Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- September 18, 2002

Cal Poly Initiates Redwood Sanctuary

This week as part of a unique conservation effort between Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch and UC Santa Cruz, redwood trees are being offered a new lease on life.

As UC Santa Cruz prepares to meet the “tidal wave” of new students expected to enroll in the next 10 years, buildings are sprouting up on the campus, requiring the removal of several redwood trees. But instead of excavating and trucking them to a landfill, as is usually done, the redwood stumps (or rootwads) will be transported to the Queseria Creek Restoration project at the Swanton Pacific Ranch near Davenport, where they will be planted in the riparian corridor as part of Cal Poly’s commitment to return the creek to a more natural condition.

The Queseria Creek Restoration project is just one of the many hands-on learning opportunities offered by Swanton Pacific Ranch.

“The student interns and graduate students who live at the ranch also work on such other projects as watershed research, growing organic crops, conducting sustainable timber harvest and forestry research and grassland management,” said Swanton Pacific Ranch Director Wally Mark.Mark expects two-thirds of the transplanted redwoods to flourish in their new home north of Davenport.

“Many people know that ‘fairy rings’(multiple growths emanating from the stump) will sprout around a redwood stump left in the ground, and will eventually grow into a healthy second-growth tree,” Mark said. “It is less well known that transplanted redwood stumps, if kept wet until replanting, can come back.”

The California Department of Fish and Game has verified that some reaches of Queseria Creek, a tributary of Scotts Creek, provide habitat for steelhead trout and Coho salmon.

“I’m excited about this project,” Mark said, “because rootwads create high-quality habitat much more quickly than seedlings, accelerating the development of shade and deep pools for the fish as well as help control erosion.

UC Santa Cruz, Mark and some Cal Poly students are collaborating with Big Creek Lumber, a Santa Cruz County-based lumber company that arranged for Swanton Pacific to get the stumps.

Contact: Wally Mark (831) 234-0998

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