UC Natural Reserve System logo
April 2017
Bodega Marine Reserve is the wet and wild backdrop for eye-opening courses on coastal marine research and marine invertebrates. The chance to get hands, feet, and wetsuits soaked while conducting experiments on crabs, snails, anemones, and other residents of reserve shores keeps students eager to discover more. 

Reptile rescue

Bulldozers clearing land for a new development in the Coachella Valley threatened to displace a community of desert reptiles this March. Then in stepped the NRS's Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Fish and Wildlife, and members of the local community to capture and relocate many of the lizards. Their efforts netted more than 200 desert iguanas and 47 federally endangered Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizards. Reserve director Al Muth and reserve biologist Mark Fisher used fishing rods tipped with tiny nooses to capture the lizards. The scientists have permits to handle the endangered species. The fringe-toed lizards were marked and released on a site approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The desert iguanas were released at another site dotted with spring wildflowers. Kudos to the heroic rescuers!

McLaughlin Reserve Events

Unless listed otherwise, events meet at McLaughlin Natural Reserve, 26775 Morgan Valley Rd, Lower Lake

Apr. 9 Wildflower open house
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The 2015 fires and this winter's record rainfall should conspire to produce spectacular wildflower displays. Catch early-season blooms at this opportunity to take a self-paced tour through some of McLaughlin's most botanically diverse grasslands. Staff will be on hand to help with directions and plant IDs, and to explain the natural history and management of this unique landscape.

Apr. 15 Grateful Dead hike
Hike to a seldom-visited scenic location in Lake County. This 3-mile, moderately strenuous route begins at the reserve, descends to a Hole Creek overlook, and hits the hike's eponymous rock outcropping. Prepare for a steep ascent to the top of the rock with sections of loose scree slope. Register at 707-252-3270 or napalandtrust.org

Apr. 15 Three Counties hike
Trek to a remote corner of the reserve where Napa, Yolo, and Lake counties meet. Cross wildflower-laden serpentine meadows and view interesting geologic formations, the remains of a nineteenth-century mercury mine, and unusual plans such as California nutmeg. The five-mile hike is moderately strenuous. Register at 707-252-3270 or napalandtrust.org

Apr. 16 Campout 
Sign up for one or both hikes above, and join us for overnight camping and a group potluck at reserve headquarters. Sign up for each hike individually, then RSVP to Cathy Koehler to make reservations for the campout, which involves a nominal use fee.

Apr. 18 Lecture
7 p.m. Ukiah Garden Clubhouse, 1203 W. Clay, Ukiah
Paul Aigner, PhD, co-director of McLaughlin Reserve, will discuss how California's prairies, once dominated by wildflowers, were overtaken by annual European grasses that arrived with the Spanish more than 400 years ago. A decade of native prairie restoration at the reserve has shown that success depends on soil conditions and past land use. Presented by the Sanhedrin chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Free and open to the public.


White Mountain Public Lectures

Free and open to the public, the White Mountain Public Lecture Series is held at 7 p.m. at Owens Valley Station, White Mountain Research Center, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop CA 93514, 760-873-4344. For directions see the WMRC Travel page.

Apr. 13
Nine years of bird surveys on the lower Colorado River
Amy Leist, Project Manager, Lower Colorado River Riparian Birds Project, Great Basin Bird Observatory

Apr. 20
Western Great Basin landscapes as climatic time machines
Ben Hatchett, Postdoctoral Fellow Meteorology, Desert Research Institute

Sedgwick Reserve Events

Apr. 8  Sedgwick Reserve Public Hikes
2  p.m. 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez

Easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes led by docents who will describe the reserve's geological and ecological features are available. Please register in advance.

Apr. 21 Walking Ecology Lecture Series
Species of seeds and drought "docent experiment"
9 a.m.-noon Sedgwick Reserve, 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez

Madeline Nolan, is studying plant community ecology as a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara. She is interested in perennial grassland restoration in Southern California and incorporating climate change predictions into restoration planning. At Sedgwick Reserve, she is setting up two long-term restoration studies. The first explores how seed source diversity influences the establishment and growth of purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra) populations after restoration during extreme drought. The second experiment will reveal how functional diversity and seed bank removal techniques influence the invasion of perennial grassland communities by exotic annual grasses. Nolan will include how grassland restoration practices will shift due to climate change.


The desert is in super bloom at Anza-Borrego state park
Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
Los Angeles Times

California desert transforms during "super bloom"
Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
USA Today

The legend of Hank Pitcher
Coal Oil Point Reserve
Sedgwick Reserve

The Independent

California's wildflower super bloom
Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center

Battle against invasive mustard plant not finished
Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
The Press-Enterprise
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