Morro Coast Audubon Society has received a $23,735 grant to fund its restoration work at the Sweet Springs East nature preserve in Los Osos.
The restoration project calls for the removal of non-native plants in order to improve the site’s value as a wildlife habitat. The project has sparked controversy because it includes the removal of 120 large eucalyptus trees.
Because it is an important stop for migratory birds along the Pacific Flyway, the site is considered ecologically important. The project’s goal is to restore a diverse coastal scrub plant community.
The plan includes participation by the Grizzly Youth Academy, a residential program for at-risk high school students who struggle with academic or behavioral issues, many coming from low-income and ethnic minority families. During three outings, a platoon of 50 academy cadets will assist with the removal of invasive vegetation and the planting of native plants.
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The grant came from the TogetherGreen program, a cooperative effort of Toyota and the National Audubon Society. The program “provides financial support for projects that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in conservation and tackle pressing conservation problems,” according to program organizers.