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Welcome to El Dorado Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Our chapter lies in El Dorado County on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, stretching from the foothills at the edge of the Sacramento Valley to the mountains at Echo Summit. Our chapter works to protect and teach about all native plants in the county, from rare to common. More.
Check out our Newsletter, bimonthly Meetings, and Spring and Summer Fieldtrips.
Drought: For information about native plant advantages in the garden and other resources, please click here.
May 26, Tues. 7 PM Meeting and Speaker
Speaker: Danny Slakey Rare Plant Treasure Hunting in El Dorado County
With over 2,300 rare plants in California, it’s all too easy to lose track of the most vulnerable ones. Enter CNPS botanists Danny Slakey and Aaron Sims. Since 2011 they have been in charge of the state CNPS' fledgling Rare Plant Treasure Hunt with the goal of seeking out critically rare species, determining whether and where they still exist, and ranking the most imperiled for conservation intervention. Join Danny Slakey as he showcases El Dorado County’s most rare plants, and learn how to become a treasure hunter. Location: Govt Bldg C conference room. Directions here.
Horkelia parryi, photo by Barry Breckling
May 30, Sat. 9 AM Weed Pull- Placerville Bike Trail
Help make the Placerville Bike Trail a torilis-free zone (T. avensis) and get a nice walk in to boot! Torilis, or "beggar's lice" is that nasty invasive weed with the sticky seed burrs that can cover socks.
WHERE: Meet at the bus station on Mosquito Road where the bike trail heads east toward Smith Flat. We could be walking the trail for a couple hours pulling and bagging Torilis as we find it (a reliable source has told me that it’s a manageable sized infestation). At most it could be a 4 mile out and back trip, or shorter if you get tired.
BRING: It would be a good idea to bring along water and a snack. Wear sensible footwear and maybe insect repellant. Long pants may be appropriate as the work may require kneeling if we find sizable infestions. I’ll bring plastic bags for everyone.
June 6, Sat. 8 AM - All Day, Caples Creek Hike/ Fieldtrip
Do you love flowers, forests, granite, and creeks? Join us as we explore beautiful Caples Canyon, and the proposed Caples Creek Wilderness. Read more about this very scenic hike.
July 16, Thurs. Weed Day at UC Davis
El Dorado County and Our Native Plants
El Dorado County lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Along the edge of the Great Valley, some grasslands contain vernal pools with a succession of spring-flowering annuals, while the lower foothills have areas of gabbro and serpentine soils which support special endemic plants, and the rivers and streams have lush riparian woodlands with a number of different species of shrubs and herbs. To the east of Pollock Pines we enjoy the Eldorado National Forest which offers a wide variety of destinations, from drought-tolerant foothill and montane chaparral to subalpine above 9000 ft in the Desolation Wilderness, to the shores of the largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe. Our Chapter covers lands west of Echo Summit, while the Lake Tahoe Chapter covers the Tahoe basin.
The California Native Plant Society is a state-wide organization dedicated to protecting the native vegetation that is too often seen as "in the way" when it comes time to bulldoze for a development! By joining, you will be getting to know the plants and learning their importance; then you too can contribute to the well-being and happiness of the community.
Next General Meeting: May 26, 2015 Speaker: Danny Slakey, Rare Plant Treasure Hunt-El Dorado County.
General meetings: 7:00 p.m, the fourth Tuesday of Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, and Nov. Chapter meetings are free and the public is always invited to attend. Meetings usually include a show-and-tell about one or more seasonally notable plants, announcements of upcoming chapter events and projects, and a speaker presentation. Refreshments are available. We hope that you will mingle and meet interesting new friends who share an interest in plants and the natural places of the surrounding foothills.
Meetings are held at the Planning Commission Room, Building C of the County Government Center, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. If approaching from Highway 50 on Fair Lane, turn left at the top of the hill onto Fairlane Court and drive down the hill to the large parking lot in front of Building C. The Planning Commission Room can be entered from the right side of the building's atrium.
Upcoming El Dorado Chapter CNPS Field Trips
We offer free field trips during Spring and Summer to many areas, and you are invited to attend. You don't need a science background to participate; most of our members are not formally trained botanists, simply people who enjoy learning about our native plants. Contact the trip leaders by the Wednesday prior to the hike if you wish to request a plant list and to let them know you're coming.
June 6, Sat. Caples Creek Proposed Wilderness- a shuttle hike.
Meeting Time and Location: 8:00 AM, meet at Fitch Rantz Bridge, Silver Fork Rd, (a short distance south of Silver Fork Campground). Most vehicles will be left at the bridge. We will then take as few vehicles as needed as shuttles up to Martin Meadows, where we begin the hike. (These cars will be picked up at end of day.)
Duration: All day.
Description: We will follow a lovely trail from Martin Meadows all the way down the hill, into Caples Canyon and continuing to the Fitch Rantz Bridge on Silver Fork Road. There are wonderful views of Caples Canyon and the surrounding granite. You can also get a view of the columnar rhyolite on the north side of Jake Schneider Meadow. Then we will have two trail choices- One choice has a good footbridge, and the other is just a log (or a swimming opportunity). But they both get you to the same place.
Level of Difficulty: 7-8 miles- almost all downhill! Some of trail is rocky.
Bring: This is a very scenic hike so don’t forget your camera. Lunch, water (and filter). Otherwise you need good hiking shoes or boots, and a walking stick, as there is some rocky rubbly trail. Hat, sunscreen, warm jacket, poncho? binoculars, bring a small flashlight, as last time we didn’t get back to the car until almost dark.
Other: Waypoints and maps can be provided. We can put people in touch with each other to arrange shuttles. Camping overnight prior to the hike might be easier for some. There is a small Forest Service Campground on Silver Fork. Martin Meadows (on Hwy 88) is a free campground. No water, but pit toilets are available.
