It has taken a village to restore Redwood Grove.
After yearlong participation by multiple local groups, the initial removal of non-native and invasive plants in the park is completed and fresh plantings are under way to restore the 5.9-acre nature preserve on University Avenue.
“It was a community effort and almost all of the work has been done by volunteers,” said Junko Bryant, Redwood Grove restoration director at Acterra, a non-profit environmental education and action organization. “Redwood Grove is a wonderful environmental resource conveniently showcasing multiple ecosystems.”
Approximately 677 volunteers worked 1,682 hours on the restoration effort, Bryant said at a presentation to the Los Altos City Council Nov. 9. Neighbors, service clubs, students and local business, church and alumni groups participated in the effort.
In September 2009, councilmembers approved a 13-month service agreement for an estimated $50,400 with Acterra for habitat restoration and land stewardship services at Redwood Grove. The agreement has been extended to June 2011, so the effort will continue.
Purchased in 1974, the open-space preserve suffered from dense growth of non-native, invasive plants due to lack of maintenance, according to Los Altos city staff members.
A park revitalization plan led by Acterra representatives centered around plantings under the redwood trees, removing invasive plants, installing native plants, improving soil conditions, monitoring restored areas for health and creating habitat for wildlife, such as bird houses and native bee boxes.
“Approximately 592 native plants have been installed,” Bryant said.
The plantings, native to the local area, include sword fern, thimbleberry, snowberry, wood rose, alumroot and woodland strawberry, she added. Before the planting, however, invasive and poisonous plants needed to be removed.
“Poison hemlock was removed from the picnic area, 18,000 square-feet of ivy has been cleared and 80 trees have been freed of ivy,” Bryant said.
The subecosystems in the preserve, the redwood, oak woodland, riparian and grassland ecosystems and plants of the Ohlone people are under restoration, she added.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District contributed a $45,571 grant used for restoration of the bridge and Adobe Creek, which flows through the preserve.
Future restoration will include ongoing monitoring and maintenance, replanting new areas, installing barn-owl nesting boxes, developing plans for meadow restoration and establishing additional native Ohlone Indian plants.
An educational kiosk will post visitor information.
Educational and outreach efforts will continue through high school group partnerships for Adopt-a-Plot and Young Earth Stewards programs. Fundraising for new plants and programs will be ongoing.
For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit www.acterra.org.