California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

January 2012

2012 Conservation Conference: A success!


The 2012 CNPS Conservation Conference in San Diego brought over 1,000 plant conservation advocates together for 5 days of information exchange, networking, and revelry. This year's conference opened with 2 full days of workshops, and an evening reception heralding the publication of the Jepson Manual 2nd Edition. The main event - three days of formal presentations - featured 206 speakers in 23 sessions on topics ranging from traditional uses of plants to the botanical implications of changing climate space in California. For a full list of sessions, speakers, abstracts, and speaker contact information visit the CNPS Conference webpage. Here you can find summaries of each presentation, including the 52 posters presented over the course of the Conference, and contact information for each presenter.

The 2012 Conference included a Student Career Panel and Luncheon, January 13, 2012.

A most encouraging sight at this year's Conference was the number of students and young professionals in attendance - representing well over 25% of Conference registrants. In addition to spotlighting CNPS as an organization, the Conservation Conference provided an important venue where generations of plant scientists and conservation advocates both old and new, were able to share their expertise and new insights directly.

Conference keynote speakers included Louise Jackson, Bruce Pavlik, Peter Raven, and David Chipping, who captured the attention and imagination of large audiences with stories of developing habitat through agriculture, the future of habitat restoration science, and the history of plant conservation, respectively. David Chipping closed the Conference with a rousing call to action, complete with bulleted summaries and "to-do" lists for each of the 23 session topics. David's presentation is available on the Conference webpage.

In addition to speakers and workshops, the Conference featured over two dozen exhibitors who displayed eye-catching materials, botanical art and photography contests, poetry, music, food and many meetings - enough to fill every moment of the five day affair. We feel attendees left the Conference with a renewed dedication to plant conservation in California, and hope to meet again when we reconvene in 2015 - and celebrate CNPS's 50th Anniversary!

Keynote Speaker Peter Raven addresses a capacity Conference Banquet audience, January 13, 2012. Photo by Nick Jensen.


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

Astragalus nyensis
Nye milk-vetch (Astragalus nyensis) with fruit © 2005 James M. Andre. [+] click to enlarge

Inventory Update:
The featured new addition to the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants is Nye milk-vetch (Astragalus nyensis). Nye milk-vetch is an annual herb in the pea family that occurs in sandy to gravelly soils of Mojavean desert scrub habitat in central and southern Pahrump Velley of Inyo County, California. It was previously known only from Utah, Arizona, and Nevada (including Nye County, Nevada in which it got its name).

Nye milk-vetch was discovered in California in late April and May of 2011. After brought to the attention of the CNPS Rare Plant Program in early November, it was promptly reviewed and added to the CNPS Inventory in late December of 2011. It has been afforded with the highest rank and threat category possible in the Inventory, California Rare Plant Rank (formerly List) 1B.1 – plants rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere; seriously threatened in California.

The Nye milk-vetch is currently only known from a single occurrence in California, where it is seriously threatened by solar energy development. Nearly 70% of the total number of individual plants discovered in California occurs directly within the project footprint of a large solar energy development site. 

More information about Astragalus nyensis can be found in the CNPS Online Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants, or by contacting Aaron E. Sims (916/324-3816,


CNPS Online inventory tip
Selecting quads from a map in the new Online Inventory. [+] click to enlarge

Inventory Tip:
Did you know that you can search for plants by selecting USGS 7.5’ Quadrangles (quads) from a map in the new Online Inventory, 8th Edition? This allows one to review plants that occur in a single quad or nine quads by panning, zooming, and selecting them directly on an aerial, topo, or hybrid map!

In order to search for plants by quads, visit the Online Inventory "Advanced Search" page, scroll below to the "Location" section, and click the "Select Quads from a Map" button.  A map will pop up and allow you to select quads simply by clicking with your mouse.


Cal-IPC Wildland Weed Field Courses and Habitat Restoration Workdays

Cal-IPC upcoming field courses and habitat restoration workdays train natural resource managers and restoration volunteers on all aspects of invasive weed management.

Registration and course details at

2012 Field Course Schedule:
Ben Lomond - Ben Lomond Quaker Center

Tuesday, April 24 - Invasive Plant Biology & Identification
Wednesday, April 25 - Invasive Plant Control Methods
Thursday, April 26 - Mapping Invasive Plants

Idyllwild - James San Jacinto Mountains UC Natural Reserve

Tuesday, June 5 - Strategic Approaches to Invasive Plant Management
Wednesday, June 6 - Invasive Plant Biology & Identification
Thursday, June 7 - Invasive Plant Control Methods

Registration Fees:
Cal-IPC Members: $155 per field course
Non-members: $175 per field course, this fee includes a 2011 Cal-IPC Membership
Restoration Volunteers: $55 per field course
Cal-IPC is able to offer a special discounted rate for restoration volunteers! You qualify as a restoration volunteer if weed management is not part of your professional work and you volunteer for an organized restoration effort.

To register, go here.

2012 Habitat Restoration Workday Schedule:
Antioch - USFWS Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge
Saturday, February 25 - Weed Control Methods and Endangered Species
Registration: FREE with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Registration Fees: Cal-IPC Sponsored Habitat Restoration Workdays: $20 per workday, unless otherwise noted.

Email to register for the Antioch Dunes Habitat Restoration Workday.

BLM's Solar Energy Plan Improves but Concerns Remain

In the summer of 2009 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was directed by Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, to develop a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for solar energy development (Solar PEIS) on BLM-managed public lands in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. The Draft Solar PEIS was released in early 2011 and solicited robust public concern that BLM, rather than restricting large-scale solar projects to hardline zones to limit environmental impacts, would allow for the continued scattershot approach to project siting that we see today. In the summer of 2011, the BLM announced they would produce a Supplement to the Solar PEIS to address these and other concerns. In California, CNPS and other groups expressed adamant opposition to two of the four proposed Solar Energy Zones (SEZs), recommended acreage reductions in the other two, and stressed the need to restrict development to within zones only.

Last fall, the BLM released their Supplemental PEIS which included several significant improvements from the earlier draft including the removal of the most egregiously located California SEZ's (the Iron Mountain and Pisgah SEZs), the reconfiguration of the remaining two zones, and several other important changes for which the BLM should be commended.

One unfortunate hold-over, however, is the BLM's preference to continue to allow for large-scale solar projects outside of identified solar zones, whereby developers could site outside of solar zone through a variance process. CNPS opposes this variance process, and maintains that the acreage available for solar development within a) the currently identified solar zones, along with b) the process detailed in the SEIS for developing additional zones on a 5-year cycle, plus c) the acres of solar and wind energy areas that will be identified for development through the separate but related Desert Renewable Conservation Plan (DRECP) process, together represent more than sufficient area for large-scale alternative energy development on our public lands to meet and exceed our state and federal alternative energy targets.  This calculus becomes even clearer when one includes the amount of energy that distributed generation ("rooftop" solar) will contribute to our energy goals. 

The BLM's Solar PEIS has improved notably as it navigates through the NEPA process, though concerns remain. The Final EIS is scheduled to be published later this spring. You can read the comment letters CNPS has submitted for this and other renewable energy planning processes on our website here.


Chapter Events

Milo Baker Chapter

Volunteer/Field Trip: Muir Woods and Beach
Saturday, February 11, 10 AM

We'll start the morning with a short tour and orientation to one of the most significant ecological restoration projects the GGNRA has undertaken, the Muir Beach Wetland and Riparian Restoration. For our first 2 hours, we'll help to plant in the newly restored wetland and riparian system, southern most habitat for the endangered Coho Salmon, along with other listed species the red-legged frog and Steelhead trout. After doing some planting we'll tour the Redwood Creek Nursery (near Muir Woods) where the plants were grown. After lunch at the nursery, we'll head to Muir Woods (volunteering gets us in free) to catch the very early Fetid Adder's Tongue in bloom along with magnificent redwoods and their vibrant understory. Bring a lunch. Wetland planting may result in muddy knees. If you require a change of clothes, there is a restroom at Muir Woods. Tools and gloves are provided. Meet at 9am, Sheraton Hotel, Lakeville Hwy and 101 in Petaluma, south end of the parking lot near the entrance to the marsh for carpooling. If coming direct, meet at the Muir Beach parking lot at 10am. Leader: Betty Young. Questions: Cindy Tancreto 707-528-9225 or

Marin County Chapter

Field Trip: From Mount Tam to the Stagecoach
Sunday, February 12, Noon–5:15 PM

We’ll hike the second part of the Matt Davis Trail from Pantoll to Stinson Beach and, rather than wear ourselves out, we’ll take the West Marin Stage back up the mountain! Giant chain ferns, mosses, meadows, forests, and views of Stinson Beach and Bolinas Bay make for an ever-changing tableau as we hike down the sometimes steep four-mile trail to the beach. This hike is especially suitable for beginning plant enthusiasts. Meet at the Pantoll parking area about five miles north on Panoramic Highway from the intersection with Route 1. Parking fee and stage fare. Rain cancels; call Dabney if in doubt. Leader: Dabney Smith, (415) 320-9229.

San Diego Chapter

Program Meeting: Archaeoehnobotany: Plants in San Diego's Archaelogical Past
Tuesday, February 21, 7:30 PM

Speaker - Dr. G. Timothy Gross. This presentation will examine what archaeologists have found in the archaeological record in the San Diego region that informs us about the use of native plants.  Stone and ceramic artifacts give clues to plant use, and the remains of plants help to fill in the story.  Charred seeds, charcoal, pollen and phytoliths give information on plants used by prehistoric Native Americans, as well as those used in the historic period.  Although food is the most often considered aspect of ethbnobotany, other aspects of plant use such as their use as building material, firewood, and mastics will also be discussed.  The San Diego area will be compared to other areas like the Southwest and Great Basin where much more detail is preserved in the archaeological record about the interaction of plants and humans.

Dr. Gross earned his bachelor's in Anthropology from San Diego State University.  His masters and doctorate are from Washington State University.  He has been involved in the archaeology of the Western US for over 40 years.  He teaches at the University of San Diego and consults for Ecology and Environment, Inc. Room 101 or 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego.

East Bay Chapter

Field Trip: Redwood Regional Park
Sunday, February 26, 2 PM

David Margolies will lead a walk along the stream and on the slopes above Redwood Creek in this large East Bay redwood forest, looking at early flowering plants and the trees and shrubs of the redwood forest. We will also look for newts and rainbow trout in Redwood Creek. The whole walk is about 2.5 miles with steep uphill and steep downhill portions. Walkers who want to avoid the steep trails can return along the stream trail about halfway through the walk. Meet at the Redwood Gate parking area at 2:00 pm.

Directions: To get there from the northern East Bay, get on 13 South (go east on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, for example) and take the Redwood Road exit. From the southern East Bay, take 580 West to 13 North and exit at Redwood Road (immediately after the junction). Once on Redwood Road, go east (uphill). At the top of the hill you will cross Skyline Boulevard and then pass various equestrian facilities. Go down into the valley. About two miles from Skyline Boulevard, turn left into Redwood Regional Park, following the entrance road to the end to the parking lot. Walk takes place rain or shine.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Greg Suba
  • Aaron Sims
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Nick Jensen - Peter Raven addresses conservation conference banquet
  • James M. Andre- Nye milk-vetch (Astragalus nyensis) with fruit © 2005
  • Screenshot- "Selecting quads from a map in the new Online Inventory."


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