To the west, eucalyptus woodlands welcome migrating monarch butterflies at both the Land Trust’s Coronado Butterfly Preserve and the Goleta Butterfly Preserve at Ellwood Mesa, while intact coastal dunes to the south provide nesting grounds for the threatened snowy plover. Riparian habitat and willow woodlands spring up to the north and east. The UCSB North Campus Open Space (NCOS) hasn’t always been so welcoming, it was subject first to oil development in the early 1900s, and then to topsoil removal in the mid-1900s when the nearby golf course was created. Invasive species, such as Pampas grass, have invaded since then. Even so, the untouched portions persevered and the 68-acre property still has much to offer. In 2007, as part of an application to the California Coastal Commission to build new faculty and staff housing, the University agreed to permanently protect the south parcel as natural open space. In 2010, the Land Trust and the University negotiated a conservation easement allowing only the property to be used and improved only for natural resource management, restoration and passive recreational use.
Plans for the NCOS include restoration of native wetland and riparian grassland, coastal scrub habitat, plus improved public trails and interpretive signs. Because the NCOS is bordered by the Coal Oil Point Reserve, Devereux Slough, and Ellwood Mesa, it serves as a local conservation keystone, connecting various open space areas under different ownership and jurisdictions. By linking all of these properties, protection of the NCOS will create a continuous open space totaling over 650 acres. The UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) is making plans to revive the natural habitat of degraded areas of the NCOS. With mitigation funds and other grants, CCBER and the Land Trust will work together to remove invasive species, enhance the existing wetlands, and collaborate with neighboring properties on a long-term management plan. If you are interested in maps and “before” photos of the NCOS, you can take a look at a PDF of our baseline report.
Visiting the North Campus Open Space
The site is located north of Coal Oil Point Reserve and southwest of Ocean Meadows Golf Course and is best accessed by trail from adjacent public open spaces.