Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Gaviota Is Worth Protecting

Reposted from the Santa Maria Times:

Mike Lunsford/Commentary | Posted: Friday, November 13, 2009 11:00 pm

In a long, complicated project like preserving the Gaviota Coast, it’s a good idea to occasionally step back and remind ourselves why we bother. What’s so important about the Gaviota Coast anyway?

As a consequence of its inconvenient remoteness and its mixture of natural landscapes and agricultural uses, the Gaviota Coast was spared the wholesale change visited on so much of coastal Southern California. That was a very fortunate thing. As it turns out, the Gaviota Coast lies within a globally recognized zone of biological transition where important ecological interactions between terrestrial and coastal-marine environments occur.

The fact that so many southern species reach their northern limits and northern species reach their southern limits on the Gaviota Coast make it nationally significant. Furthermore, its many intact habitat types harbor the highest density of imperiled species in the nation, making it a safe haven for those species and a kind of biodiversity bank for the region.

And so it is with this backdrop that we celebrate two recent milestones in local stewardship of this important place.

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