Habitat Management at Arana Gulch

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heritage oak and dense weedy understory

Arana Gulch is an open space located on 67 acres at the eastern border of the City of Santa Cruz. The eastern half of the property features the riparian corridor of Arana Gulch Creek and a tidal wetland where the creek drains into Monterey Bay at the Santa Cruz Harbor. The western half is a remnant of coastal prairie grassland that supports the Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia) (SCT), a federally Threatened and a CA State Endangered species. A steep and narrow intermittent drainage called Hagemann Gulch crosses the property on the western boundary.

Habitat Management Plan

field of tarplantImplementation of the Arana Gulch Master Plan required the City to obtain a coastal development permit (CDP) from the California Coastal Commission (CCC) because a portion of the planning area lies within the designated Coastal Zone. The CDP (3-11-074) includes both standard and special conditions. The Arana Gulch Habitat Management Plan (HMP) was developed to satisfy the special conditions of the CDP. The purpose of the HMP is to provide for the restoration, enhancement, and long-term management of the Arana Gulch habitat Management Areas as self-sustaining and functioning habitats in perpetuity.

The Management Areas include: the Coastal Prairie/Tarplant Management Area, the Arana Gulch Riparian and Wetland Management Area, and the Hagemann Gulch Riparian Woodland Management Area.

Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG)

The HMP describes an Adaptive Management framework to guide the process of improving habitat conditions at Arana Gulch. The adaptive management framework recognizes that effective resource management and land-use decision-making requires sound scientific information.The Adaptive Management Working Group (AMWG) has a central role in the framework to guide the City on the implementation of HMP activities; The working group serves at the pleasure of the City with the approval of the Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission.

Establishment of the Arana Gulch AMWG has been conducted by the City of Santa Cruz to meet the first requirement of the CDP special conditions. It is comprised of a group of cooperative and committed stakeholders interested in the outcomes of decision-making and in the technical process of managing target conservation resources.  The initial composition has been approved by the CCC Executive Director. The City of Santa Cruz has allocated funding to support implementation of the HMP.


Voting members:

Susan Bainbridge, Researcher, University and Jepson Herbaria
Monica Oey, Biologist, CA F&W
Mark Ogonowski, Biologist, US F&W
Kate Huckelbridge, Ecologist, CA Coastal Commission
Grey Hayes, Consultant CA Native Plant Society 
Kathy Lyons, Biologist, Biotic Resources Group

Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

City Staff:

Noah Downing, Park and Recreation Dept.Mike Ferry, Planning Dept.                                                                                                                          

Mauro Garcia, Parks and Recreation Dept.

CA Coastal Commission (non-voting member):

Susan Craig, Supervising Coastal Planner
John Dixon, Ecologist

Alternate Member:

Suzanne Schettler, Revegetation Specialist, Greening & Assoc. 


                        more milo in grass


  • Implement the Arana Gulch Weed Management Plan in the coastal prairie areas.


  • Remove ivy along the Marsh Vista Trail.


The cattle have been removed for the remainder of the year and will return in February 2018.

Informational Brochure: Grazing Brochure for Arana Gulch

Newspaper Article: Grazing_cows_return_to_Arana_Gulch_to_help_endangered_tarplant




AMWG Meeting Agenda- April 2013

AMWG Meeting Minutes - April 2013

AMWG Meeting Agenda - July 2013 

AMWG Meeting Minutes - March 2014

AMWG Meeting Minutes - July 2014

AMWG Meeting Minutes - November 4, 2014

AMWG Meeting Agenda-January 28, 2015

AMWG Meeting Minutes--January 28, 2015

AMWG Meeting Agenda--April 15, 2015

AMWG Meeting Minutes--April 15, 2015

AMWG Meeting Agenda--November 10, 2015

AMWG Meeting Minutes, November 10, 2015

AMWG Meeting Minutes, March 14, 2016

AMWG Minutes August 29 2018


2017 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report - Appendices

2016 Annual Report 

Santa Cruz Tarplant Seedbank Analysis 

2015 Annual Report 

2014 Annual Report

Arana Gulch Prairie Invasive Weed Work Plan, Final 7-20-15

Arana Tarplant photos

Arana wildlife survey results

Arana Coastal Development Permit

MOU with CDF

Arana Spring Baseline Assessment - Spring 2014

Appendix A Baseline Study

Coastal Prairie Baseline Assessment- Summer 2013

Coastal Prairie Baseline Assessment Photos

Arana Gulch Watershed and Stormwater Program Implementation Report: http://wri.csusb.edu/documents/AmberSchat_FinalReport_28Feb2014.pdf

Arana Gulch Watershed Enhancement Plan: http://wri.csusb.edu/documents/AmberSchat_FinalReport_28Feb2014.pdf


Arana Adaptive Habitat Management Plan

Addendum to Final EIR Issued on June 6, 2006

Addendum to Final EIR Issued on July 10, 2006



More information can be found here.

Contact us at parksandrec@cityofsantacruz.com

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