Newsletter 2006 March – April

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

March/April 2006



Mar 16…………………. Chapter Mtng
Mar 18……………. Baker Canyon FT
Mar 19……………. Anza Borrego FT
Mar 26……………. Wind Wolves FT
Apr 1………………. TOL Plant Sale
Apr 6………………………. Board Mtng
Apr 15……………………….Mt Pinos FT postponed to May 13
Apr 20…………………. Chapter Mtng
Apr 21-23……………… Green Scene

Weed and Seed:

Thurs 10-1……………… UCI Arboretum

Any day, 8:30-noon……… Fullerton Arb

3rd Sat………………………… Bolsa Chica

4th Sat……….. Upper Newport Backbay

2nd Sat……………….. Irvine Open Space

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.


March 16 (Thursday)—Butterflies of Our Elfin Forest

Speaker: Larry Shaw

Hairstreaks, Dogfaces, Skippers, Coppers, and Metalmarks float among our canyons and hillsides. The colorful, jewel-like wings of these and all butterflies interest us as children, and they are able to defy gravity with so little effort! In school we are taught about the miracle of metamorphosis usually with butterflies as the example—what an interesting biology lesson! Later in life, we plant lovers, gain a deeper appreciation of the relationships between our local flora and the butterflies and how much each depends upon the other for survival.

Then there is our chaparral, a hillside plant community where full grown trees of over a hundred years age may only attain heights of 10 feet and gnarled trunks of Scrub Oak, Manzanita, Toyon, and Ceanothus add a grotesque beauty to that almost impenetrable green mantle lying over our north and east facing slopes. No wonder our chaparral is often referred to as the Elfin Forest.

So how do we provide a talk involving the native plants of our chaparral and butterflies? Simple—we invite Larry Shaw to present to us an intimate look at how local and migrating butterflies interact with the many plants that make up the chaparral found in our Santa Ana Mountains.

Larry Shaw is a noted lecturer in the field of natural history with an emphasis on insects. He has observed and photographed Orange County wildlife since childhood. Currently he is working for the Orange County Vector Control District as Assistant District Manager and Director of Operations. He is also the President of the Orange County Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, and volunteers in the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest.

April 20 (Thursday)—Secrets of the Chaparral

Speaker: Richard W. Halsey

Of all the distinct, natural communities in California, only one is found throughout the state. Chaparral is an association of remarkable plants shaped by summer drought, winter rain and an extremely fragile relationship with wildfire. It dominates foothills and mountain slopes from the Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon to the San Pedro Martir in Baja California, including a valuable wilderness retreat for all us plant lovers here in Orange County! It provides habitat for an amazing array of wildlife, serves as erosion control for hillsides and entire watersheds, allows for the recharge of underground water supplies and offers unique opportunities to remain connected to nature on a local level. It is also at the heart of discussions concerning urban interface issues and land development itself. In fact, the severe fires of 2003 have some people wondering if instead of treasuring and protecting our chaparral, it is something to be feared, something to be controlled, or maybe even removed? So is chaparral an unrivaled biological treasure for California or dangerous menace?

Join us as we explore chaparral’s unique natural history, revealing the truths concerning its many myths and surprising mysteries, how it represents such a vital link to nature for all Californians, and why the chaparral is where California will likely find its best and perhaps last chance to reclaim its wildness and preserve the quality of life made possible by the region’s natural, open spaces.

Richard W. Halsey earned undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in Environmental Studies and Anthropology in 1978. During graduate work at UC Berkeley he received teaching credentials in life, physical and social science and later a Master’s degree in education. He taught physics and chemistry in a private

institution, later moving to the public school system to teach biology. Over a period of twenty years, Mr. Halsey developed a successful field biology course focusing on chaparral and coastal sage scrub ecosystems. He was awarded San Diego City School District’s Teacher of Year in 1991 and a Christa McAuliffe Fellowship in 1993. Mr. Halsey left traditional education in 1998 to become a full time chaparral ecologist and to promote an appreciation for California’s chaparral environment. Halsey’s current research projects include post-fire plant population changes, effects of fuel age in brushland wildfire behavior (a joint study with the USGS), and the impact of increased fire frequency on the chaparral ecosystem. He works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History and coordinates education and research efforts through the California Chaparral Field Institute. His most recent publication is the book “Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California.” Mr. Halsey is also a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service.

(Check out his website for accurate and inspiring information about chaparral!




The West-Wide Energy Corridor Proposal is a new, huge, threat to public lands throughout California and the other 10 western states. Under Section 368 of the Energy Act of 2005 (passed by Congress last fall), the Depts. of Energy, Interior (Bureau of Land Management) and Agriculture (Forest Service) are evaluating where to place new energy transmission corridors on their lands. Designation of these corridors will also be based on comments from energy and utility companies and from the public.

Maps of existing and proposed corridors are at Written submittals on the various corridors are at

See the above link for Southern California Edison’s proposals, which include additional corridors in Cleveland, Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres National Forests, Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve. The proposed corridors would be at least one mile wide, with additional roads for access, and require vegetation management and clearing.
(Thanks to Gene Frick,, Co-Chair of Sierra Club’s Santa Ana Mts. Task Force, for all this info.)
ACTION NOW: Study the maps and documents (see links, above) to see where current and proposed energy corridors afflict our beleaguered backyard Santa Ana Mountains, and/or any other areas dear to your heart. Prepare to be a part of whatever action CNPS takes on this huge threat to our native wildlands.


