California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

October 2010

Carrizo Plain National Monument Vegetation Project

This past summer, CNPS Vegetation Program staff and partners successfully completed a baseline of vegetation sampling across more than 240,000 acres of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This project is in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The project’s main goal is to provide Monument managers with baseline vegetation data and a detailed map of vegetation types for use in evaluating climate change effects over time. We initiated the project in 2008, with initial funding from DFG to conduct field vegetation surveys. In 2010, BLM provided additional funding and expanded the project to complete baseline vegetation surveys and to produce a fine-scale vegetation map across the Monument. This project also builds on our Grasslands Initiative by enhancing the data available on herbaceous vegetation of the San Joaquin Valley.

During a nine-week period, four CNPS staff conducted over 350 surveys, with additional surveys completed by multiple DFG staff. Surveys also included the establishment of several long-term monitoring plots in a broad range of vegetation communities including herbaceous communities (Amsinckia tessellata, Salvia carduacea), semi-desert shrublands (Atriplex spinifera, Ephedra californica), and woodlands (Juniperus californica, Quercus john-tuckeri).  

With the field sampling wrapped up, we are transitioning to other phases of the project. Currently, CNPS staff is using survey data to establish a hierarchical classification of vegetation in the Monument, which will be used as the basis for the mapping. We have already analyzed a small grassland dataset from a pilot area, in which we will be naming new vegetation types such as Atriplex vallicola–Lasthenia ferrisiae–Lepidium jaredii association, Monolopia stricta association, and Monolopia lanceolata association. Next year, additional staff will delineate the vegetation communities throughout the Monument using GIS technology. The final product will be a fine-scale vegetation community map that will help guide long-term management of resources throughout the Monument, including many rare plants and animals. We look forward to future phases of the project and to being a part of the protection of resources on our public lands.


California Grasslands

At this time of the year, much of California is blanketed by a tawny brown cover of the past year’s dry annual plants.  With the first rains, shoots of green will begin to push up from the soil and soon we’ll see again the woven colors of our state grasslands.  Much needed research and attention is given to learning about the non-native plants that have invaded grassland communities in our valleys and foothills.  However, there is still a lack of understanding about the diversity of native grassland types that occur here.  Many unique grassland habitats remain un-sampled, un-descri bed, and overlooked.

Recent funding through private donations, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), The Nature Conservancy and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has enabled CNPS vegetation staff to focus on describing new grassland communities.  This spring, we collected over 300 new herbaceous surveys in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills, San Joaquin Valley, and Carrizo Plain.  We also revisited 24 surveys in the heat of July to better understand seasonal variation in vegetation.  

This fall, we will be analyzing new and previous data to develop a more comprehensive classification of grassland types. We plan to describe and validate new herbaceous vegetation.  Ultimately, we will be expanding the definition of grasslands to include native forbs as important (and sometimes dominant) plants.  

Over the next two years, funding from NRCS and CNPS will support new surveys on private ranchlands in the Central Valley to examine how plants vary over time, especially annual herbs, by allowing us to revisit and re-sample field sites.  In particular, we intend to identify plants that are characteristically present and persistent in categorizing different grassland types, as well as to identify locations where invasive plants could be specifically managed.  Overall, this project will allow us to better describe, classify and manage grasslands.  

Future actions will involve collaborating with partners to identify, conserve and restore a representation of California grasslands and providing education about the values of grassland habitats. If you want more information about grasslands in California, visit our website here or contact Jennifer Buck-Diaz by email.

A Manual of California, Second Edition Database Project

Upon publishing the new edition of the Manual of California Vegetation last fall, the book is being widely used by agency staff, consulting biologists, planners and natural history lovers – to better understand, represent, conserve and manage the diversity of vegetation types found in our state.  CNPS is now inputting all of the information into a digital database.  Our next step will be to establish a new online version of the Manual, so that people can digitally access the information.  We have some base funds for the project, and we are now seeking contributions from agencies, organizations, and individuals like you.  Having a database and online version will allow everyone to access and utilize the information, and apply the information locally.  We also intend to publish photographs of our state’s diverse vegetation online and through a new picture book to compliment the manual’s voluminous text.  To purchase a copy of the Manual, click here.  If you or your organization is able to currently help support this project, please contact our Executive Director, Tara Hansen.


Funding Opportunity for Grassland Research

Prairie Biotic Reseach, an all-volunteer, Wisconsin nonprofit established in 2000 to foster basic biotic research in prairies and savannas.  They have a competitive Small Grants Program that funds up to $1000 to individuals for the study of any grassland taxon anywhere in the USA.  They support both natural history and experimental science.  Since 2002, they’ve awarded 100 grants worth $94,849 to people in 24 states to study insects, plants, mammals, reptiles, slime molds, mycorrhizal fungi, spiders, snails, amphibians, i nvasive species, and effects of management.
TO APPLY: Visit to download the proposal form, instructions, and a sample researcher agreement form that winners of this competition must sign. The deadline for applications is January 7, 2011.

