SANTA MARIA A native plant restoration project for approximately 150 acres of city-owned property in the Santa Maria Riverbed is scheduled to begin this week.
The project is aimed at reducing overgrown shrubbery and invasive plant species from a post east of the Highway 101 bridge. The goal is to help native plants and animals thrive in the upcoming spring season, while also allowing for easier walking access and helping mitigate potential fire risks, according to a news release.
As part of the project, the city’s Recreation and Parks Department will hold a “Ranch to River” nature program for youth, teens and adults to teach residents about flora, fauna and the geology of the areas surrounding the river trail. The program includes free bus transportation for school field trips, weekend docent-led nature hikes and nature activities to inspire visitors to learn about the local wildlife environments and teach responsible stewardship of natural resources. The program is made possible through a grant funded by California State Parks.
The property was purchased by the city in 2009, using grant funds from the Land Water Conservation Fund, as an additional effort to preserve plant and wildlife, filter stormwater runoff and replenish the Santa Maria River Valley groundwater basin. In 2010 and 2011, a total of 35 interpretive nature markers were placed for the public to walk in the riverbed while learning about the native flora and fauna.
For more information, call the Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951 ext. 2260.