15 de octubre de 2021

Protect Pine Mountain, California

Pine Mountain has old growth forest, and is a montane area of botanical interest. Several conifer species grow in the area, as well as other uncommon plants for the county, due to the higher elevation.

While I understand the need for timber, I believe we can achieve this through sustainable tree farms, and not by cutting down old growth forest, and thus destroy a very biodiverse habitat.

Many organizations support ending the plans to log the area, including the SLO CNPS:

https://www.protectpinemountain.org/

Anotado en 15 de octubre de 2021 a las 07:59 PM por leafybye leafybye | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

24 de septiembre de 2021

Grueling backcountry trail crew job open at the LPFA

I used to be on the trail crew, but now I have an in town job. I loved the trail job because I got to get out to the Los Padres National Forest all week Monday through Friday. The job is great for physically fit backpackers who can carry food and gear for 4 nights, 5 days, and also 2 hand tools plus extra stuff. In Wilderness we brush with hand tools, but in non-wilderness gas powered hedgers, and chain saws are used. As always, the McCloud is used to work the tread. So if living in the forest with no cell reception, with your trail crew family, maybe getting poison oak, ticks, etc., and hiking and working hard all day sounds fun, contact the Los Padres Forest Association. Throw your name into the hard hat - info@LPForest.org

Anotado en 24 de septiembre de 2021 a las 08:28 PM por leafybye leafybye | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

12 de septiembre de 2021

A drive to Carrizo Plain and an isolated thunderstorm over Soda Lake on a hot early September day, 2021

A Big Drive in SLO County, September 9, 2021.

Soon I will be working full time again, so I decided to take a drive to the eastern part of the San Luis Obispo County to see what it looks like in late Summer, and to take in the ever beautiful sky over Carrizo Plain and the adjoining mountains. Also, I wanted to see the Carrizo Plain National Monument eastern end, and see what plants I could find.

I live in the western part of SLO County, and I started on highway 101 south, to east on highway 166. I took a couple of roadside stops, first to look a large patch of Salvia apiana, and then to see the Lepidospartum sqamatum that grows along the road. This highway follows the Cuyama River and associated valley, which is the approximate north-south boundary between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Thus, I believe, in general, when the road is on the south side of the river, it is in Santa Barbara County, and when 166 is on the north side of the river, it is in SLO County. The gps metadata on my photos seem to support this.

Next I turned onto Soda Lake Road, drove 2 miles to the monument boundary, and had a look at an informational sign about a nearby sag pond caused by the San Andreas Fault. At the parking for this kiosk, I spotted a couple of small Stephanomeria. Lately, I have been trying to learn this Genus using the Jepson eFlora. It is sometimes hard to use, but several factors concerning the pappus had me settle on Stephanomeria exigua ssp. exigua. Along the dried up alkali sink (the sag pond), I found an Atriplex species (I need to study this Genus better), the invasive Tamarix ramosissima, and something in the genus Sueda. There was a very white leaved Astragalus that I have yet to identify. I took a look at the large stands of the Ephedra californica known for this part of the monument and the southern Temblor Range. Isocoma acradenia var. acradenia is flowering all over the valley floor of the monument now.

Next, I drove on Soda Lake road to KCL Campground. When I arrived a Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus was there, and the hot wind was picking up. A Cucurbita palmata was growing near the entrance. I hiked up a small hill to take in the clouds over the plains, and the Caliente Range. This day there were various Cumulus clouds, probably Cumulus humilis, but also later turning into Cumulus congestus. Also higher, beautiful Cirrus clouds were streaked across the sky, along with the ripply Cirrocumulus undulatus. On the hill I found Eriogonum fasciculatum (the white leaf type) and Lagophylla ramosissima.

Then I drove the rest of the way on Soda Lake Road to highway 58, then back to highway 101. Along Soda Lake Road were plenty of Datura wrightii and Isocoma acradenia. The insects, such as Dasymutilla aureola (Pacific Velvet Ant) find a good place to be on Helianthus annuus, the Common Sunflower. Outside of cultivation, the Common Sunflower is actually a wild and native plant. It is mentioned by Robert F. Hoover as being wild in the area in The Vascular Plants of San Luis Obispo County, California. Of course, the common sunflower is cultivated, but it can also be found in the wild. I think the two plants I observed this day were the wild type. The disk flowers are especially beautiful, and the entire head of flowers is always a favorite of mine, whether in cultivation or in the wild. The pattern is fractal like. The Genus Helianthus is from the Americas, with three species native to South America, and the rest native to Central and North America.

