Developing a Strategic Plan for Santa Cruz Island Reserve

Award Period
Award Amount
Agency Name
National Science Foundation
Award Number
PI First Name
PI Last Name
Lyndal Laughrin
Area/s of Research
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education

Our goal is to develop a sustainable plan to advance long-term research and education goals at Santa Cruz Island Reserve (SCIR) over the next decade. This planning process will result in the creation of a strategic plan and will focus on: a) framing a scientific vision for research at SCIR over the next 5-10 years, b) appraising the facility needs necessary to support that vision, c) evaluating ongoing education and training programs, d) identifying the resources needed to support university-level classes and training, e) assessing public service and outreach programs, and f) developing a sustainable and effective model for connecting the scientific and educational resources of SCIR with a broad array of stakeholders. The UCSB Santa Cruz Island Reserve (SCIR) is the oldest research driven academically motivated field station in the California Islands network and is primed to enhance its leadership role in research, university-level teaching and public service in the region. An additional objective of our proposed planning process is to enhance the regional coordination of research, education and outreach activities across the California Channel Islands region as well as the Baja California Peninsula island chains through a network of regional agency, non-profit, academic and field station partners.

SCIR is uniquely well situated to serve as a hub for research and education in the California Islands region. Due to its location on Santa Cruz Island, the reserve has custom-built facilities, including laboratory space, high speed Internet and computing infrastructure, as well as classroom, meeting and housing accommodations. SCIR has been a research field station of the University of California Natural Reserve System since 1966, and has been under the Directorship of Dr. Lyndal Laughrin since 1970. Use of SCIR is heavy and as a result, the facilities have experienced some significant deferred maintenance needs. Further, technological advances and new conservation initiatives amongst the Channel Islands suggest that SCIR facilities may benefit from upgrades to better serve today’s researchers, students and public. Although research and education use at SCIR is expected to grow, optimal use of SCIR resources has yet to be carefully evaluated. What comprises the optimal uses of the Reserve across research, education, outreach, and natural resource stewardship? What research can best be supported now, and should be supported in the future? What resources are needed? This proposal seeks funding to help address these questions, specifically by supporting a deliberate planning process that will develop a strategic plan for the next decade, and identify infrastructure changes and research, educational, and outreach opportunities that will allow the SCIR to better serve users from California and around the nation and internationally.