Photo Credit: Denise Knapp of Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
March 2019 April 2021

The Fire Resilience Project: Piloting ways for citizen scientists and professionals to work together effectively in helping our fire-ravaged landscapes

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and CBI partner to assess fire-damaged watersheds and prioritize management actions.


John Gallo, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden (SBBG) and CBI successfully co-wrote a proposal to California's Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Program. Steve Windhager, Denise Knapp, and other SBBG staff join CBI staff in partnership to develop, apply, and share a fiscally-responsible and repeatable methodology for assessing fire-damaged watersheds, and systematically prioritizing management actions.The project will pilot this methodology in a baseline assessment of the portion of the Whittier and Thomas fire burn scars located in the Los Padres National Forest. Expert researchers and "citizen scientists" will collect data on more than 390 miles of trails across 171,640 acres. The project will build upon survey methods developed during a SBBG 2018 assessment of the Zaca and Jesusita fire scars.  It will draw from the rapidly growing literature on citizen science and new mobile apps, to provide opportunities for the community to help.  A spatial decision support system will synthesize the new data along with existing data to help map the highest priority interventions (to be implemented in a subsequent phase). The site-specific interventions planned will be mudslide or trail stabilization, weed control, native seed collection, and native seed planting.

If you'd like to be notified of citizen science opportunities when they arise, please e-mail If you'd like to help us start the project now and therefore do fieldwork in the spring bloom of 2019, please donate here.

The below pictures are of Santa Barbara Botanical Garden staff and volunteers during the previous study of the Zaca Fire. (Photo credits: Denise Knapp).

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