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Volunteers harvest native seeds for dune restoration

Posted: Monday, Oct 14th, 2013


Volunteer Sharon Burkett collects seeds from mock heather, a plant native to the sand dunes at Moss Landing State Beach on Monday. (Photo by Roseann Hernandez/Register-Pajaronian)


MOSS LANDING — A team of volunteers spent Monday morning harvesting seeds from native plants at Moss Landing State Beach as part of a grant-funded dune restoration project to improve dune habitat and make the park more accessible to visitors.

Armed with manila envelopes for the seed specimens and a keen and discerning eye, eight volunteers gingerly navigated through the sand dunes to collect seeds from native plants such as beach sagewort, sand verbena and beach primrose.

Once the seeds are collected, they will be stored and propagated at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve greenhouse, which currently holds more than 40 plant species native to the Elkhorn Slough watershed.

“We collected lots of species today,” said Bree Candiloro, stewardship specialist at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, which has partnered with the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and California State Parks on the project.

From dune buckwheat to beach bur, once planted they will help stabilize the sand dunes that drift sand along Jetty Road and provide improved habitat for the animals and migratory birds that reside or stop along the dunes, including the endangered Snowy Plover, who make their nests in the sand.

Katie Pofahl, outreach coordinator for the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, said the sand drift leads to increased maintenance costs for State Parks and gives the wrong impression to the many visitors who flock to the beach to study its rich habitat or engage in a host of recreational pursuits from bird watching to kayaking.

“This is a real gem of a place,” she said.



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