To my surprise and delight, a little thunderstorm developed over Soda Lake! I stopped at Soda Lake, and some drops of rain hit my car, and myself. I walked out through the pickleweed shrubs (I need to ID, right now I have it in Subfamily Salicornioideae), and a dust storm with some moisture blew over me. I could see the Cumulus congestus clouds with dark grey sheets of rain over the lake, and later as I drove past the rest of the lake, the storm moved off toward the Temblor Range and left some very wet spots on the road and earth.

I stopped at Shell Creek along highway 58 to photograph Centromadia pungens and Trichostema lanceolatum, and finally near the junction of 229 to photograph Malacothamnus niveus, Artemisia douglasiana, and desiccated Acourtia microcephala. I saw another wild buckwheat along the road, maybe Eriogonum nudum or E. elongatum, but I didn't stop to photograph it!

The entire trip with lunch took about 5.5 hours, but I would normally give myself 6-8 hours to allow more time to stop and look at stuff. It was a big loop around part of San Luis Obispo County!

If you see this, and have any identifications or comments, I appreciate it!

Cheers,

Leif

Anotado en 12 de septiembre de 2021 a las 05:41 PM por leafybye leafybye | 32 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de febrero de 2021

Oppose New Development at Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area, Comments due March 18

Hello friends in conservation of biodiversity and habitat!
The draft Oceano Dunes Public Works Plan and Environmental Impact Report is out.
The plan is BAD NEWS for the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area!

Please email your comments now to the California Coastal Commission and State Parks by March 18:

OceanoDunesReview@coastal.ca.gov AND OceanoDunes.PWP.EIR@parks.ca.gov

BACKGROUND:
State Parks wants to put in a HUGE campground next to Oso Flaco Lake, bringing an impact on water tables, water quality, trash, and the introduction of dog waste to the area. For example, in their "future" plan, it includes:

"3.3.7 Oso Flaco (Future) Improvement Project
Up to 200 RV campsites with 12 combination (restroom and shower) buildings."

See Appendix A1. - https://www.oceanodunespwp.com/en/documents/draft-eir

This good word from Kara at Friends Of Oso Flaco Lake:
"The California Coastal Commission just released its staff report on the State Parks draft PWP/EIR. See that report here:

https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/assets/oceano-dunes/Commission%20staff%20recommendation%20synopsis%20and%20executive%20summary.pdf

The report generally rejects the draft PWP/EIR and calls for the five-year phase out of off-highway vehicles at Oceano Dunes. As stated in the FOOFL (Friends Of Oso Flaco Lake) letter, this staff report and its recommendations have been a long time coming; it’s the right answer for the Central Coast, from the perspective of public health, economic vitality for the region, wildlife protection, environmental justice, community fairness, and access to the beach and coast, for all people."

See their great Power Point - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cR8bLbpiaOvPM7RmW9bWBtKgazhPhgrm/view?usp=sharing

Sample Letter -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B0POqiCZn16_1wAb9cteXkyzY3TyiErv/view?usp=sharing

Now, to focus on threats to Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area species of concern!

Simply put, the water quality and water table levels are already an issue, especially with Cirsium scariosum var. loncholepis, the La Graciosa thistle.

Out of 23 known occurrences, 2 are extirpated (gone forever from that location), and 12 are presumed extirpated.

http://www.rareplants.cnps.org/detail/487.html

QUOTE": "Threatened by development, vehicles, groundwater pumping, and non-native plants. Possibly threatened by grazing."

I disagree with digging a new well for the State Parks proposed PWP that includes flush toilets, and staff offices and housing.

I think we need to instead, A) monitor water quality B) actively use technology to remove nitrates from the water entering the watershed from the agricultural fields.

In Santa Maria, there is a bio-filter that catches farm field runoff before the water enters the Santa Maria River. This greatly reduces nitrates. The microorganisms in the marshy areas of Oso Flaco Lake are the primordial lowest level food chain creatures, and they are sensitive to water quality also.

For decades people have been attempting to restore and protect Little Oso Flaco Lake, Oso Flaco Lake, and Oso Flaco Creek. These are rare dune lakes found in a rare habitat - The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes

The Oso Flaco Lake Natural area, is part of this 18 mile dune complex, and is an 800 acre parcel to the immediate north of the existing Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/guadalupe-nipomo_dunes/

QUOTE from the page:
"Did you know?
There are at least 26 imperiled plants and 118 imperiled animals that can be found on the refuge and surrounding dune habitats."

