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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grant Awarded to Support Volunteers

Thanks to a grant awarded by the Goleta Valley Land Trust (GVLT) a restoration project on the Gaviota Coast will continue to flourish, providing habitat for wildlife, a sanctuary for nature lovers and invaluable experience for the interns and volunteers who are learning while working at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve.


The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County recently received a $39,680 grant from GVLT for riparian habitat restoration at the Land Trust owned and operated Arroyo Hondo Preserve, located between Refugio and Gaviota State Beaches.

The funding will support the removal of invasive species and the re-introduction of native plants throughout the stream corridor over the course of three years. Arroyo Hondo Preserve, known as “The Jewel of the Gaviota Coast”, has a long and successful track record of habitat restoration, including the completion of a fish passage project that is bringing back its historic population of Steelhead trout while serving as a model to other creek projects along the coast. Arroyo Hondo creek is one of the most pristine watersheds in Santa Barbara County, making it an invaluable resource to students, scientists, hikers and the animals who call it home.

This grant award will fund materials and 50% of Arroyo Hondo Preserve’s Volunteer Restoration Program, with additional funds provided by the John S. Kiewit Memorial Foundation and the UCSB Coastal Fund. All three of these organizations have been instrumental in promoting the Arroyo Hondo Preserve Volunteer Restoration Program. The program began in early 2002 to initiate riparian habitat restoration to enhance the environment for endangered Steelhead trout and other sensitive species in the creek such as California newt, Red-legged frog, and Tidewater goby.

“We’ve appreciated the partnership of the Goleta Valley Land Trust throughout the process,” says Michael Feeney, Executive Director of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. “They helped us to acquire Arroyo Hondo and make it available as a nature preserve back in 2001, and they have been great to work with since the very beginning.”

“It is so satisfying to be able to provide the hands-on experience for the student interns who are our future environmental leaders and biologists,” says Darlene Chirman, project biologist at Arroyo Hondo.

The Arroyo Hondo Preserve has been a natural treasure and community resource since the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County opened it to the public in 2002. Since then, the Preserve has hosted thousands of visitors including the general public on open access days, schoolchildren on field trips, volunteers doing habitat restoration, trail improvement and educational docent work, scientists doing ecological and historic research, artists, journalists, and a variety of community groups. More than 100 volunteers will work at the Preserve in the course of a year, and with the support of the GVLT, the John S. Kiewit Memorial Fund, the UCSB Coastal Fund and others, students interested in habitat restoration and environmental science will continue to have the invaluable opportunity for hands-on training at Arroyo Hondo Preserve.

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has been preserving agricultural, natural resource and open space land in the county since established in 1985, through acquisition and conservation easements with willing landowners. Nearly 23,000 acres have been protected to date through 35 transactions, including acquisition of the Coronado Butterfly Preserve in 1998 and the Arroyo Hondo Preserve in 2001 with Goleta Valley Land Trust providing funding for both of these land purchases.

Arroyo Hondo Preserve is open to the public on the first and third full weekends of each month, and guided hikes are available. Reservations are required for all visits, and while admission is free, donations are strongly encouraged. Educational programs are available for school and community groups. To make a reservation to visit or volunteer at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, call (805) 567-1115 or email us at arroyohondo@sblandtrust.org.

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