SDE Feature Class
environment, vegetation, California, biota
The primary objective of this project is to provide a preliminary vegetation classification and detailed vegetation map for the mainstem Santa Clara River riparian corridor and its three major tributaries within Ventura County. This was undertaken to provide baseline data for Santa Clara River Parkway Floodplain Restoration Feasibility Study; identify invasive vegetation for eradication efforts; Facilitate more effective land use planning; improve local wildlife habitat suitability modeling; and advance regional conservation planning
Although the Santa Clara River riparian corridor is relatively intact, flood protection infrastructure, diversions, roads, agriculture, and urbanization have constrained or disrupted natural geomorphic and hydrologic processes, causing riparian and aquatic habitat degradation. While a number of studies and planning efforts have begun on the river to address these issues (e.g., Trustee Council 2002, AMEC 2005, and the Santa Clara River Parkway project), baseline information on existing riparian community types, their extent, and distribution is not available. Since native riparian vegetation provides critical ecosystem services, such as improved flood control and water quality, improved terrestrial and aquatic habitat quality, and increased local biodiversity, managing for healthy riparian vegetation is a central part of river management and restoration. Developing an accurate, current map of riparian vegetation is a crucial first step in river management and restoration planning This project addresses the need for detailed vegetation information in support of conservation and restoration planning efforts on the lower Santa Clara River within Ventura County. Funding for the project was provided through matching grants by the California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) and The Santa Clara River Trustee Council (Trustee Council). The complex and dynamic nature of vegetation communities present within the lower Santa Clara River corridor required modifications to traditional approaches for riparian vegetation mapping; thus, this project utilized a combination of field-based vegetation classification and mapping, and traditional photo-interpretive techniques. One-foot, digital Orthoimagery flown in September 2005 was used as the imagery base. The vegetation classification followed the State of California standard vegetation classification system developed under the auspices of the Vegetation Program of the California Native Plant Society and described in the first edition of A Manual of California Vegetation (Sawyer and Keeler-Wolf 1995), with minor adjustments to match changes being incorporated into the second edition of the Manual, which is currently in preparation (T. Keeler-Wolf, pers. comm., 2005 and 2007).
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