Born out of a vision shared by the local community, students, faculty, researchers and state and federal agencies, the North Campus Open Space (NCOS) restoration project is recreating more than 40 acres of estuarine and palustrine wetlands that historically comprised the upper portion of Devereux Slough that was filled in the mid-1960s to create the Ocean Meadows golf course. Led by the UC Santa Barbara Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) in collaboration with other UCSB departments, faculty, student and local community groups, contractors and government agencies, the project is also restoring more than 60 acres of upland habitats that include native grassland, coastal sage scrub, riparian, oak chaparral woodland, vernal pools and patches of annual wildflowers in clay and sandy soils. In addition to wetland and upland habitat restoration, the goals of the NCOS project include flood reduction, support for threatened and endangered species, public access and the provision of educational opportunities. Ancillary benefits of the project include carbon sequestration, preservation of local genotypes, and protection of adjacent ecological values and infrastructure through a design that integrates sea level rise considerations.
Currently in its third year of implementation, the main planting phase of the project is approximately 90% complete, and the focus is now turning towards maintenance, continued monitoring, new research projects, and supplemental planting to add diversity, including special status species such as the Ventura marsh milk-vetch (Astragalus pycnostachys var. lanosissimus). This report describes the methods and results of monitoring for the first two years of the project, from vegetation and wildlife to wetland geomorphology, hydrology and water quality, carbon sequestration studies, community use and a detailed record of restoration efforts by type of worker, task and site location. This work documents the progress of the project and supports longer-term research and monitoring programs. Results from the second year of monitoring show substantial progress towards the project’s restoration goals, with many being met or exceeded.