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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Planting Begins on Anacapa!

Volunteers plant natives on Anacapa
More than 500 natives were planted on Anacapa last week by CIR volunteers and NPS staff!  Nearly 10,000 plants have been grown in the Island nursery, and so those involved with the restoration effort are going to be busy in the next few months.  The best time to plant is during the wet season to take advantage of the rainfall, so NPS staff made a special effort to install as many plants as possible.  Staff used an auger to dig the holes in areas where iceplant had been removed, and then staff and more than 20 volunteer recruited by CIR planted mostly yarrow and native barley grass.  A small stake (color coded) was placed with each plant, which will help keep track of how each species did in each planting locaiton

There are many thousands more plants growing in the nursery including  two kinds of grasses, Coreopsis, yarrow, morning glory, wild cucumber and even some prickly-pear cactus.  There will be many opportunities for volunteers to participate in upcoming trips, so watch your email for announcements about these trips!

Volunteers including from Amgen plant on Anacapa

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nursery in Full Production on Anacapa Island

The plant nursery on Anacapa island is in full production, and among the native plants we are growing there are two kinds of grasses, Coreopsis, yarrow, morning glory, wild cucumber and even some prickly-pear cactus!  Many thousands of plants are being grown (with more species to come) and volunteers are helping make it happen.  This fall and winter the natives will be planted in areas where invasive iceplant has been removed.

The nursery is a joint project of Channel Islands National Park (NPS) and Channel Islands Restoration (CIR).  CIR helped initially raise funds for the project with a grant from the Ventura Patagonia store and with donations from our Board of Directors.   CIR Board member Gordon Hart (with help from fellow board member Dave Edwards and others) supervised the construction of the nursery in close cooperation with NPS staff.  The project is now chiefly funded by the NPS, and CIR has recruited hundreds of volunteers to staff the nursery.  Sarah Chaney (NPS restoration biologist) provides overall leadership of this important project (see previous blog posts for background on the restoration project).

CIR and NPS sponsor ongoing trips to the island so that volunteers can help with the project.  If you would like more information about the CIR trips, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at: 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Keeping Busy on Anacapa!

We continue to get support from our great volunteers, including folks who are signed up on our email list ( and from our corporate partners like Citrix Online.  At least twice a month we take volunteers out to the island to help us remove non-native iceplant and to grow plants in the on-island nursery.  At this point, we are growing a large amount of two species of native grasses (barley and needlegrass).  These will be planted (along with other native species) in areas where iceplant has been removed.  If would like to volunteer on Anacapa, please follow the link above and fill out the volunteer form.  You can also ask questions about the project by sending an email to

Latest photos:

 Volunteers receive instruction on how to grow plants in the nursery on Anacapa Island

   Volunteers take grass sprigs and "pot them up" (place them in larger pots for maturing).

   Volunteer removes iceplant from around a native "gum plant."

  CIR staff and a volunteer prepare to move large bags of pulled iceplant.  The iceplant is taken so a spot on the island and allowed to dehydrate.  It essentially turns into compost at that point.

  Volunteers take in the view at "Inspiration Point"at the end of the volunteer day.

  Departing the island!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Citrix Online Volunteers on Anacapa

We have been privileged to have employees of Citrix Online, a locally based software company volunteer with CIR on Anacapa and elsewhere in the this summer.  As part of the Citrix "Global Day of Impact" program, the company sponsors and encourages employees to volunteer for local non-profits.  More than 100 Citrix volunteers have helped us on the mainland on on the islands so far.  Citrix has taken two trips to Anacapa and one trip to East Santa Cruz (two more trips are planned).  The Citrix employees have been top-notch workers and a great company.  Thanks Citrix!

Check out the company website here:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Anacapa Island Habitat Restoration Blog

Welcome to the CIR Anacapa Blog!  This blog is meant to keep volunteers and others up to date with the exciting habitat restoration project happening on East Anacapa Island, part of Channel Islands National Park (NPS).  CIR is one of several organizations partnering with the park to restore the native plant communities of the island.  For nearly five years, CIR has brought volunteers to the island to remove invasive plants.  These volunteers have included hundreds of school children and even more adults.

Starting in 2011, the park and CIR started constructing a native plant nursery, with park funding and with funding from the Ventura Patagonia store and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The NPS has a goal to eradicate iceplant from the island by 2016, and park staff is working hard with CIR and other organizations to achieve that goal.

If you would like to volunteer for the project, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at:

Background on Anacapa Island and the Restoration Project

Anacapa Island, located only about 11 miles from the urbanized coast of Southern California, provides critical habitat for seabirds, pinnipeds such as California sea lions, and several endemic plants and animals.  It is home to 16 plants endemic to the California Channel Islands, 2 of which are unique to Anacapa. The island’s steep lava rock cliffs incorporate numerous caves and crevices that are particularly important for the increasingly rare seabird species, Xantus’s Murrelet (Threatened) and Ashy Storm-petrel.  The largest breeding colony of the California Brown Pelican in the United States, and one of the only two in California, also occurs on Anacapa Island.  This is where the Brown Pelican has been able to recover so dramatically from near extinction in the 1970s.   A unique subspecies of deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus anacapae) occurs only on this island.  Anacapa also has an endemic form of the interesting and attractive Side-Blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana).

Anacapa’s prolific and dense vegetation was once dominated by the showy Giant Coreopsis, an erect, shrubby perennial with a stout, succulent trunk growing to some 8' tall.  The main trunk grows up to 5" thick and often resembles a small tree.  During its blooming season, March to May, it bursts forth with a mass of showy, bright yellow flowers and green leaves.  Giant Coreopsis provided shelter and perches for seabirds and land birds, and nesting habitat for many. The prolific seeds provided abundant food for the endemic Anacapa deer mouse, and for many small birds.  The island’s stands of Giant Coreopsis, as well as all the other plants of its coastal bluff community, were devastated by sheep grazing in the late 1800s and early 1900s, rabbit browsing in 1910-1950s, and by large-scale destruction of native vegetation associated with facility and road development by the U.S. Coast Guard during construction and manning of the Anacapa Light Station.  Only small patches and individuals of native plants remained. 

After completion of the lighthouse and associated facilities, the Coast Guard planted two types of iceplant on East Anacapa Islet: red-flowered iceplant (Malephora crocea) and sea fig, aka ‘freeway iceplant’ (Carpobrotus edulis x aequilaterus).  Both are highly invasive.