College of Science

ENSCI Graduate Students Present on History, Current Conditions, and Future Maintenance Plan for Sand City Habitat Preserves

Students in Dr. Fred Watson’s Advanced Watershed Science & Policy course recently presented on the history, current conditions, and future maintenance plan for the Edgewater and Sand Dollar Habitat Preserves in Sand City, California.

Students collect habitat restoration data in the field.
ENSCI 660 students present habitat restoration issues to Sand City staff and council members.

Roughly 30 years ago, the city of Sand City constructed two major shopping centers that impacted fragile dune ecosystems along the central coast. In an effort to mitigate these impacts, the city was tasked with maintaining 13.6 acres of dune habitat.

Early on, the city was successful in maintaining this open space - however, over time the overall care for these preserves has fallen short. This past year, Sand City officials recognized the need to better understand the current maintenance compliance status and restoration of these preserves. At the request of Sand City, six Environmental Science graduate students worked to address habitat restoration issues in the city. In doing so they documented past obligations related to the mitigation of shopping center impacts, surveyed current conditions in the field, and created an updated restoration plan that the city can utilize moving forward.

Following extensive background research, data collection, mapping, and analysis - these students determined that the long-term maintenance obligation is currently underperforming. Due to this, the protected species in these preserves are at risk of further degradation.

In the updated restoration plan, ENVS 660 students recommended the following actions: (1) to control invasive plant species, (2) revegetate the region, (3) conduct long-term monitoring and reporting, and (4) to meet the physical maintenance needs. This project culminated in a presentation to Sand City staff and to city council. To read more about the students’ findings, check out “History, Current Conditions, and Future Maintenance Plan for the Edgewater and Sand Dollar Habitat Preserves in Sand City, California”.