Creekside Science

Archive for the ‘Stewardship’ Category

Reintroduction of San Mateo Thornmint to Pulgas Ridge!

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


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.

BCB_Larva_SBM_SF 3-2-2017 5-23-37 PM

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.

Kirra_SBM_SFO_larva 3-2-2017 4-46-55 PM

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.

Ardenwood Historic Farm Monarch Habitat Assessment

In Stewardship on January 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm


On January 6, 2017, Creekside Science began site assessment and habitat characterization of Monarch butterfly overwintering habitat at Ardenwood Historic Farm (East Bay Regional Parks District).

The primary goal of this project is to conserve the long-term integrity of winter roosting habitat for monarch butterflies at Ardenwood by developing comprehensive site stewardship plans.

Creekside Chief Scientist Flies High Once Again in the Name of Monarch Stewardship

In Stewardship on December 28, 2016 at 5:11 pm

In December 2016 Creekside Chief Scientist Dr. Stuart Weiss was hoisted high into the sky by way of a bucket truck to facilitate Monarch habitat assessment work at Rob Hill in the Presidio. Creekside Science is engaged in canopy characterization to assess seasonal solar radiation, temperature and wind conditions in Monarch butterfly overwintering habitat.

Hemispherical photography conducted at different elevations increases our understanding of overall habitat structure and what conditions the butterflies require. This information guides comprehensive site-specific adaptive management plans.

Dr. Weiss was happy to check this off his bucket list!

Pacific Grove Monarchs 2015-2016

In Stewardship on January 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Monarch_Buddelya 10-21-2015 1-32-29 PM

Stu and city staff from Pacific Grove successfully completed another year of adaptive management at Monarch Grove Sanctuary.  The monarchs returned (11,500 Thanksgiving count) and are taking advantage of the wind shelter provided by blue gum trees planted in 1999, and sipping from the nectar gardens.  Stu continues to network with other monarch scientists around the world.

Creekside Science completes 30 year review of San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan

In Stewardship on November 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm


This fall, Creekside Science submitted their final draft of the 30-year review of the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This HCP, approved in 1982, was the first ever such agreement. Now, there are more than 500 HCPs nationwide.  Although both the HCP planning and implementation process has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, there are many lessons that remain pertinent.

With the case of San Bruno Mountain, we conclude that the core butterfly species are thriving and well monitored. Core populations are stable, although some peripheral populations are in decline. We recommend more stewardship needs to be directed towards reducing scrub encroachment in grasslands. Rare plants and rare plant habitat also needs more future attention.

The official announcement and the full document is located on the San Bruno County Parks Department site:



Medusahead Treatments Showing Success

In Restoration, Stewardship on June 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm

creekside pano of medusahead mow at edgewood 2014 smlWe are very excited to publicly report that our medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski) treatments at Edgewood Preserve have been an enormous success. Our treatments started in 2009 with medusahead infestations spanning some 5-6 acres of the preserve grasslands.  As we completed our 2014 seasonal mow, staff botanists observed only a few individuals throughout the treatment area. Our timed mowing has been extremely successful in reducing the invasive by > 99% according to our annual monitoring which occurs before any mowing.


ARS photo: Brett Bingham

The Friends of Edgewood have volunteered many hours in order to help reduce resprouts and find new nascent foci and make our efforts even more successful. Thanks to San Mateo County Parks, Friends of Edgewood and all our partners for the great work. We will continue to monitor the site to ensure medusahead is (hopefully) eradicated from the site! 

Barbed Goatgrass Control Research

In Stewardship on November 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

BGG mowing on Coyote Ridge Creekside

Creekside staff has been working diligently to control Barbed Goatgrass (Aegilops triuncialis) in occupied Bay Checkerspot habitat on Coyote Ridge. This annual grass occupies areas where important forbs (like host and nectar plants) may grow. Notably, BGG seems to form denser stands thus deteriorating Checkerspot habitat. We present the following findings (see PDF below) on BGG control which has mostly been successful and met project objectives.

Creekside Executive Summary on AETR control

Late Spring Rare Plant Monitoring

In Stewardship on June 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

Christal and the Creekside staff on Coyote Ridge monitoring the federally endangered Santa Clara Valley Liveforever (Dudleya abramsii ssp. setchelli). Creekside is using a macroplot methodology and conducting a complete census in 4 permanent plots.