March 25 Field Trip: Fire Effects in Blue Oak Woodland

Sunday, March 25, 2018 from 9:30 – 12:30 pm at the River Ridge Ranch in Springville

Gary Adest of River Ridge Institute, Alta Peak Chapter President Barbara Brydolf, and forest experts Nina Hemphill and Ernie Garcia will lead this field trip to see how the Pier Fire has changed blue oak (Quercus douglasii) woodland on the lower slopes of Lumreau Mountain. We will explore the effects of the fire on soil, vegetation, and wildlife, and discuss the function of fire in the landscape. Expect to see wildflowers on this walk.

Meet at 9:30 am in the lower parking lot of River Ridge Ranch, located at 37675 Balch Park Rd, on the east side of the road, 1.6 mi. north of the White Barn in Springville. The walk will be moderately strenuous, approximately 5 miles, with a 1000’ elevation gain. Bring lunch and water and dress appropriately.

[photo credit: River Ridge Institute]

Native Plant Landscape Plans for Tule River Parkway

Tule River Parkway Association Meeting
March 13, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Porterville Historic Museum (located at 257 North D Street in Porterville)

The Tule River Parkway Association (TRPA) invites anyone to attend this meeting, who is interested in preservation and restoration of the Tule River riparian corridor. TRPA will discuss partnering with the City of Porterville to submit a grant proposal to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The proposal will include plans for development for public use and for the installation and maintenance of eighteen native plant landscape gardens along the Tule River Parkway path. A landscape plan with specific native plants, to be planted in the cool months only, will be part of the grant proposal. Public input is welcome. The Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society enthusiastically supports this project.

For more information, email tulerivergarden@gmail.com or call Cathy Capone at 559-361-9164.

[“California Wild Rose” photo © Cathy Capone]

Adaptation of Plants, Animals and Humans to Wildfires: What to Expect Following the Pier Fire

Alta Peak Chapter events are free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 24, 2018  at 7pm (social time starts at 6:30)

Chapter Winter Program
“Adaptation of Plants, Animals and Humans to Wildfires:
What to Expect Following the Pier Fire”

with Dr. Jon Keeley, fire ecologist/research scientist for the United States Geological Survey
and adjunct professor UCLA

Springville Veterans’ Memorial Building on Hwy 190

Wildfires are a necessary part of the ecology of many wild landscapes in mediterranean-type climates across the globe, promoting healthy wildlands and biodiversity. After an explosive fire year in California, many questions arise as humans more commonly move into areas that are subject to burning. Dr. Keeley will provide an overview of the fire history of Sierra Nevada forests and shrublands, describing interesting ways plants and animals have adapted to survive wildfires. This talk will touch on important issues related to the wildland-urban interface, as well as the future in an era of global change.

Saturday, February 24, from 1-4 pm
Field Trip: Pier Fire Area

before Winter Program in Springville

Led by Jon Keeley and Barbara Brydolf, this field will be mostly driving along Hwy 190 above Springville with stops at various overlooks, and a short hike on steep terrain (this could be skipped by people who want to go on the excursion, but are unable to do the hike).

Meet at the Springville Veteran’s Memorial Building at 1 pm to caravan and carpool. Carpooling is encouraged, as pull-outs along Hwy 190 are limited.

After the field trip and before the program, join Chapter members for dinner at Nuevo Mexicali III restaurant in Springville, located at: 35258 Hwy 190.

Annual Native Plant Sale

The Alta Peak Chapter will hold its annual native plant sale on October 7, 2017, from 10-3 pm at the Three Rivers Arts Center on North Fork Drive. Chapter members will be admitted at 9 am for an earlybird opportunity to select plants. Also, Chapter members can pre-order plants at a 10% discount. Download pre-order form HERE.

Join the California Native Plant Society as an Alta Peak Chapter member at cnps.org

DIY Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

Plant photos by Melanie Keeley, from left to right:
yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica)
deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) and Idaho bluegrass (Festuca idahoensis)
Douglas iris (Iris douglasiana)


Saturday, August 26, 2017, from 9-2 pm
Instructors: Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone
College of the Sequoias in Visalia
(exact room will be given at time of registration)

Registration Fee: CNPS Members – $45, Non-members – $60.00
Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited.
Call 559-799-7438 for registration as well as questions.

The traditional garden of expansive lawns, and lolly-popped shrubs are a thing of the past. With California’s unpredictable precipitation, it is time for a new model that will work in this hot, arid climate. California native plants not only use a fraction of the water that typical gardens do, they are attractive and colorful as well. In this class, designed for native plant novices, we will help you learn

  • how to ditch your lawn
  • the best tried and true native plants
  • how to combine them for maximum effect
  • help you to design your own drought tolerant native garden.

With a plan in place, you can landscape your garden in manageable steps. It’s an opportunity to transition from a high care, water indulgent garden into a natural, sustainable low water use, beautiful garden.

By joining CNPS at this time, you’ll be eligible to pre-order native plants for the Annual Fall Plant Sale (October 7) at a 10% discount.



Native Plant Garden at the CAL Fire Station in Three Rivers, California
Created and supported by the Redbud Garden Club, maintained by firefighters

 

“Caring for Kaweah”
 A River Stewardship Program

The expansion of the invasive plant, Spanish broom, along the Kaweah River in recent years is cause for concern and has captured the attention of those who are considering doing something about it.  In fact, a growing list of individuals, private businesses and organizations, throughout Tulare County have begun planning the launch of “Caring for Kaweah,” a long-term project aimed at river stewardship.

