July 27, 2012
On Thursday July 26, 2012 we procured our first set of samples from the 12 plots located on the Deer Valley Trail. Initially, we began by taking two spoonfuls of soil in replicate from the various plots and placed them in the appropriately labeled bags. The samples will be used later to determine specific concentrations of nitrogen, carbon, and the pH level within the soil to establish an understanding of current soil conditions.
Also a control will be set up looking at the same nutrient samples in an area where Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and other invasive species have not outcompeted native plants such as Coastal Sage Brush (Artemesia californica). Later, we will work in the lab to determine the levels of nitrogen and carbon, which will then be compiled in a format to quantify long term trends. Ultimately, the aim of this work is to assess how over time the soil and flora communities respond to manual treatments of fennel. We are hoping to see the potential for less labor intensive techniques such as mowing to be effective for long term treatment strategies, but only a long term data set will allow us to make a more informed judgment.
We also attained samples from the two potential restoration sites we have identified along the trail. The areas currently remain highly disturbed and the samples will be used to determine the soil composition prior to the application of seeding and potted plants, which we will install during August and through the fall. Our work will then return full circle back to the John Ackerman Native Plant Nursery by establishing data sets related to the effectiveness of propagation techniques, which conservancy employees can use to make management decisions. Within the restoration site we hope to see a strong reestablishment and survivorship rate in the native flora communities and an overall more stable soil composition over time.
Editor’s note: The ENST Catalina Island Internship at USC Dornsife is offered as part of a summer internship program offered to undergraduate students in theUSC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. This course takes place on location at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. Students investigate important environmental issues such as ecological restoration, protected-area planning and assessment, and invasive species management. During the course of the internship, students will work closely with USC faculty and staff scientists from the Catalina Island Conservancy to support ongoing conservation and management programs being implemented on the island. Instructors for the course include David Ginsburg, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Lisa Collins, Lecturer in Environmental Studies, and Tony Summers, Invasive Plant Program Supervisor from the Catalina Island Conservancy.