Scorpion Rock is roughly 1.5 acres in size and is located off the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island. It is home to seven species of nesting seabirds. The rock has been taken over almost completely by non-native plants and until recently there has not been enough suitable nesting habitat for seabirds. MSRP biologists have been working tirelessly to restore Scorpion Rock by removing non-native plants by hand and planting native plants with the help of many volunteers.
Prior to outplanting on the rock, biologists removed Crystalline Iceplant from roughly 20% of the rock, placed erosion control material over the bare areas, and developed a method for delivering water to new plants. In 2008, 35 volunteers helped biologists plant over 2,000 native plants during the first outplanting. This was an amazing feat given the steep terrain and the fact that there is not a landing dock for boats pulling up to the rock. People and supplies were brought over by small motor boats. Setting up the watering system involved carrying 17 barrel drums that hold 55 gallons of water each. A firehose stretched from a supply boat was used to fill the drums.
Survival of the new plants is 60% which is good for the low rainfall that this area receives and the poor soil conditions on Scorpion Rock. Several of the native plants that were placed in the ground last year, including Giant Coreopsis, were established enough this first year to flower and seed.
Biologists are currently monitoring numbers of Cassin's Auklets on Scorpion Rock and preparing for this year's outplanting.
Efforts will be doubled in 2009 with 3,000 to 4,000 plants being prepared for the Fall outplanting. Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute, a non-profit organization, partners with the National Park Service to manage all plant production at a nursery facility located in the central valley of Santa Cruz Island.