Plant & Habitat Restoration
Since 1993, we’ve worked side by side with landowners and volunteers on projects that restore, protect, and improve our natural heritage. We have developed a deep understanding of the Valley and its ecology, and its residents and their concerns. With expertise in native plants and animals and invasive species, and with experience, ready permits, and an ability to secure grants, SEC staff help make watershed projects less costly and move faster for landowners and land managers.
Capabilities & Services
- Full service fish and wildlife habitat restoration for landowners (weed control, erosion control, bank stabilization, native plant installation, irrigation, maintenance)
- Native plant restoration
- Invasive non-native weed eradication
- Native plant production – specializing in local/ watershed-sourced genotypes (seed collection/storage, propagation, growing/transplanting)
- Fish Barrier removal
- Stormwater management/low impact design (Erosion control, sediment filtration, etc.)
- Storm drain retrofitting (energy dissipater, detention basin, geotextile fabric installation).
- Bioengineering (willow revetments, willow mattresses, vegetated swales, etc)
- Erosion control (plants, geotextile, biodegradable fabric/ wattles, etc.)
- Land management (full service – Habitat restoration and management)
- Flood Management
Nathanson Creek Preserve
Working with community experts and students, SEC secured over $2 million in grant funding to design and build this ¾ mile preserve. Nathanson Creek Preserve successfully meets multiple goals: it provides educational opportunities for three nearby schools, serves to assist with stormwater management, and it provides the community with recreational space, while benefiting fish and wildlife through enhanced stream habitat. It is widely used by residents and visitors.
Fryer Creek Restoration
Partnering with the City of Sonoma and the Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Ecology Center has improved this 1960s-era flood control channel so it functions like a natural stream. Fryer Creek still maintains flood control, but it now also has native plants that enhance and restore the stream habitat, improved water quality for fish and wildlife, and a scenic walking path for people.
Sonoma Creek Habitat Restoration
Sonoma Creek is one of the most important streams in the Bay Area because of its native fish and wildlife. SEC staff, partners, and creekside landowners have helped to restore Sonoma Creek over the past 20 years by: removing barriers to native fish migration, improving fish habitat, keeping stream banks and beds from washing away, slowing and filtering stormwater, removing weeds, and planting native plants.
Native Plant Propagation
Native plants are key to a healthy ecosystem: they support and sustain native fish and wildlife, stabilize creek banks, and—because they are adapted to native soils—they have more efficient water uptake and can improve water infiltration for groundwater. Over the last five years, SEC has grown and planted over 25,000 native plants. Read more about native plants and our Native Plant Nursery.
Invasive Weed Removal
After human development, invasive species are the second greatest cause of habitat loss in the world. In addition to displacing native plants and animals, invasives can increase fire risk and harbor pests. SEC staff created the model for eradication of Arundo (a highly invasive weed in Western streams) in California. Read more about invasives and SEC’s work to eliminate them locally.
Mark Newhouser, Restoration Program Manager
BA Environmental Studies, Sonoma State University
Mark has over 20 years of experience in restoration project management, including planning, design, and construction. His completed projects include fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, stormwater management, river parkway development, and preserve management. He is also a natural resource workshop and field school instructor, specializing in invasive weed species ecology and control methodology. For nine years he coordinated Arundo donax eradication efforts throughout the Bay Delta watershed and is a Licensed Contractor and a Licensed Pesticide Applicator.
Cassandra Liu, Restoration Project Manager
BA Environmental Science, UC Berkeley
Cassandra has extensive experience in field research, natural resource management, biological monitoring, and native plant nursery management. She has coordinated restoration projects, conducted vegetation surveys and habitat assessments, generated project maps, served as a biological monitor for ESA-listed species during project construction, and monitored salmonid populations. With extensive experience in environmental stewardship, she is a board member for the Conservation Corps, North Bay and is Chair of the Marin Sonoma Weed Management Area.
Trace McKellips, Restoration Technician
BA Political Science, University of Nebraska
Trace has five years of experience in natural resource management. He has implemented wildlife habitat riparian restoration projects, including invasive weed control, native plant restoration, erosion control and bank stabilization, and has organized community volunteer events. He conducts vegetation surveys, habitat assessments, and benthic macro-invertebrate field research.
- CA Delta Conservancy
- CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife
- CA Dept of Water Resources
- CA Natural Resources Agency
- Center for Ecosystem Management & Restoration
- City of Sonoma
- ESA PWA
- Hanford ARC
- Prunuske Chatham, Inc.
- San Francisco Estuary Project
- Solano Resource Conservation District
- Sonoma County Water Agency
- Sonoma Land Trust
- Sonoma Resource Conservation District
- US Environmental Protection Agency