Year Five of the Kent Island Restoration Project is Underway!
For the past four years hundreds of volunteers, contributing thousands of field work hours, have helped restore Kent Island at Bolinas Lagoon. Thanks to their hard work we have successfully removed 16 nonnative plant and tree species that are impacting the islands habitat and capturing sediment inside the lagoon. Fennel, acacia, iceplant, sweet clover, sea rocket, bush lupine, bird's foot tree foil, french broom, scotch broom, and algerian sea levender are just a few of these pesky invaders. So far 60,000sq ft of these invasive plants have been removed (equivalent to over 12 basketball courts), and over 10 acres of habitat have been restored! And the hard work is paying off. Project managers have documented an increase in native plants such as Pink Sand Verbena, which is important for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Managers have also noticed increased erosion in the areas of plant removal, namely along the southeast region of the island, demonstarting how the project is already changing the island's shape!
We are back again in 2017 to continue the project and we want you to join us! Progress would not be possible without the help of volunteers who are truly the heart of this community based process, so we hope you join us on the island! Season five removal dates are underway and will be held now through October, 2017 on the 1st Friday and 3rd Saturday of every month. To join one of our volunteer days or organize a special work day for your own group or organization, contact Kate Bimrose at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the project, keep reading below!
The Kent Island Restoration Project
Kent Island forms a barrier island in the interior of Bolinas Lagoon that is a geomorphic feature unique to California. In the past, Kent Island's plants adapted to salt water inundation, sand burial, and erosion, allowing the island to recover from storms and earthquakes, and change shape depending on wind, wave, and geologic factors. In recent years, invasive nonnative plants have infested the island, pushing out native dune and wetland habitat, trapping sediment, and causing the island to grow. In 2010 funding was received through the National Estuary Restoration Act to help restore roughly 23 acres of Kent Island through plant removal. An effort implemented directly from the Locally Preferred Plan, the Kent Island Restoration project will provide several important benefits to the lagoon, including: 1) removal of invasive plant species; 2) restoration of regionally rare flood-shoal tidal delta habitat for native plants; 3) potential nesting habitat for endangered snowy plovers; 4) strengthen the areas resiliency to future earthquakes and storm surges, and; 5) improved hydrologic function and sediment transport throughout the lagoon.
Although a primary stand of mature pine and cypress trees will be left intact to continue supporting a colony of nesting great blue herons, the goal of removing nonnative vegetation (french bloom, cypress, pine, non-native beach grass, iceplant, and acacia) intends to restore the island's tidal marsh ecotone and coastal dune habitat. That's where you come in! Funding for plant removal is secured through 2018 so come out and be a part of the effort. By signing up to be a volunteer you will learn to identify nonnative plants, get hands-on training, and be a part of the team working to protect and restore the beautiful landscape of Bolinas Lagoon.