You are probably aware of the major restoration project underway at the North Campus Open Space, north of Coal Oil Point Reserve. The former Ocean Meadows Golf Course was purchased by the Trust for Public Lands, and transferred to the University of California for conservation, restoration and management. The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) has raised $10 million to restore 90 acres. This is the site of upper Devereux Slough before it was graded and filled to create the golf course in the 1960’s; the restoration has re-created wetlands and mudflats, and will accommodate sea level rise.
Santa Barbara Audubon has had a vision to recreate wetlands on this site for twenty years. See the article from the one-time Goleta Valley Voice from July 1998 (click on image at right). When the board was discussing how Audubon could have more of a “presence” in the community, the idea was raised for a sign or bench at the North Campus Open Space. The author contacted Lisa Stratton, the ecologist heading the restoration planning and implementation of the project for CCBER, and learned that they had established an endowment fund to manage the property after the restoration installation is completed. For $50,000 we could have a bench named.
The map below (click on it to enlarge) shows potential bench sites, and the circle with the dark center will be the Audubon Overlook, with a bench listing donors, and a sign acknowledging Santa Barbara Audubon, and showing some of the bird species likely to be seen from the overlook. Twelve generous Audubon members/couples have jointly contributed or pledged the $50,000 to establish the Audubon Overlook. The pedestrian bridges have recently been installed, and by fall the trails should be completed and the site opened to the public.
We anticipate wonderful bird habitats at the site, and the Audubon Overlook has been selected as a great place to bird watch. We hope you will enjoy walking the trails and bird watching at the North Campus Open Space. If you were able to attend the May 23rd Audubon program presented by Lisa Stratton, you have the latest progress report on the restoration of the site!
Darlene Chirman is President Emerita of Santa Barbara Audubon.