Experiments on the Mesa

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The Green Rectangle. You can see the far corner stakes in the upper left and right corners with the white paint.

Last week Core Team Steward Mike and I went out on a cloudy morning with stakes, measuring tape, notepad and GPS to mark out a new area to conduct experiments.  As a restoration coordinator, I’m always trying to come up with new ideas to correspond with the changing environment, be that drought, poor soil, a lot of rain, salt air, you name it.  Each year is slightly different from the previous years and to give the plants the best chance of survival I try different methods. Restoring different plant communities come with their own requirements, and because we have only been trying to establish native grass in the last few years, we’ve had to rethink how to go about planting these native grasses compared to Coastal Sage Scrub plants (which are very different).

I’ve converted the area called the Green Rectangle into an experimental plot to test out some ideas, and this year I will have a new area, dare I saw the Peach area, to test even more ideas.  Along the way, I’ve been keeping notes and pictures on the progress of the Green Rectangle, and the earlier Tar Plant area.  Some methods worked well, others not as much, so we keep trying new things to increase plant survival and overall success.  That’s one reason we keep trying new things to increase the tactics that work compared the ones that fail.

With my new Peach area, I have broken it up into two rectangles with the first rectangle to test out a new idea, while having a control area where we keep doing the same thing we did last year in the second rectangle.  This will allow me to roughly compare the success or failure of the new idea against the old method. The challenge will be, if the new idea works really well, how to implement it on a larger scale.

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The Peach area. The far corner stakes are hard to pick out, but they are next to the bushes on the right and left corners of the picture.

~Erin

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