Conservation May 2011

Conservation May 2011

Carrizo Projects

CNPS testified at the first Planning Commission hearing on the Topaz Solar Plant that we would prefer the plant to be moved as far to the northwest as possible into existing ploughed fields, giving better protection to grassland areas closer to California Valley and the National Monument. We are unfortunately getting opposition from agriculturalists who wish to keep the Williamson Act-protected plough land from being converted.

Weed Control

In the last newsletter I had asked for help from any certified herbicide applicators that could help us perform weed control in our vastly underfunded public lands. None were forthcoming, and so I will now ask for any people who might be willing to shovel, hoe and rake to protect native plants. I will be working with California State Parks as they have expressed a willingness to work with CNPS on this issue. Projects I have in mind are the protection of wildflower populations though veldt grass and long leaf ice plant control in the Butte Drive area of Montana de Oro and the Powell Addition to Morro Bay State Park. There is also cape ivy that can be raked out of the understory in Los Osos Oaks. I am sure some of you may have some other projects in mind. I will set up a field trip to take any interested people to look at these projects. Please contact me if you are interested in adopting some small patch in wildflowers and saving them for future generations.

California EPA

State Senator Canella is proposing a bill (SB 241) that will essentially gut the California Environmental Policy Act. CNPS urges you to contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to withdraw any support he might have for this bill. Blakeslee was one of the five state Republicans who bravely broke away from the main Republican block to attempt a budget negotiation with Governor Brown, but unfortunately he brought some elements of this bill into the bargaining process. The bill is long and you should read it at: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/SB_241/20112012/

The bill prohibits any comments on a project after the official close of comments from being considered by an agency, even if the project was changed. It severely restricts consideration of cumulative impact, massively raises the costs of appeals and eliminates the fair argument standard for preparing an EIR, a fundamental element in the creation of CEQA. It exempts many projects and weakens enforcement to an extreme degree. There is more. You can contact Senator Blakeslee via his web page http://cssrc.us/web/15/contact_me.aspx

— David Chipping

Guidetti Ranch

Saturday, May 21, 2011 9:00 am

Led by Neil Havlik, Natural Resources Manager at City of SLO.

This field trip for CNPS members is limited to twenty people, on a first come first served basis.

This hike is 7 miles round trip and takes about 4 hours.

We will meet at Foods For Less parking lot, at the corner of South Higuera and Suburban Road, near the US Bank building at 9 a.m., and then drive together to the Guidetti Ranch.

We will be looking for the Indian Knob mountain balm, Eriodictyon altissimum, among other plants.

Bring lunch, water, sun protection, dress in layers, and have good walking shoes. Be sure to bring your copy of Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo, California.

Sign up by calling Bill Waycott at (805) 459-2103 or emailing him at: bill.waycott@gmail.com.

Bishop Peak + Felsman Loop

Bishop Peak + Felsman Loop

Saturday, May 7, 9:00 a.m.

Bishop Peak including Felsman Loop

Come celebrate Mothers Day weekend with a walk through the plant communities that inhabit one of our most popular Morros, Bishop Peak.

Start on the north side passing through oak woodland and grasslands with views of the city to the north, then transition to the south side passing through a diverse and attractive chaparral landscape with views of Laguna Lake and the Irish Hills.  Total distance is 6 miles taking roughly 3.5 hours.

Meet at the trailhead on the west side of Patricia Drive in San Luis Obispo, between Patricia Court and Anacapa Circle.

Bring adequate water, snacks, and dress in layers for the weather; a hat and sturdy shoes are advised.

For info, call Bill at (805) 459-2103, bill.waycott@gmail.com

President’s Message

We had an excellent turnout for our yearly north county meeting, and it was really great to see faces that don’t usually appear at out SLO Meetings. I would be very interested to hear from north county people on what they thought of the program, and what they would like to see next year.

Our next meeting not held in the Vets Hall, but at Shell Creek (field trip information). This is always a fun outing, and it may be a bit more of an adventure as the creek is running high at the moment. I think the wildflowers will be great this year, including those along Highway 58 on the way.

We are going to be present at Earth Day celebrations at the SLO Botanic Garden, so give us a visit. We are always looking for volunteers who would help our boothing regulars.

We will be presenting before the Board of Supervisors the week before California Wildflower Week (third week in April) with a long list of
happenings, which will also be mounted on our web site.

Contact me if you have something in mind for celebrating wildflowers during either that week or the weekends at either end. We are also trying to post stuff like wildflower sightings on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CNPSSLO. — David Chipping

Conservation April 2011

CORRECTION: In the last Conservation post of the solar project that adjoins Belmont Trail and which lies closest to the Temblor Range I mistakenly named the developer as First Solar, instead of SunPower. CNPS is also commenting on First Solar’s project, which is further north and to the west.

