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Habitat Restoration

Chumash Restoration Projects

Chumash Zanja de Cota Creek plant restoration

Zanja de Cota Creek plant restoration

The SYCEO provides restoration services through out the reservation. We remove invasive species (species that are not from the area and often overwhelm the habitat) and either replace it or make the area suitable for native vegetation. These projects are often very large in scale and require consistent management and upkeep to make sure the invasive plants don’t return.

The Zanja de Cota Creek is a unique tributary of the Santa Ynez River and flows all year round. Many of our restoration efforts focus on removing invasive species from the creek and allowing the ecosystem to support the native vegetation and wildlife.

These are some of the biggest threats to the creek habitat:

  • Invasive Plants – Non-native plants such as the Giant Reed and Greater Periwinkle can overgrow native plants resulting in limited habitat for animals while also creating fire and flood hazards.
  • Changing Natural Stream Flow – Building structures in the creek will alter the natural water flow resulting in destruction of animal habitat as well as increasing the chances of flooding during large winter rainstorms.
  • Water Pollution – Trash as well as contaminated water from swimming pools and improperly stored chemicals can pollute the water and harm plants, animals, and humans. Everything that goes into a storm drain on the street will end up in the creek untreated.

Ways to Reduce Negative Impacts:

  • Plant Native Species - The majority of invasive plant species are introduced by humans. Avoid planting invasive plant species in your garden or near the creek.
  • Remove Streamflow Barriers - Avoid constructing anything (rock dams / small bridges) in the creek channel. Also avoid removing vegetation or cutting down trees near the creek because they help to protect the banks and your homes from flooding.
  • Prevent Pollution - Make sure to drain your swimming pool into the sewer by using drains in your house. Store hazardous chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, paints, oil, and gas up off the ground and under cover out of the weather.

We have completed several major restoration projects around the Zanja de Cota Creek, Tribal Hall and elsewhere on the reservation. Learn more about our Habitat Restoration Projects here.

Reservation and Creek Clean Ups

CCC and SYCEO ZDC Creek Clean Up

The CA Conservation Corps assisted the SYCEO perform a creek clean up in March 2013.

The SYCEO performs consistent reservation cleanups throughout the year and organizes an annual community reservation cleanup. The event is a great opportunity for the community to come together, learn about the importance of pollution prevention, and build stronger ties to the environment.  In addition to the reservation cleanup, the SYCEO performs cleanups of the Zanja de Cota Creek on a regular basis.