Removing Spanish broom along the Kaweah River by Ginger BradshawRemoving Spanish Broom on September 24 near Sequoia National Park
photo by Ginger Bradshaw

The first of several proposed projects will focus on broom removal and was planned for National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  On September 24, 2016,  volunteers cut, pulled, and removed broom starting in Sequoia National Park and working downriver.  Considering that we rely on the Kaweah River for so much — water, recreation, relaxation, inspiration in addition to commerce, we are pulling together and giving back to keep our river healthy, free, wild, and beautiful.

Many Three Rivers locals and visitors have probably appreciated the colorful spring beauty of the non-native Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) blanketing the edge and creeping up the banks of the Kaweah River. Unfortunately, broom, a native to mediterranean-type climates, is aggressively invasive in our region because the insect pests and pathogens that would normally control its spread in its native range, are not present here. Due to the lack of natural control, it is rapidly becoming dominant in the river corridor, obscuring river views, and cloaking white sand, gravel, and smooth granite boulders under dense scrubby thickets. Recognizing the plant’s capacity to considerably alter the enjoyment and ecology of our Kaweah River watershed goes a long way to temper appreciation of its flowers.

Spanish broom, like other invasive species expanding into the river corridor, poses a significant threat to wildlands throughout California and is quickly becoming a thriving monoculture along the Kaweah River. One needs only to glance at the river in spring to note the extent to which it has spread. Bushes up to 10 feet tall now block views along lengthy river stretches. As broom grows, its vast root system usurps precious water, trapping sediment, altering river flows and obstructing river access to humans and animals alike. Unlike the native willow, sycamore, and alder it is displacing, it provides little in terms of shade. Its alkaloid-containing leaves and seeds are of little value to wildlife. stands of broom pose a significant fire hazard in this land of continual drought.

To participate or get more info, contact Jenny Kirk at jenny_kirk@nps.gov, or call (559) 565-4232. She will provide you with meeting location information for future outings.

Spanish Broom, invasive plant by Melanie KeeleyInvasive plant—Spanish Broom
photo by Melanie Keeley

The Flora, Fauna and Controversies of the Sepulveda Basin

Chapter Fall Program

A World Class Urban Restoration Project
The Flora, Fauna and Controversies of the Sepulveda Basin
Presented by Steve Hartman

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 7 pm

Social time and doors open at 6:30 pm
College of the Sequoias – Ponderosa Lecture Hall
(Free Parking in Lot #4 on NE Corner of Campus)
915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, California


Author and dedicated conservationist, Steve Hartman is a dynamic speaker, who is a native of Van Nuys, and has spent more than three decades watching the native flora and fauna return to the Sepulveda Basin. He has served on the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area’s Steering Committee (sponsored by L.A. City Recreation and Parks) since its inception. He has also served on numerous conservation and restoration projects throughout the state. He is currently President of the Board of Directors for CNPS

In 1990, the City of Los Angeles set aside the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve to protect native plants and animals. Over 200 species of birds have been seen in the basin. Many birds, attracted by the water, gather here in the fall and winter.

photo © Steve Hartmanphoto © Steve Hartman


Thousands of native plants have been planted in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. Many other plants have volunteered — meaning grew on their own from seeds, underground shoots, or from broken pieces of plant that rooted and took hold. While certain native plants have volunteered (coyote bush, mulefat, California walnut, elderberry, western ragwort, and mugwort), many non-native plants have also taken advantage of disturbed soils or the remoteness of certain areas to invade, and in some cases, threaten to take over the landscape. There are approximately 100 native California plants found in the Wildlife Reserve, and probably an equal number of non-native plants and weedy species.    Since the Reserve is located in a flood control basin that does indeed flood, weed management will be an ongoing practice: every time the Basin floods, every weed seed (and native seed as well) in the upper Los Angeles River watershed gets caught in the Basin. As the flood waters recede, a one-half to one-inch layer of silt is left, covering up every portion of the
Basin that was flooded. This silt layer is the perfect example of exposed disturbed soil, the kind of condition that weed seeds are highly adapted to and thus can easily germinate…that is, if the seeds are also exposed to light. So weed management will be a continuing effort in the Basin.

There are scant historical records depicting the habitat of the Sepulveda Basin before it was dammed in the 1940’s. While the soft-bottomed portion of the Los Angeles River has always been a “wildlife area,” it wasn’t until the late 1970’s when the Army Corp of Engineers began to revegetate the east portion of the Sepulveda Basin with California native plants. Since then, the 200-acre Wildlife Reserve was established and the Bull Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project was completed. Alas, in December of 2012, the Army Corp destroyed 43 acres of wildlife habitat.

Located in the San Fernando Valley near the intersection of the 101 and 405 Freeways, the 2,000-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is a flood control basin managed by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks. Features include two parks, an 80-acre sports field, an archery range, three 18-hole golf courses, Balboa Lake with boat rentals and fishing, the Balboa Park and Sports Center, playgrounds, a velodrome, bike paths, hiking trails, tennis courts, a Japanese garden, an off-leash dog park, a premiere wildlife preserve, and the only unpaved stretch of the Los Angeles River.