Sespe Cienega Habitat Restoration – Update

The community garden located at the Fillmore Fish Hatchery is close to completion! Over the past year, volunteers, students, and partners have worked hard to create a beautiful garden for the community to enjoy. Here you will find a variety of native plants that provide habitat for dozens of pollinators, birds, lizards, and mammals. The walk through the garden is short but delightful – the fragrant smell of sage, the buzz of bees, and an opportunity to learn something from the kiosk.

fish_hatchery_group1Friends of the Santa Clara River is administering a Wetlands Restoration Grant Program grant and has contracted the Santa Clara River Conservancy (SCRC) who has worked diligently with numerous volunteer groups to ensure that this garden is cared for throughout the years. This once weed-filled plot of land is now a small sanctuary for visitors and wildlife alike. Students from Briggs School learned about the importance of returning resources to natural spaces and planted over 200 plants in the garden and surrounding area. Ventura-based Girl Scout Troop 60532 has installed a Kiosk outside of the garden to be filled with invaluable information about natural, cultural, and historical resources. Sierra Club volunteer and Piru local, Lee Mandell, built, carved, and installed wooden posts for the garden. These posts are numbered 1 through 15 and will guide visitors as they walk the garden path. Friends of the Santa Clara River intern, Jose Flores, has designed an interpretive brochure that provides information about the plants found in the garden (which corresponds to Mr. Mandell’s posts). Staff from SCRC and the University of California Santa Barbara have continuously managed weeds to ensure the native plants do not get overrun by the overwhelming number of weeds.


Volunteers throughout the county participated in several workdays removing weeds, installing native plants, mulching the garden, watering plants, and lining the trail with stones. In total, over 1,500 native plants were planted by volunteers! This project would not be possible without their tireless efforts. It is our hope that volunteers will bring their friends, family, and neighbors to the garden to show how passionate community members can truly create something beautiful.


The Santa Clara River Conservancy will have a volunteer day on Sunday, November 4th, 2018 from 9:00 am to noon at the garden. Volunteers will be filling in gaps by planting native plants, managing weeds, mulching the garden pathway, and watering new and existing plants. If you have any questions about the volunteer workday, please contact Hannah Garcia at scrconservancy@gmail.com.