This hike is not suitable for small children. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, but bring a leash.
Plants/Plant lists: Hike begins in the red fir forest, and descends through the canyon into the mixed conifer at Silver Fork. There is a seasonal pond, and a spring to explore. We will see a lot of both Tragedy Creek and Caples Creek. There is partial plant list - contact Annie to receive ahead of time.
Contact: Annie at agastache(at)att.net. Please let Annie know if you are going, and to obtain partial plant list.
June 27 (Saturday) Near Carson Pass, Alpine County
Stay tuned for details. Location will be whichever spot has the most incredible flowers at that time!
Follow the Example of Willis Jepson..."A scientific interest in at least certain features of our natural environment, as for example the trees, shrubs or herbaceous plants, directs one to useful and agreeable intellectual activity. Accurate and detailed knowledge of even a small area lifts the possessor out of the commonplace and enables him directly or indirectly to contribute to the well-being and happiness of his community."
-Willis Jepson, Trees of California, 1921
Our logo flower is the Pleasant Valley mariposa lily, Calochortus clavatus var. avius, a member of the Lily family that was once so common in the Pleasant Valley area of Placerville that people would dig them up for home landscaping. Now they are listed as 1B: Rare, threatened, or Endangered and can only be found in a dispersed population on the Eldorado National Forest, at one location in Placer County, and in eight small occurrences in Calaveras County. (Click on the thumbnail photo to open an enlarged photo.)
El Dorado County is updating the Biological Resources Policies and Implementation Measures in the County’s General Plan.
Agenda item: "Community Development Agency, Long Range Planning Division, recommending the Board consider the following: 1) Review and provide feedback on draft amendments to the Oak Woodlands Management Plan and General Plan policies as identified in the project scope of work adopted by the Board on March 11, 2014; and 2) Direct staff to return on June 22, 2015 to discuss the draft in lieu fee for oak woodland mitigation, to finalize a project description, and to adopt a Resolution of Intention to amend the General Plan and Oak Woodland Management Plan, thereby authorizing staff to proceed with environmental review for the project. (Est. Time: 3 hr.)"
Let the County Supervisors know you care and that oak woodland is valuable
Do you love our county oaks and appreciate their tremendous habitat potential? Do you enjoy living in a rural county? Or do you want to see current protections for those oaks, protections that were approved by voters with the 2004 General Plan, eliminated?
Remind the Supervisors:
- Existing residents matter
- Oak woodlands have tremendous value:
o Oaks are key species for supporting biodiversity
o Oak woodlands provide important ecosystem services
o Oak woodlands support property values
o Oak woodlands contribute to the general well-being of residents
Attend the Monday May 18 meeting or write a letter beforehand. Speak from your heart. The meeting is at 9 AM in the Board of Supervisor’s meeting room in Bldg A across from the library.
Background and what is being proposed
In the 2004 voter-approved El Dorado County General Plan, developers were limited in how much oak habitat they could destroy.
The county later tried to circumvent those protections, were sued by environmental groups and lost in appellate court.
Today, the county is attempting to amend the General Plan, in order to reduce the oak woodland protection in a way that is “litigation proof.” For this new approach, the “Biological Resources Policies Update” is being proposed to make changes that will “streamline the process” for large development projects. Let them know that Option A– retention- is the only acceptable alternative!
For example, with the General Plan currently, a certain percentage of oak woodlands must be retained on a parcel. The Biological Resources Policies Update would allow for a "two tiered" mitigation approach. Instead of retaining oaks, developers could pay an "in lieu fee" to the county, which would supposedly be used to purchase oak woodland property elsewhere, which property would be part of a conservation area. So they can say they are conserving oak woodlands while, actually, destroying them. Developers could conceivably cut down all the oaks on a property, and "mitigate" that with dollars.
Sadly, these “conservation areas” are often in remote areas that would not be developed anyway. The areas along Highway 50, the areas where we live and love the rural life, the areas that are actually under pressure for oak destruction- all those areas may end up with no oak woodland protection at all.
Again, only one option- Option A- retention- continues actual protection of oak woodlands.
How the process works
The whole amendment process began in March, 2014, when the Board approved a three year contract with the consulting firm Dudek. The Board approved Dudek’s ten decision points and a project timeline on I/13/2015. The Board has so far held three workshops to consider options and recommendations for each of the decision points, and has given direction to staff to prepare proposed policies and implementation measures based on those recommendations. These policies involve the treatment of all “Biological Resources” in the county, including oak woodlands, wetlands, rare plants, and wildlife.
The last workshop will be held on May 18, 2015 9AM. At this workshop the Board will consider and vote on staff’s policy and implementation recommendations. Public comment will be taken. It’s important that the conservation community have a presence at this workshop. We need to demonstrate our concern for the county’s native plants, wildlife, and the habitats they live in.
For further information, and to view the pertinent documents, visit the project website:
You can also contact CNPS member Mary Lou Giles mlgiles18(at)yahoo.com
Chapter board meetings are held to discuss business items concerning the chapter and its activities. Board meetings will be held on the third Tuesdays in January, March, April, May, June, July, September, October and November. Meetings are held at the El Dorado County Office of Education, 6767 Green Valley Road, Placerville. The meeting rooms are in the B complex (opposite the main office behind the flag pole), usually in B-1 or B-3, at 6:30 pm.
Copies of the minutes from board meetings can be requested from the Chapter Secretary or Chapter President.
Finding little information available for forest locations with access for wheelchairs? Here a few suggestions about places worth a visit for those who want to go see wildflowers, birds, or just get a breath of fresh air and enjoy a few hours in a forest. Take a look...