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GUEST POST by Neal Sharma of Peninsula Open Space Trust

In the world of land stewardship, sometimes things just come together. It seems rare, but it happens on occasion. Those times deserve to be celebrated! Last summer, we had a great example of likeminded people “connecting the dots” to result in a fantastic, ecologically-beneficial outcome. 

At our 8,532-acre San Vicente Redwoods property, we have an issue with the non-native and invasive Coulter pine. This tree was planted in the higher elevations on the property several decades ago and has spread aggressively among the native plant communities that also occupy those areas.

Among other things, the presence of Coulter pine alters the light dynamics of the forest and can create difficulties for the viability of rare endemic plants, such as the Santa Cruz manzanita (Arctostaphylos andersonii).

When PG&E asked for our input in developing a mitigation project associated with a right-of-way that traverses the property, Coulter pine sprang to mind. At no cost to POST, we had an opportunity to make some progress to curtail the invasion, and that was something we wanted to take advantage of. Better yet, after the trees were felled and bucked, their contractor was willing to chip the material and transport it offsite.

Some thirty miles away, our partners at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County were developing a bioreactor at the Watsonville Sough Farm (which POST helped to protect back in 2009, by the way). The purpose of the bioreactor is to clean water flowing off of agricultural lands that are adjacent to wetlands and the Pajaro River estuary.

As it so happened, the same contractor who was working on the Coulter pine removal at San Vicente Redwoods was working on the bioreactor project, and the chipped material was ideal for use in that project. Once the material was chipped at our site near Bonny Doon, it was hauled down to Watsonville and added to the bioreactor.

Talk about a win-win!

One of the definitive aspects of managing San Vicente Redwoods is that of partnership. POST co-owns the property with Sempervirens Fund. We actively manage the property in collaboration with Save the Redwoods League. We are planning for public access with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. At the center of it all is a fantastic forester and property manager — Nadia Hamey (pictured above). 

Among other things, our collaborative spirit allows us to leverage the support of our amazing donors and make a lot of good work happen out there on the land.

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