Newsletter 2006 July – August

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

July/August 2006



2006 Orange County Fair—July 7 to July 30

An enjoyable and exciting annual tradition: the O.C. Fair! This year’s theme is bound to be fun, decorative, and demonstrative of the beautiful abundance in California—Flower Power! Of course, what would a fair with this direction be if it did not include representation from the society that promotes California’s very first flora?

Our display, tucked away in the far corner of the Flower Pavilion, is worth the walk. A leisurely—and air-conditioned!—saunter past tasteful flower arrangements, a skilled dried flower artist, and a fun crafts booth will take you to the oasis of California native plants from the Tree of Life Nursery. Replete with helpful suggestions and illuminating comments on creating your own native garden, we only hope that you will do us the favor of picking up the new CNPS membership brochure to share with family and friends, so they can unite with us in the exploration and preservation of California’s original natural glory.

—Laura Hernandez, Guest Editor*


Conservation Report

Field Trips

Local Parks


Jul 13…….BoardMtng Jul 16… “California-Friendly” talk
Aug 17…….Board Mtng.Weed and Seed:

Thurs 10-1……………… UCI Arboretum

Any day, 8:30-noon……… Fullerton Arb

2nd Sat……………….. Irvine Open Space

3rd Sat………………………… Bolsa Chica

4th Sat……….. Upper Newport Backbay

Chapter meetings are held at the Irvine Ranch Water District headquarters at 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine. Doors open at 7 PM and the meeting begins at 7:30. Wildflower posters and a wide variety of books are available at the meetings.

Directions: From the Santa Ana Freeway (I 5) exit on Sand Canyon Road west. Pass Irvine Center Drive. Turn left at the next light onto Waterworks Road, then left into the IRWD parking lot. From the 405 exit east on Sand Canyon/Shady Canyon, turn right on Waterworks, left into the parking lot.


REMINDER: There are no chapter meetings in July and August. Meetings resume on September 20.

Planting vs. Planning

[Reprinted with permission from Tree of Life Nursery Email Newsletter]

Native plant enthusiasts such as you are very familiar with the summertime cautions—planting and watering in the summer must be approached sparingly and with great care. If you need a refresher on the details, please view our “Sage Advice,” “Summer Water,” and “How to Water Your Native Plants” at our website.

Since planting and watering are so minimal in the summer, what have you left to do? Summertime is the perfect time to make plans for plants. You might be starting your garden from scratch, planning another corner of your yard, or just inserting that one perfect plant into the perfect space. Good planning now will mean efficiency in the fall, before the pressure of the winter holidays!

Here is a handy summertime to-do list:

·        Complete your hardscape, or make a perfect mound.

·        Research your soil and plan soil amendments.

·        Plan and design your dry streambed, bird sanctuary, or chaparral mini-habitat.

·        Research and discover more native plants by getting out and hiking!

·        Plan a weekend and visit Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden or Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Stock up on (and read!) California landscape books, like California Native Plants for the Garden.

Check out useful websites, such as:

·        Metropolitan Water District’s: for landscape planning help, or

·        Michael Charter’s to see lots of native plant pictures (almost as good as getting out and hiking!), or

·        Our website

Visit us! We’re still open Thursdays and Fridays to the public throughout the summer. Our native plants are available for you to learn about or buy year-round. Our staff is very knowledgeable and would be glad to help with ideas or review of a landscape plan. In ‘Casa La Paz’ at Tree of Life, we carry hundreds of helpful books, all specifically related to California plants and climate.

All work aside, a good garden must be contemplated and appreciated! Spend some time in your garden, hopefully with your feet up and a cool drink nearby. Enjoy the birds and butterflies, and contemplate the enhancements you can make in the future.




The County of Orange’s Harbors, Beaches and Parks (HBP) is anxious to get lots of public input into the development of its new Strategic Plan. To get that input, Community Forums are being held in each Supervisorial District. All meetings have an Open House at 5:30 PM and a presentation at about 6:30. There will be refreshments, and a chance to win one of 3 Annual Park Passes. Upcoming Forums:

5th District, July 6, Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills.

3rd District, July 12, Irvine Regional Park Bandshell, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange.

If you live in Districts 1, 2, or 4 and missed the Forum (held during June) in your District, express your questions and concerns at What District do you live in? See map of Districts at

OCCNPS is a member of HBP’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), another part of the new Strategic Plan’s development. The SAC’s June 1 meeting mainly covered revision of HBP’ mission statement. (Many thanks to Bill Neill for representing OCCNPS at that meeting!) The next SAC meeting is scheduled for July 20; if you’d like to help represent OCCNPS on the SAC, please contact Celia Kutcher at, and many thanks!

The Supreme Court’s recent split decision on wetlands protection (see

printedition/asection/la-na-scotus20jun20,1,6748274.story) bodes ill for the Clean Water Act and for the decisions and precedents that have guided three decades’ worth of ecology-based wetlands restoration and management. Now lower courts must reconsider which wetlands are “waters of the U.S.” hence protected under federal waterways laws. This opens the door for lots of litigation. In addition, federal funds to States to implement the CWA will likely be reduced and the funding (hopefully?) made up by the states. In California (and probably elsewhere), the regional boards will be even more under-staffed.

