Hedrick Ranch Nature Area UPDATE
by Sandy Hedrick
The past year has been very active for the FSCR in performing stewardship responsibilities for the HRNA. In addition to the regular ownership concerns of taxes, insurance, maintenance and administration, we have pursued many opportunities to fund restoration and environmental research benefiting the Santa Clara River and understanding of riparian ecosystems in California.
A major milestone during 2003 was the completion of the agreement with The California Coastal Conservancy for acquisition and development of a management plan for the land of The Hedrick Ranch Nature Area. The Friends are working on grant requests to the California Wetlands Restoration Project (WRP), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the ARCO Oil Spill Trustee Council for restoration activities. The Friends are also co-operating and participating in research projects funded by The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Central Board (LARWQB), including water quality monitoring and irrigation of agricultural run-off (tailwater).
The HRNA was impacted by the "Simi" fire, which swept over The Santa Paula-South Mountain area in late October 2003. About 5 acres of riparian habitat were burned. The role of invasive arundo donax in spreading the wildfires into sensitive riparian habitat is implicated.
The Friends has been hosting a significant volunteer restoration project that is a co-operation effort of Ventura Audubon, CNPS and Friends. Meeting once a month, the volunteers have made a start on removing invasive plant species and re-planting to establish a native riparian forest on previously farmed and grazed terrace of the Santa Clara River. Upcoming restoration days are scheduled for Saturday, March 6th and Sunday, April 4th, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Location is at 20395 So. Mountain Road, approximately 3.5 miles from Santa Paula across the 12th St. Bridge. Site is about .5 mile north of South Mountain Road. For information on volunteer days, call Sandy Hedrick at 805-643-2408.