Restoring Audubon Starr Ranch Riparian Woodlands with Community Participation

Location: Orange County

Project Type: Restoration

Status: Completed

Habitat Type: Riparian

Cost: $80,500

Area Affected: 50 acres

Assembly District: 71

Senate District: 33

Congressional District: 49

Project Lead/Grantee:
National Audubon Society (Sarah Rose;

The project enabled Audubon Starr Ranch, through the work of interns and volunteers (consisting of students, scout troops, nearby community members), to remove invasive plants without chemicals and restore both herbaceous and native woody species in a pristine riparian corridor at the 4,000 acre Audubon Starr Ranch. Audubon Starr Ranch addressed the challenge of dead and dying trees from drought and tree pests and diseases at Starr Ranch through innovative woodland restoration techniques. In fall of 2018, interns and volunteers collected acorns (50 – 100) and seedlings (25-50) for transplanting. They also collected and planted seeds of native herbaceous riparian species available for collection in the fall: mugwort, caterpillar phacelia, and branching phacelia. In early January 2019, interns and volunteers collected then planted 200 branch cuttings from sycamore, mulefat, native blackberry, native grape, willow and also rhizome cuttings from ragweed and hedgenettle. The cuttings were planted in an area formerly dominated by periwinkle and other riparian non-natives. The seasonal ornithologist trained volunteers during intensive workshops to age, sex, and band songbirds of riparian woodlands. Several trained volunteers helped survey for amphibians (adults and larvae), reptiles (primarily turtles and semi-aquatic snakes), and fish and removed non-native crayfish and bullfrogs.