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Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes, CA

Dune Scrub Habitat Restoration


The Land Conservancy has owned and managed the Black Lake Ecological Area since 2000 and has undertaken a variety of restoration activities on the property. As landowners of the site, we have the ability to implement projects that directly benefit local wildlife, and rare, endemic plants. The property includes Black Lake proper, a unique terminal lake that sits along the edge of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes and is fed by Black Lake Canyon. The property is known for its beautiful wildflowers, stunning vistas, and over-wintering monarch butterflies.

Property Description & General Location

Black Lake Ecological Area is 160 acres and is located west of Highway 1 near Nipomo. It is only accessible by the public via guided hikes by Land Conservancy staff. A portion of the property was once a farm field and is characterized by sandy soils and level ground. The site also contains areas of healthy dune scrub habitat and eucalyptus forest.



To restore and enhance native dune scrub habitat on the old farm field in a phased approach for the benefit of native flora and fauna.


Challenge/ Special Considerations


The old farm field is surrounded by a ring of eucalyptus trees, which are known to inhibit the establishment and growth of other vegetation. This has separated the site from intact dune scrub found on other areas of the site and has inhibited natural plant recruitment and recovery. The current project has faced many additional challenges, including hungry deer and gophers, three years of drought, and questionable irrigation water.


Project Partners & Funders


The Land Conservancy has benefitted from significant community involvement at Black Lake. Individuals and local groups have volunteered thousands of hours of their time over the last 4 years to help plant native shrubs and remove invasive plants. Growing Grounds (part of Transitions Mental Health) has grown amazing plants destined for the site, and have participated in planting events as well. The majority of the funding for this project has been provided by Woodlands Ventures LLC.



  • Identify treatment methodologies
  • Active restoration
  • Adaptive management
  • Conservation or Restoration Tools Used


Mechanical & chemical invasive species treatment

Broadcasting native seed

Outplanting container stock

Scientific monitoring



This project is currently underway. In the last couple years we have realized success with our plantings as we have adapted our techniques to the unique site conditions. When completed, we will have treated 9 acres. The less tangible successes have been realized in the amount of community involvement this site has enjoyed including the hundreds of hours donated by many hard-working volunteers.