David Court, Jessica Glatzer, Samantha Hard, Kevin Keith, Jennifer McDonald, and Fumitaka Ogushi (2000)
Prioritizing Sites along the Santa Clara River for Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species
Masters thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Santa Clara River is one of the few rivers in southern California where
continuous stretches of riparian habitat persist. Although the expansion of
agriculture and urban development has reduced the extent of riparian habitat, these
areas continue to support a number of threatened and endangered species. As a
result of a 1994 oil spill, a trustee council was formed to appropriate a $7.1 million
settlement for the acquisition and future restoration of land along the Santa Clara
River. The Trustee Council requested our assistance in determining which parcels
of land would be most appropriate for acquisition.
Combining a Geographic Information System (GIS) with a computer-aided
site selection model, we evaluated parcels for the conservation of potential habitat
for eight threatened and endangered species. All the parcels were within the 500-
year floodplain of the Santa Clara River. Criteria used to assess these sites included
the amount and contiguity of habitat, as well as the cost of land.
Based upon an analysis of the model results, we recommended 38 parcels,
clustered in two areas of the river, for purchase. The area of these parcels totaled
approximately 2000 acres. It is hoped that our results and recommendations will
not only provide guidelines for the conservation of riparian habitat along the Santa
Clara River, but will also provide a framework for others faced with the challenge
of prioritizing land for acquisition.