Habitat Restoration

Jesusita Fire Hydromulch Assessment, Santa Barbara County, California

Project Name: Jesusita Fire Hydromulch Assessment, Santa Barbara County, California
Services: Habitat Restoration
Client: County of Santa Barbara

The Jesusita Fire burned approximately 8,733 acres, and destroyed 80 residences. Approximately 1,250 acres of the burned area was treated with aerially-applied hydromulch, composed of paper, wood fiber, water and natural tackifiers. Padre conducted a study to determine the effects of hydromulch application on post-fire vegetation and wildlife habitat recovery. Eleven sample sites were selected at five locations, and consisted of side-by-side control and treatment plots. The control plots were covered with elevated plastic tarps, to prevent deposition of aerially-applied hydromulch. The control and treatment plots were sampled using four transects oriented perpendicular to the slope gradient. Overall, sixteen 0.25 square meter quadrats were sampled within each 40 square meter plot. The results of this study indicate the application of hydromulch did not affect total plant cover in the sample sites over the study period. In addition, the application of hydromulch did not affect non-native plant cover, or cause or facilitate weed infestation.

Shell Molino Flowline Removal Project at Arroyo Hondo Creek, Santa Barbara County, California

Project Name: Shell Molino Flowline Removal Project at Arroyo Hondo Creek, Santa Barbara County, California
Services: Habitat Restoration, Permitting and Biological Assessment
Client: Shell Exploration and Production Company

Padre staff members provided comprehensive permitting and biological consulting services for the removal of oil and produced water pipelines (flowlines) associated with the Shell Molino Oil and Gas facility located within the Arroyo Hondo Ranch on the southern Santa Barbara County coast. The flowline corridor is located within the sensitive habitat area of Arroyo Hondo Creek, which supports a wide variety of special-status species including the southern steelhead.

Working with project engineers on numerous field surveys, Padre staff assisted in identifying potential onsite biological constraints and developed alternative project designs and methodologies for flowline removal. This approach significantly reduced the potential impacts of the project to southern steelhead and assisted in minimizing permit issues with the California Department of Fish and Game, Army Corps of Engineers, and National Marine Fisheries Service. Based upon the field surveys and modified engineering design, Padre staff prepared a detailed project description, and several site-specific restoration plans developed to enhance the habitat for southern steelhead and other sensitive species. In addition, Padre staff performed biological monitoring during construction including daily monitoring of dissolved oxygen levels of stream water in the work area, directed the implementation of site restoration plans, and assisted in the preliminary development of a plan for installation of fish-ladders within the culvert of Arroyo Hondo Creek to enhance southern steelhead migration.

The Boeing Company Santa Susana Field Laboratory – Native Plant Restoration Field Oversight, Ventura County, California

Project Name: The Boeing Company Santa Susana Field Laboratory – Native Plant Restoration Field Oversight, Ventura County, California
Services: Habitat Restoration
Client: The Boeing Company

Padre biologists have teamed with other Boeing contractors to design and implement the restoration of various upland and streambed habitats at the site, with a current tally of approximately 8,000 native plants installed. Restoration activities are ongoing as site remediation activities progress.

As a complementary activity to the restoration project, Padre biologists, in conjunction with other Boeing contractors, have teamed with the Pollinator Partnership, a national non-profit organization employing biologists focusing on the proliferation of insect pollinator habitats. Restored areas seeded with a variety of native plant species were assessed to determine the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators in comparison to natural, undeveloped areas located in close proximity. The dependence on insect pollination related to seed viability was also assessed on two rare plants (Braunton’s milk-vetch and Santa Susana tarplant) located at the site.