Native habitat restoration begins with herbicide application

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Elizabeth Howard, Manager, Younger Lagoon Reserve, and Dan Blunk, Environmental Programs Manager, UC Santa Cruz Environmental Health and Safety

The UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves and UC Santa Cruz Grounds Services will conduct herbicide applications at Younger Lagoon Reserve beginning Monday, March 9, 2015 (weather permitting).  This herbicide application is intended to reduce non-native invasive plant cover in advance of native habitat restoration plantings.   

Spraying operations will be performed by hand with backpack and power sprayers.  Crews will be starting at approximately 8 a.m. each day to avoid wind that may pick up later in the day.  The areas that will be sprayed include selected patches of non-native annual grasses and forbs along the southern end of the YLR Terrace Lands adjacent to the  UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab and Seymour Marine Discovery Center.  These weeds are notoriously difficult to control with mechanical methods, making herbicide application an appropriate option.  The herbicide we will be using is Glyphosate Pro.  Spraying operations will be conducted over the next several weeks, as weather permits.  

In order for a spray to occur, the following climatic criteria must be met:   

  • The ground must be free of standing water in the area targeted for spraying.
  • One day post application National Weather Service forecast must predict a chance of rain no greater than 20 percent.
  • Conditions must be calm (not windy) at time of spray.

Trained and licensed operators will do all spraying in strict conformance with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner, UCSC’s Environmental Health and Safety Office, and the manufacturer’s recommendations. Anyone interested in either the product label or the Material Data Safety Sheets for this product can obtain a copy at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, the Center for Ocean Health, or online (

This work is part of ongoing native habitat restoration activities described in the Specific Resource Plan Phase 1 Enhancement and Protection of Terrace Lands at Younger Lagoon Reserve, which was approved by the California Coastal Commission in September 2010.  The restoration is required as part of UCSC’s Coastal Long Range Development Plan for the Marine Science Campus, which was certified by the California Coastal Commission in January 2009.  The Coastal Long Range Development Plan is a comprehensive physical development and land use plan that governs development, land use and resource protection at the Marine Science Campus, including Younger Lagoon Reserve.
Younger Lagoon Reserve was established in 1987, as one of the 36 reserves that make up the University of California Natural Reserve System of protected natural lands available for university-level instruction, research, and public outreach.  Under UCSC’s Coastal Long Range Development Plan for the Marine Science Campus, all “natural areas” outside of the Campus Development Zone on the MSC were to be incorporated into Younger Lagoon Reserve, restored, and preserved in perpetuity. The approximately 47 acres of natural areas (Younger Lagoon Reserve Terrace Lands) were incorporated into Younger Lagoon Reserve in July 2008, bringing the size of the reserve to approximately 72 acres.

Restoration of the Younger Lagoon Reserve Terrace Lands will take place over the next 20 years under the guidance of a Scientific Advisory Committee made up of restoration practitioners and academics. The goal of restoration efforts on the Terrace Lands is to create a mosaic of habitats that provide substantial ecosystem services including the preservation of biodiversity, habitat for special status species, and buffering of stormwater runoff.  These habitats include coastal bluff, coastal prairie, seasonal wetlands, forested wetlands and grasslands.  Additionally, because the site is a UC Natural Reserve, research focused on restoration and native flora and fauna will provide opportunities to guide future restoration in similar habitats and provide educational and outreach material for Reserve users.

More information is available from:
Elizabeth Howard, Manager, Younger Lagoon Reserve
(831) 459-2455

Environmental Health and Safety Information:
Dan Blunk, Environmental Programs Manager, UC Santa Cruz Environmental Health and Safety
(831) 459-3541