This SOW concerns a previously agreed upon sub-award of $137,892 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 Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Conservation Board. The work is focused on restoration planning on private and public 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.
The UCSB RIVRLab team will conduct ecosystem assessments of riparian woodlands, scrublands and aquatic habitats, including native biota and Invasive species, primarily Arundo donax (giant reed) along with Tamarix spp. (tamarisk) and other noxious weeds, and non-native fauna if appropriate. Tasks include evaluation of abiotic environmental 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 and other stressors. Implementation of the Restoration Plan will depend upon approval of future proposals, and is not an objective of this phase of the RCD-led project. We will also participate, where appropriate, in developing regulatory compliance documents necessary for subsequent implementation of resulting restoration plans.
We agree to cooperate with staff biologists from VCRCD, Stillwater Sciences, the Western Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology and other partners to complete the project and carry the program forward into its implementation phases.
- 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;
- Formulate and implement a wildlife monitoring plan to assess vegetation-wildlife relationships of wildlife species for the project area, including prescriptions to avoid disruption of nesting birds in the project area, and build a framework and database for long-term effectiveness monitoring following implementation of restoration actions;
- Design a vegetation monitoring plan to document post-treatment vegetation conditions to inform future adaptive management plans;
- Maintain communication linkages with local stakeholders to secure access, explain project objectives and field-based needs, and solicit input to ensure acceptance of project goals;
- 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 restoration implementation proposals for the project area;
- Prepare quarterly project status reports and invoices. The PI will cooperate with project partners to report findings to the funding agency.