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Bolsa Chica Land Trust Stewards: Growing Space

The purpose of this Growing Space is to support the Bolsa Chica Land Trust (BCLT) Stewards Habitat Restoration efforts, current and future, on the Lower Mesa at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.  The space will be utilized to grow native plants for both Coastal Sage Scrub and Grassland habitats.  The entire setup will be temporary and easily movable without physical change to the land.

Volunteer coordinator: Beverley Hansen, Beverley@BCLandTrust.org

Core Steward Leads: Mike McMahan, Mike Armstrong, Jeff Rokos

Core Steward volunteers:
John Phibbs
Marli McGraw
Joe Smisko
Roberta Armstrong
William Balow
Morgen Hansen
Ian Hansen

Manager: Erin Chin, Erin@BCLandTrust.org


native grass

The BCLT believes this Growing Space is vital to our success in restoring the Mesa to native Coastal Sage Scrub and Grassland habitat because: it will save on total costs of the restoration project; it will save on total carbon output by decreasing the amount of driving required to transport plants to the site; the plants will be propagated under the exact conditions of the Mesa increasing the probability the plants will survive once planted; it is a tool for educational and experimental possibilities; it will serve as a pilot test for future larger restoration project(s).

The Bolsa Chica Stewards have been very successful in our 20 years of habitat restoration.  The Coastal Sage Scrub habitat areas, most notably at the Point, have grown robust.  Some of the species have even expanded beyond the fence to establish themselves where few natives have been seen and none have been planted.  The Coastal Sage that was seeded in circles are growing and preventing non-native species from invading the circles.  The erosion control plants that were planted on the slope going up to the Point have done very well and have stabilized the slope from erosion.  Even the native grasses that we have just recently started to plant in the last few 5 years are surviving multiple years and are healthy enough to produce seeds on their own.

baby-blue eyes in Growing Space The Growing Space is an ideal location for education and experimentation of native plants.  Also, the Growing Space will be a living laboratory to test different propagation and treatment techniques to determine the most efficient and successful procedures for growing native plants under the environmental conditions of Bolsa Chica.

The largescale goal of the BCLT Restoration program is to restore the entire 118 acre Mesa into native habitat.  The project will use thousands of plants of many different species.  The small Growing Space will be a pilot for a Growing Space with multiple units to be able to grow enough plants.  The pilot Growing Space will test growing methods, supply needs, and the most efficient and safest procedures before the requirement of a larger-scaled space for increased plant output.  It will resolve a lot of the potential issues that would arise before the larger project starts.


  • Who: Bolsa Chica Land Trust Stewards
  • What: an on-site location to grow native plants for planting on the Bolsa Chica Mesa
  • When: weekly and monthly volunteering opportunities
  • How: volunteers supervised by trained Core Stewards

photos: Beverley Hansen, Kim Kolpin, and E. Chin

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Eagle Scout Project

A big thank you to Luke Maloney, an Eagle/Life Scout in Troop 316, and his Troop for the hard work and dedication of erecting the physical structure of the Growing Space in the summer of 2017 as well as the construction of the tabletop cages!!

photos courtesy of Troop 316

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