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.


  • 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

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, 543-7051, Dave Chipping at, 528-0914, or Bill Waycott at or (805) 459-2103.

Reservoir Canyon and Bowden Ranch

Reservoir Canyon and Bowden Ranch

03/20/2011 Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Reservoir Canyon and Bowden Ranch

Join us for a moderate hike through the lushly wooded Reservoir Canyon located directly behind San Luis Obispo and then over the backbone ridge, ending at San Luis Obispo High School. Plants, animals, and the geology of the area will be topics during the hike. Spring wildflowers will be at their peak and this hike covers some of the best display areas around the city.

Meet at the eastern corner of the SLO High School parking lot near the corner of Johnson Avenue and San Luis Drive. A few cars will ferry the hikers to the trailhead in Reservoir Canyon. Total hike distance is five miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet, and a total hike time of 3 hours. Once completed, drivers with cars parked at the trailhead will be driven back to retrieve their cars.

Bring adequate water, snacks, and dress in layers for the weather; a hat and sturdy shoes are advised. Rain cancels. For info, call Bill at (805) 459-2103 or


Islay Hill

Saturday, March 5, 9 a.m., Visit to Islay Hill, San Luis Obispo, led by John Doyle and Mardi Niles.

Meet at the cul-de-sac area of Sweet Bay Lane in southeast San Luis Obispo at 9:00 a.m. for a three hour walk on Islay Hill. This will be a moderate hike of 1.5 to 2.0 miles and 500 feet elevation gain.

March is an excellent time of year to see many of our blooming natives (Fragaria, Salvia, Fritillaria, Solanum, Sambucus, etc.) and perhaps some unexpected finds, including non-natives.

To reach the trailhead, travel southeast on Orcutt Road from SLO or east on Tank Farm Road until they meet. About 1/4 of a mile after the intersection turn right onto Spanish Oaks Drive then left onto Sweet Bay Lane (about 1/3 of a mile later) and go to the end.

Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and dress in layers. This walk will be held rain or shine. For more information contact either John Dolye (805) 748-7190 or Bill Waycott,, (805) 459-2103.

Burton Mesa/La Purisima

Burton Mesa Chaparral on the La Purisima Mission

Saturday, February 26,  9AM

The California Native Plant Society / Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society will hold their annual winter field trip to the Burton Mesa Chaparral on the La Purisima Mission grounds.

Meet at the east end of Burton Mesa Boulevard in Mission Hills at 9 a.m. for a chance to see the early bloomers and interesting scenery.

To reach Burton Mesa Boulevard, go to SR 1 north of Lompoc.  At the signal where SR 1 turns down hill toward Lompoc, take Harris Grade Road north to Burton Mesa Boulevard, and turn right (east).

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

March Chapter Meeting

March Chapter Meeting

The Carrizo Plains: A Wildflower Wonderland

Speakers are Dr. Dirk Walters and Dr. David Chipping, Emeritus Professors from Cal Poly

Thursday, March 3, 2011, 7 p.m.

The San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will present a slide show and lecture entitled “The Carrizo Plains: A Wildflower Wonderland” on March 3, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Atascadero Association of Retired People building, 7484 Pismo Avenue,#adjacent to the Lake Pavilion, Atascadero, off Morro Road (Hwy 41).

A large selection of natural history and botanical books will be offered for sale. The lecture and slide show are free and open to the public, but arrive early as seating is limited.

Call 441-3777 for more information.