Are you interested in vegetation sampling? Do you have a favorite plant community, alliance or association? Then please contact Melissa Mooney, chair of the newly-enlivened Vegetation/Plant Communities committee of our SLO Chapter (email: email@example.com). We’ve been in touch with Julie Evens and Jennifer Buck of the State CNPS Vegetation Program, and will be coordinating with the folks in the East Bay Chapter who are doing similar work. First order of business will be to prioritize what communities need focus for possible assessment and mapping and lay out our goals. Serpentine communities? Morro manzanita maritime chaparral? Valley Oak Savanna? Get those ideas coming and lets do some sampling!
ANNOUNCING THE CNPS 2018 CONSERVATION CONFERENCE – SAVE THE DATE!
WHO: Over 1,000 attendees from California and beyond.
WHAT: Two days of pre-conference workshops and field trips and three days of scientific sessions, keynote speakers, social and arts events, and more.
WHERE: Los Angeles Airport Marriott, 5855 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90045, www.marriott.com/LAXAP
WHEN: Thursday, February 1, through Saturday, February 3, 2018 (pre-conference workshops & field trips January 30-31)
WHY: Whether your career centers around natural resources or you just love native plants, the CNPS Conservation Conference will have something for you. From professional skills training and scientific sessions to field trips and special events, you will have many opportunities to connect with like-minded others, while learning about current research and trends, and contributing to future plans for California’s native plants and natural habitats.
Stay tuned for details! Everything you need to know about this conference is posted at http://conference.cnps.org. Register now!
SEE YOU THERE!
PROPOSED CLIMATE CHANGE WORKING GROUP
David Chipping (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The CNPS Chapter Council elected to explore how we might deal with issues associated with climate change, and a statewide working group is starting up with me as Chair. One thing I would love to do is to make SLO Chapter a ‘test bed’ for different approaches to the problem. I invite anyone interested to contact me and share their views.
To kick things off I see the following key issues for our consideration:
- What do climate models say about the most likely changes in climate that might reasonably be expected?
- Looking at our plant species and vegetation, where are the greatest risks given the expected climate change, in terms of many changes that might be expected. Use some existing methodology for assessing and ranking multiple risk factors.
- 3) Start doing vulnerability analyses of CNPS listed plants in our chapter area. This will include seeing what happened during the extreme stressor of the drought we have just experienced.
- Gain better knowledge of existing trends, including initiating plant surveys and gaining information on historic population distribution. Lots of field trips and field work here. We would work at the individual species and the grosser level of ‘vegetation’.
- Examine what our chapter would recommend regarding future CNPS actions and policies. For example, would we support “assisted migration” in which a plant at risk of extirpation would be transplanted into areas it has never historically occupied?
Do we, after assessing that there are too many variables that could affect future conditions, throw up our hands and leave it to Darwin to sort out?
OCTOBER SEED EXCHANGE – Marti Rutherford
The seed exchange is back. The workshop time slot (6.00-7.15) before the October meeting is reserved for our second seed exchange. So think seed collection. There will be a few minor differences. There has been a request to provide a picture of the plant that the seeds will become. This will help those who might not be familiar with the names choose plants they want to try. Our chapter will supply seed envelopes so we will be asking those bringing seeds to just bring a bulk collection of cleaned seeds labelled with genus and species, where and when it was collected and a picture. There is no need to spend your time separating into little envelopes.
The seed exchange is an opportunity to share seeds from native plants which are growing in your landscape. We will not sell seed. Do remember the legal issues of seed collection. It is illegal to collect seed from private property and public spaces without permission. If you happen to have access to rare plant seed DO NOT collect it. That seed should be reserved for seed banks and those with the skills to nurture the plant to maturity.
Keep in mind that a collection of plants grown from seed has more genetic diversity than plants grown from cuttings. Depending upon what your goal is that may be a positive point. But garden grown plant seed is not ideal for restoration planting. One would want the more pure genetics of a wild population to use for restoration. Plants grown from seed might not be like the parent plant.
There is an article on our website under resources that has information on seed collection and cleaning (link). You might find it helpful. Find it under Resources, Growing Natives, Seed Collection and Saving for the Casual Gardener.
The New CNPS Southern California Conservation Analyst position
CNPS is the voice for the preservation of California’s native flora. Many times, CNPS is the only party at the table negotiating for native plants and their places; too often, that seat is left vacant due to the fact that we have limited capacity to take on all the important conservation battles. Now, as the pace and scale of change across California increases and Federal dynamics become more challenging, it is even more critical to maintain a strong voice for native plant conservation. We need to increase our capacity to do so, and Southern California is the first place to start.
