On Friday, October 27, a group of ForestWatch volunteers made the trip out to the Carrizo Plain National Monument to remove decades-old fencing from a 42-acre property recently purchased by the Carrizo Plain Conservancy and donated to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These incredible volunteers removed a quarter mile of three-strand barbed wire fencing during only two hours of work!
The fence removal effort was part of an event celebrating the Carrizo Plain Conservancy’s recent acquisition of the last piece of private land along Soda Lake on the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The group used funds donated by local citizens and granted from the California Wildlife Foundation to purchase the property. They have now donated this land to the BLM to officially become public land as part of the national monument.
ForestWatch has organized fence removal projects in other areas on the Carrizo Plain, and we were glad to have the opportunity to organize the de-fencing of the new property. Our volunteers came from Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Santa Margarita to brave the heat and help take down the fence. Using nothing but some heavy duty gloves, pliers, and some wire cutters, the crew set to work faster than the pronghorn that will benefit from their efforts.
After dozens of fence posts were removed and a truckload of barbed wire was collected, the group headed to the historic Goodwin Ranch to take part in the celebration of the land donation. There they listened to guests speakers, including Carrizo Plain Conservancy President Neil Havlik, longtime Carrizo Plain resident and former ForestWatch Board President Pat Veesart, and local business owner Simone Smith (who also helped with de-fencing). Altogether a group of 25 volunteers, local business owners, and nearby residents took part in the celebration.
ForestWatch plans to continue removing fence on the newly-donated parcel of land. The Carrizo Plain Conservancy has also offered to donate 13 other parcels totaling over 140 acres within the national monument boundaries. We look forward to working with them to assist in improving wildlife habitat on these pieces of land.
See below for pictures from the volunteer efforts and the land donation celebration.