There was an extensive survey of much of the dune complex (aprox. 8,330 acres) that is eligible to be included in the Refuge, should the existing land owners cooperate. For example, The California Department of Parks and Recreation (aka State Parks) who owns the 800 acre Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area parcel, could, if they chose to do so, grant an easement, donate, or sell the parcel to become part of the existing refuge, and managed as a whole along with the existing land immediately adjacent to the south. The details and the comprehensive plans for conservation, as well as lists of species can be found here:
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/what_we_do/planning.html

When land is included in a National Wildlife Refuge, certain passive recreation, that is dependent on the resource, is usually allowed. These may include wildlife photography, hiking, fishing, hunting, and primitive camping. This would not include developed camping.

So, tell State Parks to do the right thing, donate the existing 800 acre parcel to be managed under the existing Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, and don't propose any development that is not in compliance with a National Wildlife Refuge plan. https://www.fws.gov/refuges/

As I mentioned, some of my main concerns with allowing what State Parks wants to do to the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area include the impact to the La Graciosa thistle (federally listed as endangered). This plant already had populations extirpated in the area from illegal OHV use in the 1970's. Of course the Western Snowy Plover with only about 2,600 individuals left makes a home in the foredunes here.

As I mentioned in this journal post (https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/leafybye/29041-the-natural-resources-of-the-nipomo-dunes-and-wetlands-california-department-of-fish-and-game-1976) in 1976 a joint report from the California Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, named "The natural resources of the Nipomo Dunes and Wetlands" explained that due to unregulated OHV use around Little Oso Flaco Lake, the vegetation was destroyed, and then the once stabilized dunes became active. Once the dunes started to move, scientists noticed excess siltation in Little Oso Flaco Lake (upstream from Oso Flaco Lake). The volume of the lakes was on the decline, and something needed to be done.

For decades after, The Nature Conservancy and volunteers were the ones who worked on the restoration, not State Parks. Then The Nature Conservancy handed over the restoration to State Parks, who promised to continue the work. History is here:

https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/guadalupe-nipomo-dunes/

I went to the Santa Maria Library and found the history on conservation, here are some scanned articles:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ESnFY5azKC718xgF59PQoCGfWarzkXSz?usp=sharing

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/Wildlife_and_Habitat/Wildlife.html

Some Federal Species of Concern in the Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area are;

Point Conception Jerusalem Cricket, Sandy Beach Tiger Beetle, Rude's Longhorn Beetle, White Sand Bear Scarab Beetle, Globose Dune Beetle, Morro Bay Blue Butterfly, Smith Blue Butterfly, Oso Flaco Patch Checkerspot Butterfly, Oso Flaco Flightless Moth, Oso Flaco Robberfly, California Toad, Western Spadefoot Toad, California Tiger Salamander.

Also, there are many species of year-round and migratory birds who visit the lakes.

California least tern (Sternula antillarum browni) - federally endangered
western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) - federally threatened
American peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) - state fully protected
California brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis occidentalis) - state fully protected

golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) - state fully protected
white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus) - state fully protected
northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) - state fully protected

I have also seen the Salmon running in the lake! Once entire parts of the lake were splashing with them a couple of years ago!

The report from 1976 mentioned that the invertebrates of the Oso Flaco Lake area are among the least studied organisms of the area.

So, before allowing developers to change the area forever, let us instead conserve it AS IS, and study it further.

Kara said:
"The California Coastal Commission hearing on the draft PWP/EIR is March 18, 2021, and it will be historic. Don’t miss it – for more details, visit: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/oceano-dunes/

check out this SLO Tribune article, hot off the press: https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/environment/article249317740.html"

Thanks so much for helping save this international treasure,

Leif Behrmann

P.S. Again...

Power Point - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cR8bLbpiaOvPM7RmW9bWBtKgazhPhgrm/view?usp=sharing

Sample Letter -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B0POqiCZn16_1wAb9cteXkyzY3TyiErv/view?usp=sharing

Anotado en 27 de febrero de 2021 a las 06:53 PM por leafybye leafybye | 31 observaciones | 19 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de noviembre de 2019

The natural resources of the Nipomo Dunes and Wetlands, California Department of Fish and Game, 1976

http://aquaticcommons.org/551/
http://aquaticcommons.org/551/1/natural_resources_of_the_nipomo_dunes.pdf
I stumbled on this. A good report with lists and maps in appendices. Please read if you are interested in the conservation of the Coastal Dunes and Wetlands or just interested.