SunPower project

I regret to say that the Planning Commission seemed to have ignored CNPS concerns with the SunPower project’s impacts to flower fields, and approved the project by unanimous vote. We had asked that some definite conservation actions such as offsite mitigation funding be set up prior to approving the project, as the EIR assigns Class II impacts (impacts that can be mitigated) only if additional steps are taken. We have concerns that the Board of Supervisors might be equally dismissive of biological impacts on the basis of an overriding consideration that solar power and carbon reductions trump local effects. We do not have the same problems with the First Solar/ Topaz project, where impacts to flora are much less evident.

Pismo Beach and the Godfrey Ranch

In another problematic move, the City of Pismo Beach is changing the area that they are considering for annexation in the Price Canyon area, removing the Spanish Springs North Ranch property which is northwest of the highway, and adding the Godfrey Ranch which lies southwest of the Spanish Springs South Ranch, and is west of the western end of Vetter Lane. The Godfrey ranch is essentially undeveloped grasslands with scattered oaks and would appear to be prime habitat for Pismo clarkia. To develop this property, which is remote from the core of Pismo Beach, would be the epitome of urban sprawl. One would imagine that this property would also require an additional water source.

Weed Control

As state and federal agencies get poorer, it looks like conservation actions such as noxious weed removal are being ignored. I would be interested in seeing if there are any certified herbicide applicators within our chapter who could be called upon in the event that CNPS could take
over some weed control from certain agencies under an MOU of some sort. I would also ask any agency people who are reading this to contact me if they think CNPS and the agency could work together on certain weed removal projects. — David Chipping

La Purisima/Burton Mesa Wildflower Walk

La Purisima/Burton Mesa Wildflower Walk

Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m.

CNPS and Sierra Club Spring La Purisima Burton Mesa Wildflower Walk

Meet at the La Purisima Mission Parking Lot, corner of Purisima and Mission Gate Roads. (2295 Purisima Road, Lompoc) at 9 a.m. for this annual spring tour of the beauties of the Burton Mesa Chaparral. Optional afternoon tour.

Sturdy shoes, lunch & liquids, camera and binoculars advised.

For more information, call Charlie at (805) 733-3189.

Chimineas Field Trip

Wednesday, April 6

Chimineas is a Dept. of Fish and Game Ecological Reserve in southeast SLO County with wonderful wilderness and wildflowers.

Meet:

  • To car caravan from SLO, meet at the Vet’s Hall (Grand at Monterey), at 8:30 am on Wednesday, April 6.
  • At Chimineas meet at 10:00 am at the Feed Lot pull out, on the north side of Hwy 166, 33 1/4 miles east of Hwy 101, 1/4 mile east of Miranda Canyon Rd.

Bring: the usual water, food, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and clothes for the weather.

This is an all day trip. Roads are dirt, a little rough but passable; trucks are good; small sedans not recommended. Rain cancels to the following Wednesday.

Contact: George, (805) 438-3641, or gbutterworth8@gmail.com.

Figueroa Mountain

Figueroa Mountain

Saturday, April 16, 9:00 a.m.

LPNF and CNPS Wildflower, Native Plant Week, and Earth Day Weekend at the Figueroa Fire Station

The Santa Lucia District, Los Padres National Forest will hold one of its annual Wildflower Weekends on Figueroa Mountain in conjunction with the California Native Plant Society. This tour will start a local celebration of the first California Native Plant Week (3rd week in April, the 16th to 23rd this year).

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Fire Station on Figueroa Mountain Road. Traveling east on SR 154, turn left at the Figueroa Mountain Road intersection near Los Olivos, and proceed to the Fire Station parking lot. This will be a “drive and stroll” tour of this years spectacular display.

Sturdy shoes, lunch and liquids, and camera and binoculars recommended. Call Helen Tarbet at (805) 925-9538 ext. 246 or Charles Blair (805) 733-3189 for details.

Shell Creek

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Annual Malcolm McLeod Memorial Field Trip/Meeting to Shell Creek led by Dirk Walters and David Chipping.

Meet: Saturday, April 2, 2011

  • SLO Vets Hall (801 Grand Ave) at 8:30 am
  • Santa Margarita Park and Ride, on the south side of Hwy 58, just east of Hwy 101, at 9:00 am

Our first stop will be at the Santa Margarita Park to use the bathrooms, there will be no other bathrooms available after that point.

We will then drive east on Hwy 58, about 18.5 miles, and make a left hand turn on to Shell Creek Road. Park there and the group will meet somewhere near the windmill.

We will walk along both sides of Shell Creek Road looking at wildflowers. We will also visit spots with shell fossils, that gives this area its name.

We will meet as a group for lunch somewhere along Shell Creek Road. This will end the morning part of the trip.

In the afternoon some people may wish to explore other spots in the area, while others may want to return to town. Consider the afternoon options when making travel arrangements.

Bring: water, lunch, dress in layers and dont forget your Wildflowers of Highway 58 plant guide by Dr. Malcolm McLeod or plan to purchase one on the trip.

For more information: contact Dirk Walters at dwalters@charter.net, 543-7051, Dave Chipping at dchippin@calpoly.edu, 528-0914, or Bill Waycott at bill.waycott@gmail.com or (805) 459-2103.

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