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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.
Tuesday July 28th, 2015 next general meeting
The Splendor of Our Foothill
Wildflowers - How Plants Create Color
Evan Jones will discuss the simple processes by which flowers use sunlight to produce a bewildering variety of colors and patterns. Evan taught physics at Sierra College in Rocklin. His Interests include applications of physics to bird flight and to the colors Of flowers. He is co-author of the trail guide "Take a Hike" and has written for the California Explorer and the Physics Teacher Magazine.
This program will be held on Tuesday, July 28, at 7 PM at the Planning Commission Room, Building C, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. The program is free to both members and the public. Directions and future meetings.
Wednesday July 29th, 2015
Help Protect the Lava Caps - Weed Pull
Georgetown District, Eldorado National Forest
Come join us to help remove hay and rice mulch accidentally spread on lava caps in the Georgetown District of the Eldorado National Forest in the King Fire areas. We need to pull weeds that the mulch is helping to spread. As many of you know, El Dorado CNPS members Annie Walker, Shellie Perry and Tripp Mikich have been carefully monitoring and surveying the Eldorado National Forest lava caps over the past few years.
Lava caps are special places in our forest. They are natural thin-soiled and rocky openings in the forest canopy. They feature incredibly beautiful spring wildflower shows and host plant communities unique in the forest. During post-King Fire road work, some lava caps near the Rubicon River were accidentally covered with rice straw mulch. The mulch has suppressed the native wildflowers and introduced non-native weeds like crabgrass and barnyard grass into these sensitive habitats.
Luckily, there are not that many weeds, so pulling them will be easy; finding them is the hard part. The more eyes we have to look, the better our chances of spotting the weeds before they has a chance to spread more seeds. This is not very strenuous work. Volunteers should wear boots or sturdy walking shoes, and comfortable long pants, as there is poison oak in some areas around the lava caps.
Meeting Time and Place: Those wishing to carpool can meet at the Georgetown library, 6680 Orleans St., at 8:45 A.M. to form carpools.
Directions to the worksite: From Georgetown, go out Wentworth Springs Rd., several miles past Stumpy Meadows Reservoir, and turn left on 11 Pines Rd. (There is a good sign, so you shouldn’t miss it.) Go down the canyon on 11 Pines Rd. As soon as you get to the far end of the bridge that crosses the Rubicon, CHECK YOUR MILEAGE. Continue on 11 Pines Rd. for 4.1 miles, to the intersection with (dirt) Rd. 13N39 on the right, and (dirt) Rd. 14N08C on the left. (The sign for Rd. 13N39 is down, which is why I said to check your mileage.) We will congregate at that spot around 10:00 A.M., sign our volunteer forms, look at examples of the target weeds, and then proceed to the lava caps for some righteous destruction. Weed warriors rule!
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:
July 28, 2015 Speaker: Evan Jones, "The Splendor of Our Foothill Wildflowers." Read more
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. 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.
Directions: 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.
Sept. 22, 2015 7 PM Speaker: Karin Kaufman, "Landscaping After the Lawn"
As we dive deeper into the drought, replacing the thirsty lawns that surround us with water-wise alternatives is on more people's minds. At this presentation we will discuss some great options for replacing lawns including grasses that use less water than conventional turf grass, lawn substitutes, converting lawn areas to beds filled with unthirsty, colorful plants, and outdoor living areas. We will also cover how to irrigate efficiently and methods to downsize or remove lawn. Karin Kaufman is a landscape architect from Nevada City specializing in sustainable landscape design (http://karinkaufman.net/). She last spoke to a standing-room only audience in Placerville in March 2014 on landscaping with native plants. In light of the ongoing drought, this year’s talk is especially relevant.
Nov. 24, 2015 7 PM Speaker: Dr. Joe DiTomaso, "Problematic and expanding invasive weed problems in the California foothills"
Some of the more problematic invasive plants within the foothills of California will be discussed with emphasis on their impacts on wildland ecosystems and native plant communities. This will include widespread problems such as yellow starthistle and other thistles, tree-of-heaven, perennial pepperweed, brooms, and others. In addition, new expanding weed problems, including stinkwort and oblong spurge, and their potential expansion and impacts will be discussed. Dr. DiTomaso is a UC cooperative extension specialist in non-crop weeds, Director of the Weed Research and Information Center at UC Davis, past president of the Weed Science Society of America, and senior author of the definitive two-volume guide to “Weeds of California and Other Western States”. To find out more about Dr. DiTomaso’s work, see: http://ucanr.edu/?facultyid=537
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.
Many 2015 spring and summer trips have already occurred. - please check back for new trips
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.
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
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 public workshop was held on May 18, 2015 and a decision was made at the June 22, 2015 Board meeting to go forward with the Draft EIR. We hope the document will demonstrate an adequate level of protection for the county’s native plants, wildlife, and the habitats they live in. Stay tuned and stay informed!
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...