Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Projects
Dune Restoration Efforts to Expand in the Park
Park Launches Planning Effort to Restore Critically Important Habitat Areas
Since 2001, the Seashore has been working on a series of coastal dune restoration projects near Abbott's Lagoon to remove non-native, invasive plant species such as European beachgrass and iceplant. Native dune habitat in the Seashore provides critical habitat for four federally listed, and several additional rare and unique, species of plants and animals, as well as some of the largest expanses of two rare native dune plant communities remaining in California.
However more than 1,000 acres of the 1,400 acres of coastal dunes in the Seashore are invaded by European beachgrass and iceplant, which establish vast monocultures that crowd out native plant species. As a result of this habitat conversion, reproductive success of both the federally endangered Tidestrom's lupine and the federally threatened western snowy plover has plummeted. Some of these impacts can be reduced through restoration: in 2012, more than 15,000 federally endangered Tidestrom's lupine plants germinated across approximately 16 acres of the Abbott's Lagoon project area, and plovers moved into the restoration area to nest. Based on the demonstrable success of these initial efforts in increasing rare plant and western snowy plover nesting habitat, the Seashore initiated a planning process to expand its restoration efforts to other park dune systems in future years.
In 2009, the National Park Service completed an Environment Assessment (EA) (4,607 KB PDF) for the Abbott's Lagoon Coastal Dune Restoration Project. In 2012, the Seashore began to build upon the EA that was prepared for the Abbott's Lagoon Coastal Dune Restoration Project and expand the scope of its analysis to cover potential restoration efforts in other dune areas throughout the park. This Environmental Assessment is anticipated on being released for public comment in early 2015.