California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

April 2011

Support for Weed Management Area funding

Proposed budget cuts and reduced government spending have put many State programs on the chopping block, including one program directly connected with the mission of CNPS, the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Weed Management Area (WMA) program.

Rare cactus Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada overrun by invasive, non-native bromus grass
Rare cactus Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada in Southern San Bernardino County is overrun by invasive, non-native bromus grass. Photo by Amber Swanson.

The WMA program and other CDFA weed programs are vital to protecting California's environment and agriculture from invasive plants. Water supply, crops, wildlife, fire safety, recreation, listed species, and native habitats – all are threatened by invasive plants. Current annual funding addresses only a portion of the high priority projects around the state. Without this funding, impacts from invasive plants will increase and future management costs will be even higher. 

The WMA programs have established collaborative land management coalitions that facilitate the coordination and funding of invasive removal projects, usually at the County level. WMA's have been an effective tool for environmentalists, private landowners, and public agencies for detecting and controlling invasive weed outbreaks across the state.

CNPS has joined fellow environmental groups to petition CA Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, State Senator Joe Simitian, Assembly Member Richard Gordon, and Governor Jerry Brown for continued Weed Management Area (WMA) program funding.

Join our efforts by sending a letter or contacting your representative about preserving this vital program. Letter templates are available here or by contacting Allen Tolleth.


New CNPS Online Inventory (8th Edition) Updates and Tips

Aaron E. Sims

El Paso gilia (Gilia mexicana)
El Paso gilia (Gilia mexicana) - click to enlarge. Photo by Jon Rebman.

Inventory Update:
The featured new addition to the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants for the month of April is El Paso gilia (Gilia mexicana).  El Paso gilia (added to Rare Plant Rank / List 2.3 – plants rare, threatened, or endangered in California, but more common elsewhere; not very threatened in California) is an annual herb in the Polemoniaceae.  It was added to the Inventory on April 8th and was previously known only from the mountains of northern Baja California and from Arizona to Texas. 

El Paso gilia is the first plant to be brought to the attention of the Rare Plant Program by the social network utility Facebook.  It was recently discovered in California on Whale Peak in San Diego County, by Jon P. Rebman, Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM).  Jon posted an account of his discovery of El Paso gilia on the SDNHM Botany Department Facebook page in 2010, where he noted it as the first known occurrence of this plant in California. 

More information about El Paso gilia can be found in the Online Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants (, or by contacting Aaron E. Sims.

Inventory Tip:
Did you know that the home page of the new Online Inventory, 8th Edition, displays recent additions, changes, and deletions within the Inventory as well as plants that are currently in review?  This new way of displaying updates is very useful for conservationists, consultants, planners, researchers, and resource managers to obtain the most current information about California's rare plants.

In addition to these new displays of information on the Inventory home page, there is also a link to All Major Changes Since 6th Edition, 2001, located directly below the “Additions / Changes / Deletions” section.  This PDF document is updated quarterly by the Rare Plant Program and is also available on the About the Inventory section of the CNPS website.


Help Save Walker Ridge

Botanizing on Walker Ridge
"Botanizing on Walker Ridge" - photo by Margaret Starbuck

Efforts to protect Walker Ridge represent decades worth of surveying, letters, contact with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), collaboration with other environmental groups, and two petitions for an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Despite this huge investment of time and effort, the conservation battle is far from over.

The public lands that include Walker Ridge span across Lake and Colusa Counties, and encompass a high diversity of serpentine-associated plant species, special-status plants, unusual plant associations, and potentially undescribed plant taxa. Walker Ridge also has significant educational, recreational and scenic values including its complex geologic substrates and soils, elevation gradients, expansive viewsheds, and proximity to Bear Valley.

These botanically rich resources are being threatened by the placement of a wind farm on the ridge, and so we find ourselves at a difficult crossroads between the development of renewable energy and the ecological preservation of Walker Ridge. CNPS supports renewable energy projects, but only when those projects are developed in a manner that minimizes ecological impacts. Designating all of Walker Ridge as an ACEC will help direct BLM to manage Walker Ridge's amazingly beautiful landscape in a manner that ensures the survival of its flora and fauna for generations to come.

In February, CNPS submitted a petition to BLM to designate all of Walker Ridge as an ACEC. Currently, we are seeking signatures of support from conservation organizations, members of the science community, and from chapter members and interested individuals.

Join us in the effort to preserve the public lands on Walker Ridge by participating in our letter writing campaign, and join in an upcoming Native Plant Treasure Hunt on the ridge in June. Follow the development of this project on the Statewide Conservation Initiatives page on our website.


CNPS Chapter Conservation Map: Roadmap to the Future

Map: Conservation Actions by CNPS ChapterConservation efforts can be time-consuming, daunting, confusing, and frustrating. How does one combat the continuous encroachment upon native plant habitats? CNPS Chapter conservation work has continued at a very high caliber for decades. Sharing the combined knowledge of how Chapter conservationists are approaching various issues statewide can help us be more effective at what we do. To help collate and share this knowledge we have recently developed the Chapter Conservation Map – now available on our website - to highlight Chapter conservation projects around the state.
The design of the Conservation Map is simple. For each featured Chapter project, the map contains a short summary of the project's conservation issue, a link to more information found on the Chapter website, additional links to pertinent project documents, and a Chapter contact. By aggregating conservation information into an easily accessible holding place, visitors to our website can track conservation advocacy work that CNPS Chapter members are involved in across the state. The map also serves as a portal to Chapter resources and expertise that one can access to help address impacts to and conservation of native plant.

