Like many military bases, the Presidio of San Francisco had a truly mixed bag of environmental effects on its land when it was an active military base. Military bases often preserve land from development, which is great, but also tend to contaminate soils, and bring in invasive plants both actively and passively. Since the decommissioning of the base, the National Park Service acquired the land. With the help of the Golden Gate National Parks Commission and the Presidio Trust, there has been massive remediation of the land to remove invasive plants, clean soils, and improve the habitat for native plants and animals. They have removed Eucalyptus and Cape Ivy, turned soils over, restored dunes, etc. In one particular spot, the endangered San Francisco Lessingia, which was once nearly extirpated, now thrives on restored dune habitat where a large stand of eucalyptus was removed.
In the fall of 2020, Creekside Science partnered with the Presidio Trust to monitor vegetation at several of these remediated sites. In most of these sites, we found high native plant cover and great habitat for both these plants and the native fauna. The Presidio is a remaining refuge for plants that were once likely more common before the development of the city of San Francisco. Thus, many of these native plants are rare, and some are even endemic to the Presidio itself. We were grateful to work with the knowledgeable and wonderful employees of the Trust on this important post-remediation monitoring, and learn a few new plants in the process! Thank you to the Presidio Trust for the opportunity, and especially to Esperanza Pimentel, Diony Gamoso, Amy Chong, and Marion Anthonisen, who led us through these amazing Presidio restoration sites!