- In restoring ecosystems, ecologists favor using the most local available material. California State Parks
use a concentric circle model.
- Use of local plants gives the best chance of preserving those traits which are essential for survival in the
- Using local plants as propagation sources provides the least opportunity of introducing non-adaptive traits
to the existing population.
- It works! My experience shows a quicker recovery of the plant cover with less site preparation.
- Determine what is native at the site, what is logical to have been native at the site.
- Site visit, visit surrounding areas.
- Book research--plant communities lists, old floras, histories, extrapolate.
- Determine the importance of using local material.
- How "trashed" is the site?
- How urbanized?
- How far from natural stands.
- Likelihood of affecting natural areas.
- Timing--depending on the species involved, collection times will vary as will the length of time
for the plants to reach a viable planting size.
- Set a goal--Less disturbed sites
may achieve a high percentage of natives within a three year
project and monitoring framework. Very disturbed sites, such as
grasslands, with a constant supply of invading weed seeds, may
take many years to achieve a balance of native species, and may
never be more than 75% natives. Natural factors may affect
restoration efforts. For instance, plants which have held a bank
through several normal years may wash out in a high water year.
That could be considered a failure, or it could be reasoned that
they were effective in protecting the bank in normal years, and
will end up downstream in another portion of the creek.
- Implementation--Restoration is very
labor intensive, especially in the early stages. One of the keys
to success is to reduce the non-native plant population,
especially those that alter the character of the plant community.
Although hand methods are very time consuming the first few years,
they are effective! For volunteers to feel successful, they must
be patient, and willing to observe a project for more than one
It is important
that volunteers are comfortable with what they are doing. It takes a
while to identify what is needed, and educational materials must be
developed. One of the areas people have asked most about is
identifying the plants they are growing and those they are removing.
Although there are books that are very helpful in identifying
plants, the sure-fire way is to show an actual specimen or a color
Xerox of one.
See restoration activities calendar available from Native Here Nursery.
People like you. Patience is helpful, but
so is learning quickly. There is such a variety of work to do, there
is something for everyone. Age doesn’t seem to matter if a person
is interested. Children and adults of all ages can be useful and
- With your neighbors and local friends of the creek,
- East Bay Citizens for Creek Restoration,
- Native Here Nursery,
- Friday mornings and the first
Saturday of each month,
- Mitchell Canyon and Pine Meadow, Mount Diablo State Park
- Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation,
- Albany Hill,
- an open space near you!
Restoration is a rewarding experience for
me. I get to spend time out of doors, in contact with the earth. It
gives me time to think about myself, my family, the world. I get to
observe plants and animals going about their business. It gives me a
sense of returning something to the earth, and helping continue
values I hold dear. I like retaining something of the past for
future generations to enjoy. I hope that restoration has this appeal
for you, too!
...Charli Danielsen, Project Coordinator