I will try to add species mentioned in the report below, although there are many.

Anotado en 26 de noviembre de 2019 a las 06:51 AM por leafybye leafybye | 72 observaciones | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de abril de 2019

An interesting patch of Lupinus bicolor.

The other day I was driving around and I thought I saw white Lupine. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a very large form of Lupinus bicolor. The so called miniature Lupine can be not very miniature at all!

Most of these were not white as I had thought, but very pale blue, instead of the usual darker blue. A small few were the usual darker blue, as you can see below.

I checked the plant against the key to be sure. The banner is tapered and is longer than wide. The keel is ciliate from middle to tip. The flowers are whorled, of course. This one is fruiting, some quite large.

The plants grow up to 30 cm. The pedicel is quite long for L. bicolor at 3.5 mm or so.

Anotado en 04 de abril de 2019 a las 07:09 AM por leafybye leafybye | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de marzo de 2019

The misidentification of Lupinus nanus or Lupinus bicolor

Are you good with Lupine sp. ?

Last year, and this year I practiced using the Jepson eFlora key to Lupinus. I identified several annuals and learned the main difference to confirm between L. nanus, and L. bicolor is the proportion of the banner petal. There are others on the key with a similar banner to L. bicolor, but I didn't expect to see them in the area I was looking, so I could safely ignore those.

Between L. nanus and L. bicolor the keel margin cilia are about the same. In L. nanus the banner is about as wide as long, or slightly wider than long. In L. bicolor the banner is longer than wide. Sometimes it is obvious. Once you get to know the local population, it is clear, as well.

L. nanus are generally larger, more densely packed whorls, and very fragrant in my experience. They also form large groups of plants. L. bicolor is usually smaller, and less dense. There are some other annuals in the branch of the key that L. bicolor is in, so you also check for a tooth on the keel. But I think the species in that group are not around San Luis Obispo County, if I recall correctly.

All this to say, if I look through all the observations of L. bicolor, I easily find many I'm sure are L. nanus to my eyes. People confirm their ID, and others jump on, but then they can't always explain why they made the choice. I think they're just looking at photos.

Then, north of here (San Mateo County, and north), apparently the banner on L. bicolor can look less narrow than smaller ones I've seen further south. At least from what I see people posting, and they assure me it is L. bicolor, but I can't tell by their photo.

Let's all please be more careful with these because they look so similar.

Thoughts?

Anotado en 07 de marzo de 2019 a las 06:05 PM por leafybye leafybye | 9 observaciones | 50 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de marzo de 2019

Amblyopappus pusillus, please look for this plant.

I'm reading Shore Wildflowers of California, Oregon, and Washington, by Philip A. Munz, and he mentioned some species I would like to find. If anyone out there sees them, let me know. I suppose I could create a project for it, but we will see.

Family Asteraceae;

Amblyopappus pusillus
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/75404-Amblyopappus-pusillus
Very small heads, no ray flowers, only minute , tubular disk flowers. Entire or somewhat divided leaves. On beaches, old dunes, and bluffs coastal SLO County to Baja. Flowering March - June. (Rephrased from Munz).

Anotado en 05 de marzo de 2019 a las 09:07 PM por leafybye leafybye | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de febrero de 2019

Recommended books to identify plants in the San Luis Obispo County area.

A beautiful introduction to the area is Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo, California, Edited by David J. Keil, PH.D. which is an excellent modern book with great color photos, and was "a cooperative project of the City of San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Chapter of the California Native Plant Society." (page 5) Any book by the CNPS is very good, by the way. They are a good organization, with a respected history, and dedicated to preserving and cataloging California natives, and watching invasives.

Central Coast Wildflowers, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara Counties of California by Mary Coffeen is also very good, with nice descriptions, and color plates. A little older, so check for scientific name updates online, perhaps by searching Calflora, but also the Jepson online should have a history of changes.

For the dunes, try Dune Mother's Wildflower Guide, Dunes of Coastal San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Counties, California, by Malcolm McLeod, California Native Plant Society. Excellent.

For the keys, use the Jepson online.

Anotado en 26 de febrero de 2019 a las 04:46 AM por leafybye leafybye | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario