University of California Santa Barbara Geography’s Sand Lab will work with TNC to guide and monitor the restoration project.
Site responses will be monitored using repeat, high resolution UAS (drone) images to quantify dune form and plant cover changes. Baseline imagery was captured in July 2022 following the first phase of ice plant eradication (herbicide). The next flight occurred Fall 2022 after ice plant had been removed mechanically. Following this, biannual surveys will detect and quantify change in sediment budgets, dune morphodynamics, and plant community responses.
Project Partners: The Nature Conservancy, UC Santa Barbara, California Coastal Commission
Point of Contact
Dr. Ian Walker- email@example.com