California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

February 2011

Rare Plant Communities Initiative Update

In early February, 2011, CNPS Vegetation Program staff conducted a field-based workshop in the Sonoran Desert of eastern Riverside County. This workshop focused on identifying, surveying, and mapping of rare vegetation. The workshop’s main goals were to learn about the desert’s diversity of vegetation types, highlight areas containing rare plant communities, and discuss ways for CNPS Chapters and others to contribute surveys/mapping in priority areas.

Approximately 20 participants gathered for this workshop around Palen Lake near Desert Center. Palen Lake is an alkali playa surrounded by series of active, semi-stabilized, and stabilized dunes and areas of desert pavement. It includes a myriad of vegetation patterns including creosote shrublands, mesquite bosques, desert wash woodlands, saltbush scrubs, and groundwater-dependent sink scrubs in addition to the dune and desert pavement habitats. Participants included individuals from the Kern, Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains, San Diego, and San Gabriel Chapters of CNPS, as well as college students and biological consultants. Also in attendance were representatives from the Bureau of Land Management’s Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office.

During the workshop, we sampled 15 vegetation stands and made several additional observation points. CNPS staff person, Deborah Stout, remained on site for a couple additional days of sampling and mapping. Rare communities included Parkinsonia florida (blue palo verde), Olneya tesota (ironwood), Propopis glandulosa (mesquite), and Psorothamnus spinosus (smoke tree) woodland alliances; and Suaeda moquinii shrubland (bush seepweed) alliance.  Stand locations have been plotted in GIS, and we entered the survey data into our ever-expanding Access database for future classification and mapping efforts.

Several participants are interested in leading follow-up trips to survey rare vegetation in their local areas, and CNPS staff is thrilled to receive correspondence from participants asking for additional information and support. This workshop provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with Southern California chapter members, and to continue developing our rare plant communities initiative. CNPS extends special thanks to BLM staff for use of their 4WD vehicles. This workshop was supported in part by a private bequest to CNPS, and we are looking for additional funds to continue this important work.

Fen Vegetation Assessments

The CNPS Vegetation Program, in partnership with US Forest Service Region 5 and UC Davis, has completed a classification and mapping report on fen vegetation and related wet meadows for 3 locations of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest (NF). We will continue mapping of fen/wet meadows for this NF later this year.

We are also in the process of finalizing a report that assesses fen vegetation throughout the entire Sierra Nevada region. An overview poster of this assessment was presented by CNPS staff during the January 2011 Northern California Botanists Symposium. You can view both the Shasta-Trinity fen report here and the overview poster by clicking here.

Vegetation Mapping in the Northern Sierra Nevada Foothills

CNPS has been working with the Department of Fish and Game and Aerial Information Systems to produce a detailed vegetation map of the northern Sierra Nevada foothills, an area of approximately 2.6 million acres.  The entire map has been completed and will be posted online along with a vegetation mapping report by March, 2011.  For more information, please click on this link

Updated Natural Community List Now Available

Our partners at the Department of Fish and Game’s Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program (VegCAMP) have recently updated the state “Natural Community List”.  The VegCAMP website provides a link to background information and to the current list of Alliances and Associations (per A Manual of California Vegetation, Second Edition, Sawyer et al. 2009). The use of this standard vegetation classification system will enable more unified habitat assessments and conservation efforts across California.

CNPS 2012 Conference Needs Volunteers!

CNPS 2012 Conference committees are already hard at work but we still need volunteers for the following positions:

Audio visual Chair (San Diego local)
Local Information Chair (San Diego local)
Outreach Chair
Botanical Arts Chair
Students Committee (Student Activities, Poster and Paper contests, and Student Funding)
Exhibitors chair
Silent Auction Chair
Chapter Student support
Chapter CNPS Store Chair

Please contact Josie Crawford if you are even mildly interested in volunteering on one of these committees!

CNPS Training Workshops

Contact Josie Crawford for more information. Further details are available at

March 22-23
California Rangeland Monitoring
Bakersfield and Tejon Ranch
Instructor: Jennifer Buck-Diaz
Options for single day or 2-day.

