New Grants Give Conservancy Resources to Rewild Historic Territories for Threatened Species

Date: May 10, 2024

The Land Conservancy was recently awarded three large grants that will greatly impact the restoration work on the nature preserves.  Two grants, awarded by the California Coastal Conservancy, are aimed at removing invasive plant species like Cyclops Acacia and Black Mustard (both of these are also of concern for fire risk) and then restoring endangered species habitat.  Both of these grants will improve areas that have been negatively impacted by invasive species and which were historical locations or adjacent territorial locations to four special species of concern on the Palos Verdes Peninsula: the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, the El Segundo blue butterfly, the coastal California gnatcatcher and cactus wren.

The third grant was awarded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service for use in Lunada Canyon, part of the Agua Amarga Reserve.  This grant focuses on Palos Verdes blue butterfly recovery in a once historic location for the federally endangered butterfly.  This project will use innovative techniques to mimic natural disturbance events.  By bringing in goats to graze specific areas, potentially hazardous plants will be removed while the hooved animals create a “disturbance” which the plants require to stimulate germination of one of the host plants for the butterfly: Rattlepod.  The Conservancy will be also be engaging college students throughout the preserves to gather data on questions such as which are the best methods to mimic natural disturbance –  goats, tools, manual removal or any combination for creating the best results.

Over years of urbanization and development, much habitat has been damaged, degraded or destroyed on the Peninsula. With the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and our partners in the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly Recovery Group of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Moorpark College, the Urban Wildlands group and the U.S. Navy, the Conservancy is helping the Palos Verdes blue butterfly and other threatened flora and fauna to gradually return to the lands they once called home.

All of these projects benefit multiple species that rely on natural open space and native plants for their long term survival.  The restoration work will not contribute to unstable land movement on the Peninsula.  The Conservancy will continue to utilize the power of native plants to help control and absorb surface water and reduce surface soil erosion. Working with local governments, the Conservancy will help to prevent erosion that leads to unstable land movement and encourage nature-based practices that minimize landslides and wildfire.

Volunteers from the community are invited to join us on these exciting projects.  Please find out how you can get involved and stay informed on our progress by visiting:  pvplc.org.