Native plant restoration at Pigeon Point Light Station, Oct 23


By on Fri, October 15, 2010

Join us on Saturday October 23rd from 10AM - 1PM and help revitalize the Pigeon Point Light Station by removing iceplant, a non-native invasive plant species, from the grounds of this State Historic Park. No experience or skills are necessary! You will join both parks staff and dedicated long term volunteers who have been actively removing the iceplant from the grounds and replacing it with native plants.

Iceplant smothers native plants and reduces natural habitat. Native plants increase biodiversity by providing native wildlife with food and shelter. Some native plants are in bloom or seed all year, providing food for insects, birds and small animals. Native plants are also well adapted to mild winters and dry, foggy summers of the coast.

Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872.

Contact Ami at [email protected] or (650) 726-8801 for registration or more information or visit .

The plant restoration project at Pigeon Point Light Station is amazing. The non-native iceplant was planted and left to spread many years ago. Gradually, it smothered the native plants and eliminated or compromised habitat for native birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. A group of volunteers and California State Parks personnel recently began removing the iceplant down to bare dirt. Then they waited to see if any of the native plants would come back. Some did.

The group looked at nearby bluffs with similar exposure to wind and salt air for native plants that seemed to thrive. Members of the group began to collect seed from these plants and grow them in a home-made nursery at Half Moon Bay State Beach. When the seeds sprouted into viable plants, they were transplanted into the now bare spots at Pigeon Point.

This past spring and summer saw some of the results of their work—a riot of color. I saw pink balls of coast buckwheat, yellow blooms of lizard tail, coastal sagewort, California poppy and bush lupine, a maze of white and yellow flowers from coyote brush, purple Douglas’ iris, and a spreading mound of pink “Farewell-to-spring” that took my breath away.

All this is due to the dedication and back-breaking work of many, including coastside volunteers Avis Boutelle, Toni Corelli, Nancy Frost and Linda Hettel. They could use your help on Saturday, Oct. 23, to clear out more of the iceplant invader. Come spring, you’ll be proud you did!

Suzanne Black
California State Parks Volunteer
Docent, Pigeon Point Light Station