Fall Workshops

For full details and registration for all workshops go to
Reduced or fee waivers are available for students and under-employed people. Please go to for more information or to apply.

Negotiation Skills for Environmental Problem Solving Nov 17-19, 2010
Instructor: Jim Nelson with special guests
UC Davis

This professional workshop includes three days of classroom exercises and case studies. Environmental negotiations are often more complex than other negotiations due to their technical complexity, regulatory complexity, interest from many parties, and often, the emotional nature of the parties. This workshop presents basic negotiation concepts (e.g., Fisher and Ury’s, “Getting to Yes” series) and specific environmental issue applications. Negotiation simulations and role playing are used to provide a fun and safe way to learn negotiation principles, and . In addition, everyone is encouraged prepare for upcoming (real life) negotiations during this course. This course emphasizes using principled negotiation approaches are emphasized. The attendees are taught to recognize commonly encountered tactics and shown how to develop productive responses. Guest presenters will provide examples of successful negotiations. The skills taught in this class can help many advocates reduce anxiety about negotiating while helping to achieve successful outcomes. Course materials provide useful tools for future negotiations. CNPS Members: $395; Non-Members: $420
Plant Taxonomy Teacher Training
Nov 20-21, 2010
Instructor: Dr. Glenn Keator
Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Park, Berkeley

This course is for people interested in teaching a plant taxonomy course at the junior college or extended education level. Potential teachers should be familiar with California flora and its plant families and have taken one or more semesters of Plant Taxonomy or Systematics. We will not be teaching plant taxonomy in this course but will teach how to teach a course using the syllabus provided by Dr. Glenn Keator. Cost includes lunch. CNPS Members: $100; Non-Members $125

Chapter Events
A Sampling from Around the State

Kern County Chapter
Annual Native Plant Sale 
Saturday, November 6, 9:00AM to 1:00PM
Admission to the plant sale is FREE. 8:00AM-9:00AM early admission for CNPS members. 9:00AM-1:00PM general public.
For more information contact Debby Kroeger. Location: Cal State Bakersfield Environmental Studies Area. CSUB is located at 9001 Stockdale Hwy., Bakersfield, CA. 93311.

Sunday, November 7, 8:30AM
Deer Creek Trail Field Trip
Meet at the Chico Park & Ride west lot (Hwy 32/99) at 8:30 am. Bring lunch, water, and insect/sun protection, and money for ride sharing. This is a gentile two-mile hike down to the falls and fish ladder where we will have lunch. Big leaf maple and dogwood should be in full color along with Indian rhubarb and spicebush. Sierra mint, and California fuschsia should still be in bloom. Leaders Gerry Ingco (530) 893-5123 and We Dempsey (530) 342-2293.
Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00pm
Program: FUEL REDUCTION AT PINE HILL: Cautious Management of a Unique Botanical Resource
Tim Nosal, an Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Game, will discuss management planning for the rare plants of Pine HillClick to review these plants. The unique flora of Pine Hill is in the spotlight as state agencies explore options to protect critical communication infrastructure as well as ensure the survival of several Rare, Threatened and Endangered species, several of which have evolved to depend on fire! Refreshments are served, and you get a chance to mingle and meet interesting new friends. Placerville Library, 345 Fair Lane, Placerville.
 Bristlecone Chapter
 Wednesday, November 17, 6:00PM
CNPS Annual Potluck and General Chapter Meeting
 The November General Meeting of the Bristlecone Chapter is our Annual Holiday Potluck and Slideshow at the White Mountain Research Station dining room. Please bring a dish and/or drinks to share, as well as your own place setting. Also, bring up to 15 of your favorite photos from 2010, and share your stories with the group. We'll have a digital projector and a Mac laptop. White Mountain Research Station (3000 E. Line St., Bishop).
 Riverside/San Bernardino Chapter
 Saturday, November 13, 9 AM to 3 PM
Native Plant Sale
Held at Western Municipal Water District conservation garden, 450 E. Alessandro Boulevard, Riverside. Popular and hard to find native plants, seeds, and bulbs for inland area gardens. Talk to experts about lawn alternatives, such as native perennials, wildflowers, and grasses. Native plant books, posters, and note cards. Join as a new CNPS member and receive a discount!

For Chapter Events in your area, please visit the CNPS Website at


Photo Credits
  • Julie Evens, colorful hills of Carrizo Plain N.M.
  • Deborah Stout, Southern Alligator Lizard
  • Jennifer Buck-Diaz, field survey photo, Phacelia cicutaria (catepillar phacelia) and Monolopia lanceolata
  • Jennifer Buck-Diaz, field survey photo, featuring Lupinus nanus (sky lupine) and Castilleja densiflora (owl's clover).
  • Jim Nelson, Workshop Class

  • Julie Evens, Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Josie Crawford, Stacey Flowerdew, Tara Hansen, and Mark Naftzger.
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