UC Santa Barbara worked with our funding partners, the State Coastal Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Natural Resources Agency (Urban Greening Program), the Department of Water Resources (Urban Streams Program), the Ocean Protection Council, Wildlife Conservation Board, State Parks, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Cap and Trade funds and Proposition 1), to restore the former Ocean Meadows golf course to its natural state. In 2013,The Trust for Public Land purchased 64 acres of the former golf course with $7 million of grant funding from several federal, state, and local agencies, and subsequently gifted the property to The Regents of the University of California The property, currently known as North Campus Open Space (NCOS) is being restored and managed by UC Santa Barbara's Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (Cheadle Center).
Project planning for the open space was based on both community values and scientific data. A community-based planning process conducted in 2013-14 with the Trust for Public Land identified the community’s desire for a naturalistic, simple public access program that supports wildlife viewing opportunities. Additional public meetings in 2015 incorporated the community in the planning process for the restoration portion of the project. UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (Cheadle Center) conducted preliminary research that provided guidance on such things as local plants, soil types, and habitat creation for the land’s final restoration plan synthesized by a consulting firm (ESA).
NCOS includes 2.25 miles of trails and boardwalks which traverse the 136 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats and connects the community to several existing preserved properties including the City of Goleta’s Sperling Preserve at Ellwood Mesa and Coal Oil Point Reserve. It is widely used for teaching, research, and nature connection for students of all ages.