Mapping, Assessment and Planning for Recovery and Resiliency in Fire-Damaged Watersheds in the Thomas Fire and Whittier Fire Recovery Zones
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.
The below pictures are of Santa Barbara Botanical Garden staff and volunteers during the previous study of the Zaca Fire. (Photo credits: Denise Knapp).