The Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy (KCC) has an opportunity to acquire additional lands near and adjacent to the recently purchased 35-acre Shaubac property. The KCC is interested in improving the quality and quantity of this acquisition. At present, this KCC property has a very limited access to the foreshore. As a former Environmental Geoscientist, I practiced as an Eco-Hydrologist in Land Management. It is my opinion and that of other professionals practicing in ecology, that it is critical to provide and protect ‘Green Corridors’ for species habitat. Green Corridors can be defined as an undisturbed track of land originating from highland terrain to lowland areas terminating at a water feature. The corridor improves the migration and range of species for hunting, fishing, nesting and den sites. It provides a more complex and beneficial interaction with the diverse landscape and water features, (rivers, wetlands, and ocean). This results in improving the quality of the conserved area.
The KCC also desires to increase the quantity of land acquisition. Many scientific studies have shown that disturbed areas near or within an ecosystem creates habitat fragmentation, a condition called, ‘Edge Effect’, which increases human/wildlife interaction. Habitat fragmentation occurs when humans disturb an ecosystem with a road or trail. This reduces the potential for natural species migration. Roads and trails can also create a ‘Superhighway’ and increases the potential for a conflict or negative experience between humans and other species. Lastly, the boundary of a protected area is vulnerable to ‘Edge Effect,’ whereas the activities of the adjacent property can negatively affect the ecosystem. For example, clear cutting adjacent to a conserved area can disturb up to 30 meters into the ecosystem and may damage the forest Canopy, understory, or sensitive wetlands in the short or long term. Therefore, increasing the quantity of land will reduce these potential impacts. In addition, increasing the quantity of land will allow KCC to utilize existing disturbed roads and trails to provide public access while still protecting large areas of habitat.
Addressing this opportunity with the rationale of improving the quality and quantity of KCC Shaubac land for species habitat first, and then applying a practical and measured approach for public access will be another successful project and legacy for the KCC.
Allison Tremain B.Sc., KCC Stewardship Director