The California Native Plant Society is offering a new rangeland monitoring workshop at the Kern County Farm Advisors office in Bakersfield. This is an opportunity for ranchers, land managers, and ecologists to gain a better understanding of the role of vegetation surveys and classification in ecological monitoring, management and conservation. On March 22nd, the agenda includes morning presentations and a local field visit to discuss rangeland management challenges and to help develop skills in plant species identification. March 23rd is an optional second day to train participants in the CNPS Relevé field sampling protocol at the Old Headquarters of Tejon Ranch. 
Day 1: Maintaining grassland biodiversity and field site visit. Half day lecture/ half day at Tejon Ranch.  Day 2: Grassland vegetation sampling using the Relevé method. All day field survey training at Tejon Ranch.
Fees: Day 1 - co-sponsored by NRCS and Defenders of Wildlife- $25 includes breakfast snacks and lunch. Day 2 - CNPS members $150; Non-members $175
Registration open here.
April 25-27
Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations
Hell’s Half Acre, Grass Valley
Instructor: John Willoughby

Three day combination of lecture and field exercises.
Fees: CNPS members $395; Non-members $420
Registration open here.

May 3-4
Wetland/Riparian Plant Identification
Casitas Springs, Ventura County

Instructor: David Magney
Fees: CNPS members $295; Non-members $320
Registration open here.
May 5-7
Riparian Ecology and Restoration

Instructors: Bruce Orr and Amy Merrill
Three day combination of lecture and field trips.
Fees: CNPS members $395; Non-members $420

June 7-9
Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé
Ocean Song, Sonoma County

Instructors: Julie Evens, Deborah Stout
One evening lecture and two field days
Fees: CNPS members $325; Non-members $350
Fees include camping for two nights at gorgeous location and use of facility.

Sept 22-24
Legends of the Fall: Exploring the Clandestine Flora of Early Fall in the Eastern Mojave Desert
UC Granite Mountains Desert Research Station

Instructors: Jim Andre and Tasha La Doux
One evening lecture and two field days.
Fees: CNPS members $435; Non-members $460
Price includes lodging and all meals at the research station.

Note that some details, including price and exact locations, are subject to change. Updates will be posted on the Education Program Training Workshop webpage as they become known.

Chapter Events

A Sampling from Around the State

Sacramento Valley Chapter

Free Plant ID Workshop
Tuesday, March 1, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

On the first Tuesday of every month, the CNPS State Office and the Sacramento Valley Chapter host free collaborative plant identification workshops run by Ceanothus, ("See I Know This"), of the California Field Botanists Association. The next workshop is March 1st from 5:30-7:30pm at the CNPS State Office, 2707 K St., Suite 1, Sacramento. Bring any plants you’re curious about, the Jepson Manual, and your enthusiasm! Visit for additional workshop dates, locations, and directions. Send questions here or contact Michael Bower (530)902-8721.

San Diego Chapter
Native Plant Sale
Saturday, March 5, 2011, 9 AM-4 PM

The CNPS San Diego chapter will host a plant sale on Saturday, March 5 at Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano. At 10 am, landscape designer Connie Beck will discuss Natives for Wildlife, native plants that attract such wildlife as birds, butterflies, bats, and bees. Tree of Life Nursery is located at 33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, 92675, just 7 miles east of San Juan Capistrano on the north side of Highway 74. It's a beautiful nursery located in a beautiful area, so come buy some plants and support CNPS San Diego.

Napa Valley Chapter
Napa County Wildflowers, A Spring Primer
Wendesday, March 16, 2011, 7PM – 8:30PM

The presentation by Jake Ruygt will include images of the many interesting and beautiful wildflowers that can be seen on our spring wildflower walks that run from March to May. For a list of the walks, see the Napa Valley Chapter website. Presentation is free of charge. Skyline Park, Social Hall, 2201 Imola Ave., Napa, CA. Contact: Henni Cohen.

Willis L. Jepson Chapter
Solano County Agriculture and Native Plant Communities
Monday, March 28, 7pm

Hear what Jim Allan, County Agricultural Commissioner, does and how it supports preservation of native plants.  Also learn about emerging significant issues such as the impact of genetically modified crops on local plant communities, potential strategies to control these impacts, the potential impact of invasive plants and diseases on local plant communities and strategies to control these impacts. Solano County Cooperative Extension Office, 501 Texas Street in Fairfield.

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


Photo Credits

  • Deborah Stout, Workshop participants gather to sample a wash woodland community with ironwood (Olneya tesota).
  • Deborah Stout, a beautiful mountain fen.
  • Jennifer Buck-Diaz, A spectacular widlflower display on the the valley floor within Tejon Ranch.
  • Jim Andre, Mountain Scene

  • Deborah Stout, Julie Evens, Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Josie Crawford, Arvind Kumar, Tara Hansen, Stacey Flowerdew, Mark Naftzger, and countless CNPS volunteers
Copyright © 1999-2019 California Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Contact Us | Privacy