Strawberry Creek Planting - Filling the Weed-Shaped Hole
Project Leads: Lauren Hallett, Nathan Bickart, Lawrence Fernandez, Dr. Katharine Suding
Sponsor: Suding Lab
TGIF Grant: $16,232
Project Theme: Habitat Restoration
Historial Context: Over the past 25 years, the Strawberry Creek Restoration Program (SCRP) has engaged thousands of UC Berkeley students and volunteers in the restoration of Strawberry Creek restoration, which has resulted in large areas where some of the most problematic invasive species (notably English and Algerian ivy) have been removed. In more recent years, the SCRP has begun to shift its focus from invasive species removal to a more comprehensive restoration approach that includes native planting. Removing invasive species without effectively establishing other desired (native) species can leave a “weed-shaped hole” that invasive species can easily recolonize. Ideally, native planting fills this “hole” with a community that supports a higher level of biodiversity.
Project Description: This grant will fund five student internships and the supplies needed for identifying and planting native species that can resist re-invasion by ivy and still realize the other essential ecosystem services desired by the campus community.
Goals: Utilize information on species traits to optimize the sustainability outcomes of the native planting phase of the Strawberry Creek restoration. Measure traits (such as relative growth rate, height and root morphology) on these native species and contrast them to the traits of ivy. Consider traits related to the effects the species has on habitat (e.g. height, branching patterns) and water quality (e.g. root depth). Increase on-campus field experiences for students by leading class tours of restoration areas. Extend our trait-based restoration framework to other community watershed groups. Shift from invasive species removal to native species planting and address difficult questions about species selection through collaboration between ecologists and the Strawberry Creek Restoration Program. Grow selected species in the nursery, and lead volunteer efforts to plant these species along the creek in a replicated experimental layout. Monitor the establishment success of planted species and the spread of ivy in planted and non-planted areas. Report the findings in a handbook of planting recommendations.