OC doesn’t have extensive wetlands, so those we do have are all the more important. This Supreme Court decision could put OC’s small wetlands–especially vernal pools, isolated ponds and seasonal wetlands on intermittent streams—under even more threat than ever. ACTION NOW: Tell your Representative & Senators that you want the definition of wetlands, policies for their protection, and funding to support those policies to be stronger, not weaker.

At the CNPS Southern California Regional Conservation Conference, on June 17 in Calabasas, Conservation Chairs and other representatives of 5 SoCal Chapters began the process of figuring out how to fill the position of Regional Botanist, vacant since last fall. In-depth discussion resulted in committees formed to redefine the Botanist position and duties and to seek funding methods/sources. Current issues that need a strong CNPS input range from Tejon Ranch and Antelope Valley to Border Fields, and from Santa Clara to Anza-Borrego, and often overlap two or more chapters’ boundaries. Finding the right combination of funding, logistics and personnel to cover that territory and those issues is a challenge!


ALISO CREEK WATERSHED: The public input process for the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Resource Management Plan continues. See for info on the next workshop.

SADDLEBACK CANYONS: The Second Annual Tree Huggers’ Ball will rock the Canyons Saturday, July 15, 5-10 PM with delicious food and three live bands, all under a canopy of oak trees and summer starlight at Baker Canyon Ranch. Presented by the Canyon Land Conservation Fund and the Orange Hills Task Force, proceeds from this event will support the continued fight against irresponsible development and for the preservation of the wild and natural lands of OC’s backyard Santa Ana Mountains. Tickets: adults $35, kids 6-16 $15, under 6 free. Purchase tickets online at or send your check to Orange Hills Task Force, P.O. Box 2561, Orange, CA 92859. Phone: 714-649-2820; email:

SAN MATEO CREEK: In early May, Assemblymembers Pedro Nava, Lois Wolk, and Fran Pavley and Senator Christine Kehoe inserted language into the state budget proposal that would have prohibited the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency from building their proposed toll road extension through San Onofre State Beach. But in mid-June the Budget Conference Committee, made up of Senators and Assemblymembers, voted 6 to 0 to strike that language from the budget. This vote was a great disappointment to environmentalists, who have been fighting the toll road for years because it will severely damage the several rare species populations along the route, a large Native American sacred site, a very popular campground, and the world-class surf break at Trestles. Orange County officials have approved the $875-million project, but state and federal agencies have yet to do so. The state attorney general’s office and environmentalists have filed lawsuits challenging the plan’s EIR.

SANTA ANA RIVER: A guide book for the Santa Ana River, from Wilderness Press, is due out in September. The Wildlands Conservancy is partnering with Santa Ana on a large-scale restoration of a portion of the river between Memory Lane and 17th St. Contact:

TRABUCO DISTRICT: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) process on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project (LEAPS) continues. The extensive public record on the proposal is available in FERC’s eLibrary at Aerial photos with overlays showing the proposed dam site in Morrell Canyon, the alternate site in Decker Canyon, how much oak woodland would be lost in Morrell Canyon and where the transmission lines would run through the southern Santa Ana Mountains are at The DEIS’ comment period ended on April 25; the Final EIS is scheduled to be issued on July 20.

Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

[Contact Celia at if you can take on responsibility for monitoring an area near you.]



Visit, Local Chapters, to find trips offered by other chapters throughout the state.

Check the SCB website:


Crystal Cove State Park

Guided Backcountry Walks most Saturdays and Sundays. Meet at 9 AM at the El Moro Visitor Center. Parking is $10. 949.494.3539

The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy

For information about events, reservations, and directions, contact Laura Cohen or Michelle Thames at 949.489.9778 or visit

Laguna Coast Wilderness

Open to the public every day from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Maps provided for self-guided tours. Docent-led tours Saturdays. Parking $3. Call 949.494.9352 or visit

Irvine Ranch Land Reserve

For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 714.832.7478. Visit for a complete list.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

The Orange County Natural History Museum is located at the entrance to the park, 949.831.2790.

Thomas Riley Regional Park

For more information call 949.728.3420

The “California Friendly” Landscape
Sunday, July 16th, 6:15 – 7:30 PM
Irvine Ranch Water District,
15600 Sand Canyon, Irvine.

Presented by the Environmental Coalition

Tom Larson, an experienced arborist and urban forester from Dudek Engineering and Environmental, will discuss the details and science behind the “California Friendly” landscape, a program developed by the Metropolitan Water District for planting drought tolerant plants. Mr. Larson served on the Irvine Green Streets Team, a multi-agency team that developed the Sustainable Travelways report for the Great Park and Great Park surrounding communities.

The Environmental Coalition for the Orange County Great Park and Great Park Communities is an independent coalition of 16 regional Orange County environmental groups, as well as local groups and individuals with a specific interest in environmental issues at the Orange County Great Park and Great Park Communities.

The Coalition supports leading sustainable and regenerative ecological design practices at the Orange County Great Park and Great Park Communities. It assists with ideas, information, energy, advice, contacts, and support for environmentally friendly practices, working constructively as a productive community partner.

For more information regarding the Environmental Coalition for the Orange County Great Park and Great Park Communities, please contact Stephanie Pacheco at or 714-963-1658; Caprice De Lorm at or 949-859-8280, or check and click on “Coalition.”