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The GCA’s National Native Habitat Restoration Effort Grows


May 19, 2020

Partners for Plants Project Revives Coastal Prairie

Warning - invasive weeds not welcome! This declaration is the battle cry that drives many of the member club projects that receive the GCA’s Partners for Plants (P4P) grants. In its third decade, P4P focuses on restoring native habitat on federal, state, and local public lands throughout the United States. Launched in 1992 with a mere six projects across four states, the program now totals 184 initiatives in thirty-six states. In 2019, fourteen new projects were approved. 

GCA member clubs work with professional botanists and land managers who supervise activities and share their knowledge and expertise. In addition to weeding, projects can involve inventorying, mapping, monitoring, propagating, and transplanting endangered plants. 

The North Dunes Habitat Restoration Project, undertaken by the Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club (CBTSGC) in cooperation with the city of Carmel, included restoration of the last remaining undeveloped dunes within Carmel, California. The dunes are designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area under jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Fish and Wildlife Service. The goal of the CBTSGC was to turn the degraded environment into a healthy ecosystem by replacing invasive weeds with thriving populations of native species.

Plans began in 2009 when the dunes no longer provided prime dune habitat for the Species of Special Concern, the Legless Lizard, or for pollinators. The CBTSGC began this long-term project with the removal of invasive iceplant and debris and installed educational signage and benches. Over the years, the signs and benches have proved to be a valuable asset, enhancing the experience of the dunes and dune conservation for visitors and the community.

With the 2019 P4P grant, the CBTSGC was able to pay for the services of a supervising biologist, a requirement of the grant. Last spring, members planted seed-grown plugs of Tidestrom’s lupine (Lupinus tidestromii), a state and federally listed endangered species, and plan to repeat the planting event this year as well. In the fall of 2019, members from six Bay Area GCA clubs joined in a workday where an estimated 1,200 lbs. of weeds were bagged. The area is now attracting pollinators and providing a home for wildlife.

Each P4P project serves as a catalyst for accomplishing important endangered plant work that in many cases could not have been accomplished otherwise.



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