The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (SCWRP) is awarding nearly $290,000 to wetland and watershed restoration projects, and about a quarter of this is heading to Santa Barbara County. The funding comes from San Francisco’s Earth Island Institute, an international environmental organization that, according to their website, “supports people who are creating solutions to protect our shared planet.”
“I am excited to announce 12 new projects entering our program this year, empowering nonprofits and local government to engage a wide array of communities in wetland restoration and education, and working to improve diverse habitats,” said Shawn Kelly, SCWRP’s community wetland restoration grants manager. Of these 12 projects, three are in Santa Barbara County.
The first award recipient is the South Coast Habitat Restoration, which will use the $25,000 to replace nonnative plants with native plants at the mouth of Carpinteria Creek. In addition to improving the ecosystem, the project educates volunteers - who come from the Carpinteria Creek Watershed Coalition, the Carpinteria Creek Committee, Carpinteria Middle School, Carpinteria High School, Cate School, and the Channel Islands Restoration volunteer pool - about habitat restoration.
The second project is Las Positas Creek restoration at Adams School, which was awarded $20,000 and is being overseen by the City of Santa Barbara. The grant will be used to teach the elementary school students about wetland ecology and stewardship while restoring a degraded stream channel. Students will be removing asphalt and nonnative plants along an 800-foot channel and planting native wetland plants and trees. Professionals will carry out the initial stages of this project due to the necessary machinery use, but students and other volunteers will perform the final stages of rock placement, planting, and some maintenance.
The third recipient is Growing Solutions, an organization dedicated to “integrating education and hands-on environmental restoration to address watershed problems in the Santa Barbara area.” Growing Solutions was awarded $26,400 for their Canada del Puerto Creek restoration and education project on Santa Cruz Island. Four groups of students will help restore the main watershed of this Channel Island, and work to grow a nursery of native plants.
Other award recipients across the state include Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Mountains Restoration Trust, Friends of the Colorado Lagoon, and Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends.