California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

May 2012

Report from the Capitol

Vern Goehring
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
State Capitol, Sacramento, CA. photo credit: Stacey Flowerdew
The 2012 Legislative session is fully underway and weirdness is looming just under the surface. After all, this is an election year with major redistricting changes and the first top-two primary - meaning there will be lots of unexplainable actions and votes unfolding before the Legislature adjourns the end of August.

CNPS and others are keeping a watch for bad California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) bills, remembering the late session hits that process took last year. So far several bad bills have been stopped or amended to be largely harmless; included in this last category are AB 1665, AB 2245, SB 973, and SB 1380. We have also been engaged in meetings on AB 890, pertaining to road safety improvements, to see if an expanded CEQA waiver would be appropriate...

...The legislative issue keeping CNPS busiest, however, regards timber harvesting and forest management. To continue reading, click here.

New CNPS Online Inventory (8th Edition) Update

Aaron E. Sims
Vernal pool bent grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis) habitat
Vernal pool bent grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis) habitat © 2010 David Styer

The featured proposed new addition to the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants is vernal pool bent grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis). Vernal pool bent grass is an annual herb in the grass family (Poaceae) that occurs in mima mound areas within or on the margins of vernal pools. It was recently described by Peterson et al. 2011 (Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 5(2): 421-426), and is known only from Butterfly Valley (Fort Ord Army Military Base) and Machine Gun Flats (Fort Ord Public Lands) on the Monterey Peninsula.

Vernal pool bent grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis)
Vernal pool bent grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis) © 2011 David Styer
Vernal pool bent grass was first discovered by Ellen Holms Uhler a few years ago, who showed some of the plants to Randy Morgan, a Santa Cruz area botanist. Unable to determine the identification of the plant, Randall Morgan (along with Dylan Neubauer, David Styer, and Vern Yadon) collected the diminutive grass in May 2010, and submitted some to experts at the Smithsonian Institution for viewing. It was consequently described as new to science!

Continue reading article here.

Conservation Projects in the East Bay Area

Mack Casterman

The East Bay Chapter is currently beginning work on two big conservation projects that will continue to be a chapter priority for the foreseeable future. Both of these projects deal with areas that make up part of our chapter's Botanical Priority Protection Areas of the East Bay (BPPA). A .pdf version of our BPPA guidebook and a description of how it was created can be downloaded and viewed at

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at Richmond Field Station

Richmond                                      Field Station
Richmond Field Station. Photo credit: 2007 URS Botanical Survey Report of Richmond Field Station for UC Berkeley

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has selected the University of California Richmond Field Station as the preferred site for its second campus. This is an exciting time for both the University of California and the City of Richmond however, the Richmond Field Station is part of our chapter's "Richmond Shoreline" Botanical Priority Protection Area, and as such, this project will require special attention. EBCNPS is working with the Citizens for East Shore Parks and the Sierra Club to ensure that sensitive botanical resources such as the native coastal prairie at the site remain protected as part of the project plan and that any unavoidable impacts to this sensitive natural community are properly mitigated for. We have already scheduled preliminary meetings with LBNL and UC reps to discuss the sensitive resources of the site and make recommendations for avoidance and mitigation in the botanically valuable areas. This is a project that is just beginning, but the Conservation Committee is anticipating a lot of work will be required in the future to ensure that LBNL's second campus benefits not only the City of Richmond, but also the precious natural resources of our Richmond Shoreline BPPA. East Bay Conservation Analyst Mack Casterman is hopeful that working with the lab at the front end of this process will allow us to help shape a development plan that protects and even celebrates the valuable natural resources of the site.

EBCNPS signs on as supporting organization for Friends of Tesla Park

Off road vehicle damage
Off road vehicle damage. photo credit: Mack Casterman

Mitchell Ravine Tesla Park
Mitchell Ravine Tesla Park. photo credit: Friends of Tesla Park

Our Corral Hollow Botanical Priority Protection Area is currently being threatened by a proposed expansion of the Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area. Carnegie SVRA is a motorcycle park in eastern Alameda County. It is operated under the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of State Dept of Parks & Recreation. Several years ago, adjacent property (called the Tesla - Alameda Purchase by State Parks) was purchased to enlarge the motorcycle park, but after 3 attempts, the State has not been able to accomplish a successful EIR in order to open the land to off road vehicles. However, another attempt at getting an EIR passed is in the works that will accompany a new General Plan for Carnegie SVRA. The property in question contains expansive blue oak woodlands, rolling grassland habitat, and a sensitive natural community of Desert olive scrub. In order to ensure that this special area is spoken for during the upcoming General Plan process, EBCNPS has signed on as supporters for a group called The Friends of Tesla Park. We will be assisting them by providing botanical information and commenting on the process as this plan moves forward. Currently, East Bay Conservation Analyst Mack Casterman is working on putting together a letter on behalf of EBCNPS for the scoping process of this project. Our letter will detail the botanical value of this land in the hope that alternatives to this potentially damaging expansion project will be considered.

New CNPS Online Inventory (8th Edition) Tip

Aaron E. Sims

Did you know that you can now search for plants that have been Considered But Rejected (CBR) in the new CNPS Online Inventory, 8th Edition? Plants that have been Considered But Rejected in the Inventory include those that were previously included in the Inventory, but have been deleted, as well as plants that were reviewed for addition to the Inventory, but were rejected for inclusion due to a variety of reasons (e.g. being too common).

Reviewing the CBR list allows users to know which plants the CNPS Rare Plant Program has evaluated in the past, and includes a basic reason as to why the plants have been rejected. The CBR list currently contains 742 plants and continues to grow as the Rare Plant Program evaluates more and more potential changes and proposed additions to the Inventory.

The full list of CBR plants can be searched for in the "Simple Search" page of the new Online Inventory. Once you are there, check the box next to "Considered But Rejected" under the California Rare Plant Rank search criteria and hit "Search". You now have access to a full list of CBR plants which you can then export to excel, or you can click on individual plant names to find out the reason it was rejected for inclusion in the Inventory. Click here to see an example of this search.

ReLeaf Urban Forestry & Education Grants Available

Funding is available now to assist nonprofit and community-based groups throughout California with tree planting and tree care projects. Eligible applicants include incorporated nonprofit organizations and unincorporated community-based groups - with a financial sponsor - located in California. Individual funding requests range from $1,000 to $10,000. Deadline is July 20.

Visit California ReLeaf's Grants page to download PDF copies of the guidelines, application, and other materials. To request a hard copy, please email or call (916) 497-0035.

CNPS Plant Training Workshops

For full workshop announcements and registration, please go to

CNPS offers a limited number of reduced or waived registration fees for each Plant Science Training workshop. See this link if you are interested in learning more about the CNPS Work Exchange Program.

June 19-21, 2012
Mountain Riparian Plants
Taught by Stew Winchester
South and Middle Forks of the Yuba River: from Bridgeport State Park to Sierra County Lakes Basin

Bridgeport, South Yuba RiverThis will be 2.5 day field course on riparian plant identification and ecology for the intermediate level botanists ecologists, resource managers, and others interested in learning to identify riparian vegetation of the foothills and mountains. Participants should have an understanding of plant terminology and basic plant identification skills.
Cost: CNPS members $325; Non-members $350.

Please note: Camping will be additional. Information on camping/lodging will be sent when you register.

July 10-12, 2012
Vegetation Rapid Assessment and Relevé protocols
Taught by Todd Keeler-Wolf and Jennifer Buck-Diaz
Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Inez

The course will be a combination of lecture and field exercises in vegetation sampling with a focus on collecting data using the CNPS-DFG combined vegetation rapid assessment/ relevé method. We will discuss applications of fine-scale vegetation sampling, classification and mapping, how to document rare natural communities, and how vegetation information fits into planning documents. Evening lecture on Jul 10, followed by two days in the field.

Cost: Members $325; Non-members $350

Chapter Events

Bristlecone Chapter

Alakali Meadow, Black Rock field trip
Saturday, June 2, 8:45 AM

Come see what an Inyo County Water Department-certified pumping impact looks like, as well as an example of very successful groundwater-dependent meadow management. We will explore an area from the Fort Independence reservation north to 8-mile Ranch/Blackrock hatchery area. Meet at Fort Independence travel plaza/casino parking lot at 8:45 am. Bring water, snacks, hat, and sunscreen. Trip will end by noon. Contact person: Daniel Pritchett at 760-873-8943.

Bodie Hills Field Trip
Sunday, June 10, 8:30 AM

Let's see what's in bloom in this mélange of the floras of the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin high desert. This will be an all day hike, moderate to strenuous, so please bring plenty of water, a lunch, snacks, and the usual outdoor stuff (sunscreen, hat, hiking shoes, etc.) Meet at the end of the pavement at Highway 270 (the rd to Bodie State Park) to carpool, 8:30am (subject to change). Don't forget your hand lenses! Call Drew at (805) 405-7577 for more information.

Oak Creek Field Trip
Saturday, June 23, 8:00 AM

Oak Creek hosts two native tree oak species found in the Eastern Sierra, and one is only found in this drainage. The hiking portion is moderate to slightly difficult and it could be warm at the lower elevations, bring plenty of water, lunch, field guide, hand lens, sunscreen and hat. We should be done by late afternoon. We will meet at 8:00 AM at the intersection of Fish Hatchery Rd. and US 395, 2.3 miles north of Independence and 0.5 mile south of the Fort Independence gas station. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski at (760) 3987-2920 or

North Coast Chapter

Lewisia kelloggii Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
Saturday, June 2, 8:00 AM

Can we find another population of Lewisia kelloggii, and for the first time in Del Norte County? Six Rivers National Forest Service botanists have studied maps and chosen likely habitat to explore for this rare, diminuitive plant with a showy flower. Some of us will consider spending Saturday night and part of Sunday in the mountains too, camping, or lodging in Orleans. Meet at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) at 8 a.m. or at the Orleans Ranger Station at 10 a.m.. Bring lots of water, plenty of lunch, and layers appropriate for the weather. For directions, see the chapter website. For information contact John McRae: 707-441-3513, If you want to camp, call Carol 707-822-2015.

Umbelifer Quest: Arcata to Cold Spring
Sunday, June 17, 8:30 AM

How many members of the carrot family will we find along the way to Cold Spring and exploring the meadow there?  This will be our focus for a trip from coastal plain to mountain fir forest on Titlow Hill Rd off Highway 299 in Six Rivers National Forest. Besides roadside stops we will explore the meadow and informal trail (about 3 miles) at Cold Spring. We will surely see many non-umbelliferous flowers as well. Bring lunch and water; dress in layers for changeable mountain weather at 4,000 feet. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange another place. Return late afternoon. Information: Carol Ralph 707-822-2015.

East Bay Chapter

Mount Diablo State Park field trip
Saturday, June 10

This is a moderate round trip of 5 miles with 1200 feet elevation gain on the way out. It will be mostly downhill on the return trip, and we expect to be out 4-5 hours. Bring lunch and at least 1.5 liters of water. We will start on Clayton Oaks trail, and proceed from there to Bruce Lee Spring trail, lower Donner trail, and on to Wasserman and Falls trails. Expect to see Monardella douglasii and Collinsia tinctoria in flower, along with several paintbrush species, Clarkia biloba, Sedum radiatum, Campanula exigua, Silene californica, Pickeringia montana, Asclepias californica, and lots of common plants. 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. See the chapter field trip page for directions.

Mount Diablo State Park field trip
Sunday, June 17

We will go through woodland, grasslands, chaparral areas, with Pickeringia, Salvia, Arctostaphylos, Garrya, Calochortus splendens, and lots of oaks and Clarkia rubicunda. This can be a very hot walk, so dress for heat and bring at least 1.5 liters of water, and lunch. The road loses about 500 feet down to a creek, and then gains 700 feet to the top of the loop, with elevations reversed on the way back. We should arrive back at the parking lot at 4 pm. The trip leader is Gregg Weber, and you can call him at 510-223-3310 with questions. See the chapter field trip page for directions.

Monterey Bay Chapter

French Broom Weed Bash East Side of Point Lobos State Reserve
Saturday, June 2, 1:00-4:00 PM

We'll use several techniques to remove French broom and help restore this area that wants to thrive with native plants. Meet at 1pm in Carmel at the Rio Rd. Park n' Ride (across from the Chevron Gas Station). All supplies provided. Bring a friend, water, and a snack. Contact Bruce Delgado at or 831.277.7690 for more info.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Vern Goerhing
  • Aaron Sims
  • Mack Casterman
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Josie Crawford
  • Stacey Flowerdew- Capitol Dome
  • David Styer - Vernal Pool Bent Grass (Agrostis lacuna-vernalis) habitat
  • David Styer- Vernal Pool Bent Grass
  • 2007 URS Botanical Survey Report of Richmond Field Station for UC Berkeley¬†- Richmond Field Station
  • Friends of Tesla Park -¬†Mitchell Ravine Tesla Park
  • John Coale- South Fork of Yuba River, Bridgeport
  • Josie Crawford - Workshop participants


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