Successful grassroots activism requires pooling individual strengths and sharing successes and failures learned from experience. A goal of the Conservation Map is to aggregate information that can both inform and inspire your own advocacy efforts!

Access the map here. If you don't see your Chapter's conservation projects or would like some help posting an ongoing project, please contact Allen Tolleth:


Pacific Crest Trail Field Guide Project

Botanizing on Walker Ridge
Justin West examines mushrooms while hiking. Photo by Li An Phoa.

Justin West, former field botanist for CNPS and PhD candidate at U.C. Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group, will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail over the next two summers collecting botanical data in order to better understand shifting vegetation communities through climate change. These data will be donated to the CNPS database for future conservation and research purposes. During this process, Justin will be writing and publishing a hard copy and digital app naturalist's field guide to the PCT. There currently is no such resource available for the thousands of annual PCT hikers to learn about the highly varied ecosystems and the conservation opportunities inherent in such a long and contiguous tract.

Please check out his Kickstarter campaign to see a brief video clip explaining this mega transect project further. You can be involved! Pledge to make the book project possible and in return there are various gift opportunities such as signed copies of the book. See this page for more information as well as to give feedback as to what you would like to see in a PCT field guide. The campaign ends May 12th so please don't delay!

California Coastal Commission Appointments

The Governor and legislators are in the process of making 6 to 8 new appointments to the 12-member California Coastal Commission by the end of this summer. The Commission has influence over what gets built and what doesn't on lands within the coastal zone. Over the past month, an ad-hoc committee of coastal advocacy groups including CNPS has conducted interviews of candidates and delivered their recommendations to the Governor and legislators.

In April, the Governor appointed Ventura City Councilman Brian Brennan to the South Central Coast District seat. Mr. Brennan was a top candidate recommended by the interview committee. CNPS has joined with other groups in recommending Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace for the North Coast District seat. This appointment will be made in early May. The coastal advocacy committee's interview process for the North Coast District candidates is underway. As these interview meetings occur in other districts, State CNPS will coordinate with chapters to provide local representation on the interview committee.


Chapter Events

A Sampling from Around the State

Sacramento Valley Chapter
Gardens Gone Native Tour
Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Sacramento Gardens Gone Native Tour is free of charge. Questions? Contact: Maria Kochis or Dennis Dahlin,  or see this website for more information.

Willis L. Jepson Chapter
Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, May 7, 2011, 9am – 3pm

Location: Benicia Community Garden, 1400 E. 2nd Street, Benicia, CA 94510.Perennials, Trees, Shrub & Groundcovers for a drought tolerant, wildlife friendly and attractive garden. For more info call (707) 747-5815 or visit our website.
Spring Plant Sale & Wildflower Show
Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:30am – 1:30pm
Location: Sierra College, Rocklin Campus, 5000 Rocklin Rd, Rocklin, CA 95677.  Expert advice on gardening with natives! Huge selection of native plants for sale! Books, posters, note cards, t-shirts, & totebags! Free totebag for new members! Early 8:30am admission for CNPS members only- join at the door for early admission!
* Expert advice on gardening with natives
* Huge selection of native plants for sale
* Books, posters, note cards, t-shirts, & totebags
* Free totebag for new members
* Early 8:30am admission for CNPS members only- join at the door to take advantage of early admission!

Orange County Chapter
OC-CNPS Native Plant Garden Tour
Saturday, May 7, 2011

You’ve waited a whole year to get another peek at the gardens that are making news around the state—the ones with beautiful and water-saving California native plants! Once again, OC-CNPS is sponsoring a free, one-day self-guided tour of gardens featuring all or mostly native plants all around Orange County. Registration is required. Please see this page for more details.

Shasta Chapter
18th Annual Mother’s Day Wildflower Show
Saturday, May 8, 2011, 10am - 4pm
The 18th Annual Mother’s Day Wildflower Show is co-sponsored by Shasta Chapter CNPS and Klamath National Forest. Hundreds of native plants and wildflowers will be on display from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds in Yreka (first northbound exit off of I-5). This is a fantastic display and a special place to take Moms (and it’s free!).
East Bay Chapter
Mount Diablo Field Trip: North Peak Trail
Sunday, May 22, 2011, 10 am 

Mount Diablo State Park North Peak trail from Devil’s Elbow to Prospector’s Gap. Meet at the Devil’s Elbow parking lot at 10 am. This trail is packed with native plants and relatively few alien species. There may be Calochortus venustus, C. pulchellus, Chorizanthe membranacea, Hydrophyllum occidentale, Arnica discoidea, a few areas of Collinsia tinctoria, Clarkia concinna, plus native Cirsium (thistles), lupines, and Lomatium. There are also large areas of Quercus chrysolepis (canyon live oak). This trip will be most of the day, so bring lunch and water. We should arrive back at the parking lot around 3 pm. The trip leader is Gregg Weber, and you can call him at 510- 223-3310 if you have questions. There is a State Parks fee of $10 to enter the park.  


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


Photo Credits

  • Amber Swanson - Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada, a rare cactus, is overtaken by invasive bromus grass in Southern San Bernardino County
  • Jon Rebman - Gilia mexicana
  • Margaret Starbuck - Botanizing on Walker Ridge
  • Screenshot of CNPS Chapter Conservation Map
  • Li An Phoa - Justin West examines mushrooms while hiking

  • Aaron Sims, Greg Suba, Allen Tolleth, Amber Swanson, Justin West, Stacey Flowerdew, Tara Hansen, Mark Naftzger, and countless CNPS volunteers.
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