“Restoring Critical Coastal Dune Habitat at Point Reyes for Threatened and Endangered Species”
guest speaker Lorraine Parsons
Point Reyes National Seashore preserves some of the last remaining high-quality coastal dune habitat in the United States. However, this habitat is threatened by the rapid encroachment of two invasive, non-native plant species: European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) and iceplant (Carpobrotus spp.). Over 70% (1,000 acres) of the park’s dunes are dominated by these species.
The Abbotts Lagoon Coastal Dune Restoration project, initiated in 2011, is restoring natural coastal dune processes and functions in a 300-acre area by removing up to 110 acres of European beachgrass and iceplant. Removal of invasives will not only expand habitat for two endangered plant species, but may improve nesting success of the threatened snowy plover by eliminating predator habitat. In addition, it will improve resilience of the dunes by allowing them to shift in response to changing sea levels and sediment supply.
Lorraine Parsons will discuss implementation and results of this project and other efforts to restore coastal dune ecosystems within the park. Ms. Parsons is currently the Vegetation/Wetland Ecologist at the Seashore and has managed this project as well as the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project. She received an MS in Ecology from San Diego State University and dual BS/BA degrees from the University of Southern California.