This SOW concerns a sub-award from the Ventura County Resource Conservation District (VCRCD) to UC Santa Barbara to carry out technical field research to meet objectives of a grant originating with the California State Coastal Conservancy. The work is focused on restoration planning, implementation and effectiveness assessment on private lands within the lower Santa Clara River floodplain in Ventura County. The agreement will also form the basis for continued funding anticipated for this river reach, approved by the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project as the Santa Paula-to-Sespe Conservation Area for its high potential as habitat for federally listed wildlife species. We agree to cooperate with staff biologists from VCRCD and where appropriate, with Stillwater Sciences (SWS), the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology and other partners to complete the project.
The UCSB RIVRLab team will conduct ecosystem assessments of riparian woodlands and scrublands including native biota and Invasive species, primarily Arundo donax (giant reed) along with Tamarix spp. (tamarisk) and other noxious weeds. Tasks include evaluation of physical environment attributes relevant to restoration needs, along with wildlife presence for the project area. Biotic and environmental data will be integrated into a spatial database for developing a site restoration plan to enhance habitat for sensitive wildlife species, improve ecosystem functions and reduce risks of wildfire and flood damage to ecosystems and human infrastructure owing to presence of non-native plants.
- Review and apply available remote sensing imagery (NAIP, LIDAR, etc.) to vegetation type categorization for use in field surveys, and work with research partners to develop baseline vegetation maps for planning and evaluating subsequent restoration actions;
- Characterize soils, hydrology and other environmental attributes of the project area to facilitate restoration planning and design;
- Design and implement a wildlife monitoring plan to assess vegetation-wildlife relationships of wildlife species for the project area, including monitoring to avoid disruption of nesting birds in the project area, and build a framework for long-term effectiveness monitoring following implementation of restoration actions;
- Provide post-treatment assessments for adaptive management purposes, and participate in follow-up invasive plant treatments;
- Conduct working group meetings to manage project finances, oversee contractors, evaluate and integrate project information, formulate strategy for project data management and analysis, and develop a restoration implementation proposal for the site;
- Prepare quarterly project status reports and invoices. The PI will cooperate with project partners to report findings to the funding agency.