Recently CNPS received a generous bequest from Elizabeth C. Schwartz that is providing the opportunity to increase our conservation efforts. Others are making donations to match Elizabeth’s gift, so that CNPS can expand conservation staffing to better serve SoCal. This new CNPS Southern California Conservation Analyst position will support SoCal CNPS Chapters and conservation volunteers, helping grow their capacity to engage in important local conservation work. They will also engage in strategic work when plant conservation needs span multiple CNPS Chapters, advancing CNPS conservation policies, bringing together partners, and acting as CNPS’s lead representative in these regional
initiatives and processes.
It is important that this position be ongoing, since conservation success often require years of dedication and persistence. You and your Chapter can help secure the future of plant conservation in Southern California by pledging your support today. Your help will ensure that plant science and sound conservation advocacy are at the table when desert lands are at risk, when OHV routes are analyzed, where forest and grassland management is in question, and when conservation opportunities need someone there, time and again, to let decision-makers know the importance and uniqueness of the flora. Please, consider making a gift to support the SoCal conservation position; share your thoughts
with CNPS staff and your chapter leadership; and most importantly please lend your voice when important, urgent conservation issues come to your attention. Thank you in advance for your help.
Another summer has passed, and there are a few clouds on the horizon.
- The Froom Ranch project is of great concern, as it impacts Chorro Creek Bog Thistle, wetlands, and violates City policy regarding the maximum elevation for development.
- The Las Pilitas quarry project appears to be coming up again now that the political balance on the Board of Supervisors has changed, but we don’t know what changes will be proposed to justify resubmission.
- The Eagle Ranch development in Atascadero seems to have taken a step backward based on financial issues with the City, but we have no specific details.
- The Avila Ranch Project in southern San Luis Obispo does not have any apparent impact on native plants.
- We have protested any changes to Carrizo Plain National Monument.
– David Chipping
OH MY GAWD!
This is an exact quote from a CNPS member on seeing the super-bloom on the Carrizo Plain. Below is Marlin Harms’ picture of our ﬁeld trip. While national press has focussed on the wonderful color in the Temblors, there are great ﬂower displays on the west side of Caliente Mt., including the largest displays of desert candle I have ever seen. Color seekers might consider the trail through the wooden gate just north of the corrals where the road comes closest to the hills after passing Wallace Creek.
April Field Trip to the Carrizo Plain. Photo by Marlin Harms.
Desert candles on the west side of Caliente Mt. Photo by David Chipping.
If you are going to see the bloom in the Carrizo Plain, go quickly. The bloom is still increasing as this goes to press in mid-April, but hot days will take a fast toll. With luck the colors will hold through the ﬁrst couple of weeks in May. There is a lot of yellow, so there are a few pages from the downloadable Plants of the Carrizo Plain, available on our chapter web site.
Places on the Carrizo Plain worth visiting
(1) Belmont Trail, the ﬁrst paved cross street south of the California Valley ﬁre station. About a mile after pavement ends is an area of vernal pools. Continue east, crossing 7 Mile road and ending on Elkhorn Road.
(2) Go south on Elkhorn Rd., pass under the large PG&E power lines, pass the Wallace Creek San Andreas fault site until the road turns east right up to the edge of the steep Temblor Range. This is where the “big color” is that has attracted international attention.
(3) Continue south to Hurricane Rd., and drive east up to the top of the Temblor Range (high clearance recommended). The bluepurple colors are Phacelia and the orange Mentzelia. A redder purple is Eremalche. Yellows are the two Monolopias and Leptosyne.
(4) return to Elkhorn Rd. return past Wallace Creek, under the power lines again and turn west on Simmler Rd. Many of the species of the Temblors are here plus blue Delphinium and Lasthenia. Cross the south end of Soda Lake.
(5) Reach paved Soda Lake Rd., go south to visitor center.
(6) explore southward along Soda Lake Rd. or (7) drive to the top of Caliente Mt, next road (dirt) south of visitor center. (high clearance strongly recommended).
(8) From summit continue west past the avionics tower a couple of miles, before returning. This is a “don’t miss” mass of color and one of the largest displays of Desert Candle ever seen.
Don’t be just a ‘big color’ person. It is likely that there will be a lot of later ﬂowering species through the summer and into the fall.
Conservation News by David Chipping
Against what earlier seemed to be against all odds and to our grateful surprise, the Board of Supervisors approved the Oak Protection Ordinance. CNPS really called out the troops, with Holly Slettland mounting a support petition that gained over 1,000 signatures. We had help from Janet Cobb, of the California Wildlife Foundation, other out-of-the-area conservation organizations, the Sierra Club, Audubon, and a host of others. We and the trees thank everyone, and a shout-out to all you good CNPS members that either wrote a letter or testified at the meeting.
In other news we wrote a comment letter on the EIR for the Eagle Ranch development in Atascadero. This takes ranch land to the southwest of the city, and adds several hundred houses. The number of units has been vested by the original E.G. Lewis tract maps from the early days of Atascadero, and the issue is placement with the least environmental damage. We expressed concern over serpentine endemics and riparian setbacks.