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COASTAL GRASSLAND ASSESSMENT
A 2007 coastal grassland assessment by local consulting botanists identied much o the grasslandarea o the Preserve as coastal prairie. Coastal prairie is a perennial-grass dominated community with at least 10-15% relative cover o native grasses and orbs. Some o the native plant speciesound on the Preserve include: Caliornia oatgrass, purple needlegrass, tuted hairgrass, june-grass, lupine, harlequin lotus, early blue violet, Douglas’s iris, and Caliornia blackberry. Teseplant species persist among non-native annual and perennial grasses and orbs that arrived inthe area some years ago.
CATTLE GRAZING FOR COASTAL PRAIRIE ENHANCEMENT
Coastal grassland systems are threatened by shrub and tree encroachment, invasion and domi-nance by non-native annual and perennial grasses, and habitat loss due to housing development.Management activities such as mowing, grazing and prescribed burning can mimic benecialdisturbance regimes, control brush encroachment and the negative impacts o non-native speciesas well as promote native species. Grazing is oten the most economical, practical and reliablemethod or managing grasslands at a large scale.Drawing on previous research across Caliornia grassland ecosystems, SL is working under theassumption that livestock grazing will benet native fora ound in the Estero grasslands by reducing the biomass and cover o exotic grasses, such as wild oats and brome grasses. Centralto this management assumption is that native species are limited by competition with exoticgrasses, and that properly-timed grazing will decrease exotic grass cover and biomass and cor-respondingly increase the abundance o native species.
Douglas’s iris; blue wildrye; harlequin lotus. Photos by Shanti Wright.The Estero Americano. Photo by Stephen Joseph Photography.