Creekside Science

Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category

Creekside Science Tackles Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Habitat Across California

In Monarchs, Research, Restoration, Stewardship on August 23, 2020 at 9:49 am

The Western monarch butterfly population that overwinters in California is in a state of collapse from a panoply of causes, including pesticide use, climate change, land use-change, and deterioration of the overwintering sites along the coast.  Stu has been working with overwintering monarchs since 1990, using hemispherical (fisheye) photography to quantify canopy structure and map wind and sun exposure within the sites.  As of summer 2020, Creekside Science is assessing more than 20 monarch sites from Sonoma to Orange Counties, working with various cities, California State Parks, Resource Conservation Districts, and the Xerces Society to assess the current conditions of groves and to develop long-term management plans.  One fascinating aspect is that conserving monarchs requires thoughtful management of specific non-native eucalyptus forests, which the monarchs have occupied because eucalyptus groves provide the exacting microclimatic conditions sought by the butterflies.

Here is Stu with his venerable fisheye camera rig, while he and Chris were bushwhacking through the dense poison oak understory of a Eucalyptus grove at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur.  Stu had worked this site in 2001, and noted densification of the forest that will be captured with the fisheye photos and a novel application of LiDAR (laser mapping from aircraft).

A LiDAR image of Andrew Molera, looking like a 19th Century Japanese woodblock print, provides 3-D structural information.  Note the peaked roof of the Cooper Cabin, built in 1861, and the large trunks of the eucalyptus trees planted around the same time that the cabin was constructed.

Here is a fisheye photo from which canopy openings in different directions can be used to estimate wind and sun penetration.  The cabin is to the upper right, and the Santa Lucia Range can be seen through the large trees surrounding the cabin. 

A Butterfly’s World: A Video by Kirra Swenerton of Root Wisdom

In Bay Checkerspot, Rare species, Restoration on January 22, 2020 at 11:11 am

Kirra Swenerton highlighted the Bay checkerspot butterfly’s return to San Bruno Mountain in a video featuring a number of the butterfly’s life stages. Creekside Science is proud of the success of this project so far, and is looking forward to continued collaboration with Kirra and all other invested partners.

San Bruno Mountain Lupine Seeding Year 2

In Mission Blue Butterfly, Rare species, Research, Restoration, Stewardship on January 7, 2020 at 3:02 pm

In 2018 Creekside Science was awarded a Disney Butterfly Conservation Initiative grant for work with the federally endangered Mission blue butterfly (MBB). This grant covers work with MBB habitat, with a focus on restoration of the butterfly’s host lupine species.

In December 2019 Creekside Science staff and Kirra Swenerton (of Root Wisdom) installed 10 blocks of experimental seed plots on San Bruno Mountain using 50 Lupinus formosus and 50 Lupinus albifrons seeds each. In addition to those experimental plots, 10 operational plots were installed, each containing 50 seeds (25 of each species). Lastly, 3000 seeds (1,700 L. formosus and 1,300 L. albifrons) were set out in expansion plots elsewhere on the hill. These plots join last year’s Lupinus formosus experimental seeding trials to further our understanding of how best to establish lupines in MBB habitat. The seeds were propagated in the Creekside Science Conservation Nursery. This is all part of a regional, interagency conservation effort to support lupine diversification and habitat enhancement for the recovery of the MBB.  In cooperation with multiple agency partners, efforts to address known habitat enhancement challenges through updated host plant mapping, lupine seed amplification and experimental direct seeding strategies are underway.

Creekside Science Senior Biologist Christal Niederer Featured By California Department of Fish and Wildlife

In Rare species, Restoration, Stewardship on September 25, 2019 at 10:22 am

Christal Niederer was featured in a CNDDB Contributor Spotlight article this month that provides some background on how Christal became a vital member of Creekside Science as well as some information on some of our current projects.

According to the CDFW, “the goal of the CNDDB is to provide the most current information available on the state’s most imperiled elements of natural diversity and to provide tools to analyze these data.”

Christal has been a regular contributor to the database over the years, and she clearly articulates why this is the case: “It feels good to know you’re the current expert on a particular occurrence, especially if you’ve led a project to reestablish that taxon. Having your report change the occurrence from ‘presumed extirpated’ to ‘extant’ feels really good. I’m always amazed how much information is in the CNDDB when I need to look something up. We’re all so lucky to have this resource, and we need to take the time to keep it current.”

