Field Trip to Pixley Vernal Pools Preserve on April 2, 2023

*PIxley Vernal Pool Trip Returns on April 2!

We’re going ahead with the Pixley Vernal Pools event. Mary Merriman assures us that the roads are passable and that the flowers are popping with all the rain. The timing has changed to from 1-3 pm, but all other details remain the same. See below for details and directions to Pixley Vernal Pools Preserve.

Join Alta Peak Chapter of CNPS for a morning of exploring Pixley Vernal Pools Preserve, a small
relatively unknown remnant habitat of 40 acres, where we will photograph and ID as many
plants as possible. A historical plant list will be provided to participants and we may be able to
add to it or to discover which plants are no longer there.

photo from Mary Merriman

Vernal pools, small jewels of diversity in a sea of monoculture, are rare remnants of a previously
common habitat in the Central Valley. These pools are underlain with a layer of hardpan–impermeable clay soils–where rainwater remains for weeks or months after storms come
through. They are preserved in only a few locations in Tulare County because most of the
hardpan was deep-ripped for agriculture. A unique biome of fairy shrimp, spade foot toad and
small delicate plants have evolved here. In spring, these plants can bloom in rings around the
pools, layers of blue Downingia close to the water, then swales of Goldfields species and
Popcorn Flower. Uncommon flowers thrive here and these pools have not been heavily

The ground is uneven and may also be wet so you may want to bring walking sticks and shoes
that can get wet. Bring layered clothing appropriate for the weather, sun protection, water and
snacks and your “looking eyes”. We will try not to trample the pools. Binoculars can be helpful.

Directions from the north from Hwy 99: Take the exit for Ave 120, going east (left) to Rd 152.
Rd 152 is signed as J15 on Google. Turn south (right) on Rd 152. Continue on Rd 152 to Ave
104. It is a tiny sign so be on the lookout. On Ave 104 turn east (left). The first paved road
going north on the left is Rd 160. There are almond trees on all 4 corners in different ages and
an ag pond on the right. There is no street sign so we will put out Alta Peak sandwich board at
the intersection. Turn north (left) here. In about a quarter mile you will see a field of grass on the
right. This is the Preserve. It is OK to park in the wide dirt on Rd 160

From Porterville or Springville, follow Hwy 190 to the intersection with Rd 152 (J15). Turn south
and follow the above directions from Rd 152.

From the south on 99, take the Terra Bella Ave exit, (Ave 96 or J24). Go east (right) to Rd 152
and turn north (left). Turn east (right) on Ave 104. Turn at the first unmarked but paved road to
the north (left)

We appreciate an RSVP but that is not required.
We do require signing a waiver of liability on site.
Contact person is Mary Merriman at 559 679-9152.