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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden receives USDA grant for conservation in the Cuyama Valley

Vaseline 3 months ago

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will support conservation efforts in the Cuyama Valley thanks to an $818,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The new three-year Equity Agreement will contribute to conservation efforts in the area through soil and water, and will benefit agricultural work with new environments.

“This grant is a wonderful opportunity to implement beneficial conservation measures and prevent the spread of invasive weeds on vacant lands in Cuyama,” said Denise Knapp, Ph.D., the Garden’s director of conservation and research. “Together with our partners, we will be bringing the community together in a number of other ways to really spread the message about the power of native plants in a variety of landscapes.”

The Valley’s high-desert and hyper-rural community still relies on groundwater for all its water use, and in recent decades groundwater in the area has drained faster than it could be restored.

Compliance with the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is now required to return the basin to normal.

This can only be achieved through reduced groundwater use, leaving some land unplanted and reaching acceptable levels.

The overall project will also provide a network of smallholder farmers with additional access to conservation efforts and offer paid internships for six high school students.

Educational materials for K-12 students and native plant demonstration sites will also be part of the program, in partnership with the Cuyama Family Resource Center and Quali Springs Permaculture.

Visit the website for more information about the SB Botanical Garden.