Enjoy the article!

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CNDDB/News/cnddb-contributor-spotlight-christal-niederer

2018 San Mateo Thornmint Update

In Rare species, Restoration, Stewardship on July 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

2018ThornmintPic2This has been an amazing year for San Mateo thornmint recovery. Creekside Science seeded a new location away from Edgewood Preserve this year, and had a strong showing with all plots occupied and 17% survivorship. We also seeded our three newer sites at Edgewood (for the third year), but for the first time did not seed the original site based on declining habitat quality. Our new sites are performing well, with every cohort increasing this year. The bottom line is we counted 19,187 thornmint at our five sites. This is up from last year’s project high of 7,549, and our project low of 249 in 2008.

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Metcalf Canyon Jewelflower on Tulare Hill

In Rare species, Restoration, Stewardship on July 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Federally endangered Metcalf Canyon jewelflower continues to passively recruit after three years of active seeding on Tulare Hill in San Jose. In 2017 we documented a total of 412 plants at our plots, which increased to 1,312 in 2018. An exciting find was an additional dozen reproductive plants more than 200 meters from our nearest plot, indicating the plant’s ability to disperse, flower, and fruit on their own.

Reintroduction of San Mateo Thornmint to Pulgas Ridge!

In Rare species, Restoration, Stewardship on January 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm

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For years, the federally endangered San Mateo thornmint was known from only one location at Edgewood Natural Preserve in Redwood City. In the last two seasons, Creekside Science has seeded three new locations within the Preserve, bringing the total number of San Mateo thornmint to 7,549 in May 2017, its highest since we began monitoring in 2007. This January, we seeded a new location at nearby Pulgas Ridge, thanks to funding and support from San Francisco Water, Power and Sewer. We hope to be instrumental in creating the five self-sustaining populations required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Plan to downlist this taxon. Other partners include Friends of Edgewood, Yerba Bioadvocacy, San Mateo County Parks, California Native Plant Society, U.C. Berkeley Botanical Garden, San Mateo County Parks Foundation, Mellam Family Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Bay Checkerspot Butterfly Returns to San Bruno Mountain!

In Bay Checkerspot, Climate Change, Nitrogen Deposition, Recognition and Media, Research, Restoration, Stewardship, Topoclimatic Studies on March 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

The federally threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly was extirpated from San Bruno BCB_Larva_lanceolata_munch_SBM 3-1-2017 4-51-20 PM (1)Mountain in the mid 1980s.  On March 2 and 3 2017, Creekside Science biologists collected 3630 caterpillars from Coyote Ridge in San Jose and released them on the main ridge of San Bruno Mountain.  The larvae immediately started munching English plantain, a  non-native used by other closely related checkerspot populations.  The cool coastal environment, robust perennial hostplant, and extensive habitat are encouraging aspects of this project.  This project may show that we can reintroduce extirpated species without the technical challenges and expense of restoring all historical conditions.

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Find the very hungry caterpillar!

Many thanks to the Disney Butterfly Conservation Initiative, US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Mateo County Parks and Recreation, and SF Bay Wildlife Society for financial and professional support.

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Reintroduction high above San Francisco International Airport. Bay checkerspot flight #1 will depart in late March!

Creekside Science Quino checkerspot work

In Research, Restoration, Stewardship on February 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Creekside Science is working in collaboration with numerous agencies and institutions, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Zoo, San Diego State University and Earth Discovery Institute, on reversing the decline of the critically endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in San Diego County.  Dr. Weiss has gone down to San Diego County a few times for field work, and he will be going again soon when the Quino checkerspot butterflies start flying. Please click here for more information.

New endangered San Mateo thornmint colonies seeded at Edgewood Natural Preserve

In Restoration on January 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

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On December 4, 2015, Creekside staff and Edgewood volunteers seeded three additional colonies of federal- and state-endangered San Mateo thornmint at Edgewood Natural Preserve. These additional colonies are key to preventing extinction of this annual forb which exists in the wild only at one additional colony at Edgewood. Funding for this project has been generously provided by the Friends of Edgewood.

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By January 8, 2016, all 80 square meter plots had some germinated thornmint in them.

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