On Sunday, June 28, 2015, volunteers braved the heat of Mission Canyon to remove cape ivy from one of the most important creeks in the Santa Barbara front country. The project was a collaborative event between Los Padres ForestWatch, Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Volunteers met on a bridge over the creek that is a part of one of the most popular trails in the forest, with hikers passing by on their way to Inspiration Point and the Seven Falls. From there, the volunteers actually climbed down into the canyon along a steep and crumbling slope with only a rope for support. Down at the dry creekbed below the bridge, the volunteers were able to completely tear out the large patch of cape ivy. Luckily, instead of having to carry multiple bags of plant material back up the slope and out of the canyon, the Urban Creeks Council had a better idea. They attached a 50 gallon drum to a line and dropped it from the bridge down into the creek where the volunteers below could empty their bags into it. It took two trips of the 50 gallon bin just to haul out the patch that was in the dry pool below the bridge.
Just a short walk down the creek led them to the larger patch and the main focus of the day. The patch of cape ivy was so dense there that it almost seemed futile to try to remove it all. Undeterred, a team of seven hardworking volunteers worked for the greater part of an hour and a half to remove all that they could. At the end of the project they left with seven bags full of cape ivy and left behind a huge dent in the patch. In total, it took the garbage bin four trips to carry up all of the cape ivy that the volunteers pulled out from the main site.
With as many as 150 square feet of cape ivy removed from this section of the creek, the day was incredibly successful, but our work here is not over yet. Be sure to sign up for our volunteer email list to stay up to date on this and other upcoming volunteer projects!
Huge thank you to UCSB Coastal Fund for supporting this work to protect our local creeks and watersheds!