Aliso Creek Watershed 1: The City of Mission Viejo has received a grant to work with the Army Corps of Engineers on an aquatic ecosystem restoration project in English Creek, an upper tributary of Aliso Creek. The project is in an early stage; it is part of an overall long-term project to improve water quality in the whole Aliso watershed and in the ocean at its mouth. ACTION NOW: If you live in Mission Viejo, especially in the vicinity of English Creek (it runs alongside Los Alisos Blvd. between Via Pera and Entidad), contact Joe Ames,, to become a part of the group that will meet soon to define a formal list of preferences for the types of improvements to be examined. Non-native vegetation removal will be among the improvements.

Aliso Creek Watershed 2: The Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Resource Management Plan (RMP) planning process is underway. The first public workshop was held on Feb. 21; others are scheduled:
– A Saturday or Sunday in March—Participant Field Visit and Workshop
– Wednesday, May 17, 2006—Public Workshop (date subject to change);
– Wednesday, July 26, 2006—Public Workshop (date subject to change).

The OC Resources and Development Management Department, Harbors, Beaches and Parks invites all individuals, interest groups, and stakeholders who would like to participate in this planning process to make a commitment to attend these workshops. Contact Joanne Quirk,, to get on the list. See for updates on the process.

San Mateo Creek: On Feb. 23, the Transportation Corridor Agency approved the 16-mile extension of the Foothill-South Toll Road through San Onofre State Beach and the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy by a vote of 12 to 3. Several environmental groups that opposed the extension have indicated their intent to sue over the environmental report. The state Attorney General’s Office may go to court as well.

Santa Ana River: Two upcoming events:
– Saturday, March 18—Got River? Community Workshop: “We need your voice to help plan the future of the river.” Organized by the Santa Ana River Watershed Alliance, the Trust for Public Land and Latino Health Access.
– Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20—River of Life Conference and River Day. The Santa Ana River Watershed Alliance will be hosting this Watershed Conference in celebration of Watershed Month. Registration is now available! To participate in either of these, contact Melanie Schlotterbeck, Or see

Trabuco District, Cleveland Nat’l Forest: Yeager Mesa and Eagle Canyon are two important (biologically and otherwise) inholdings in the District. They were acquired by the Trust for Public Land, then became part of a San Bernardino Mountains land trust. The two parcels are now being offered to the Forest Service for acquisition. In order for this acquisition to take place, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee must allocate $3 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
ACTION NOW: Write to the two Congressmen whose districts include the parcels and urge them to support the $3 million allocation from the Fund for this acquisition.
– Rep. Gary Miller, 1800 E. Lambert Rd, Ste. 150, Brea CA 92821 (Yeager Mesa)
– Rep. Ken Calvert, 3400 Central Ave, Ste 200, Riverside CA 92506 (Eagle Canyon)

Points to make:
– There will never be a better opportunity to buy these key inholdings at a considerable bargain.
– Acquisition of these inholdings will simplify District management of public safety, fire protection, and natural resources.
– Yeager Mesa, especially, is botanically important because it is home to several native plant species that are rare in Southern California. It should be afforded all the protection that Forest Service management can give.
– The Land and Water Conservation Fund was designed, mandated and fully funded specifically for important land acquisitions such as this. The Trabuco Ranger District has not benefited from this fund as much as it should and could.
– The Trabuco Ranger District is a very popular recreation and open space resource in heavily urbanized Southern California. Acquisition of these and all other inholdings will improve its ability to manage that resource.

Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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



To RSVP, call or email Sarah Jayne at 949.552.0691 or

March 18 (Saturday)Baker Canyon

From the 55 or Jamboree, go east on Chapman, which turns into Santiago Canyon Road past the 241 toll road. Continue east for just over five miles, passing Irvine Lake on the left, to Silverado Canyon Road. Turn left and go a few hundred feet to Blackstar Road. Turn left and go about 0.4 miles to Baker Canyon Road, the first paved road on the right. Turn right and go about 500′ to a fenced unpaved parking area. Park there. The lot will be open by 8:30 AM and locked again when the hike starts promptly at 9:00 AM. There are portable restrooms in the parking lot, but no other facilities in the area. This is a three-mile loop trail with a total elevation gain of about 400′. Bring water and snacks, sunscreen, hat, etc.— and umbrella? Rain date, March 25.

Leader: Dick Newell, The Nature Conservancy

March 19 (Sunday)—Anza Borrego

With or without flowers, the Anza Borrego desert is spectacular. Join the Riverside/San Bernadino Chapter for a look at this year’s blooms—or not. We’ll meet at 9:00 AM at the Visitor Center and proceed from there. Bring water, lunch, hat, sunscreen, etc. Please RSVP so that we will know to expect you.

From north Orange County take I 15 south from Corona. At Temecula, take Hwy 79 east to S 22 to Borrego Springs. From south county, take I 5 to Hwy 78 at Carlsbad. Take S 3 to Borrego Springs. Follow signs to the Visitor Center. Allow about 2-1/2 hours for the trip. Carpooling is advised.

March 26, (Sunday)—Motor Tour of the Wind Wolves Preserve

“…In the mid ’90s, The Wildlands Conservancy out-maneuvered many competing development interests and purchased more than 93,000 acres to create the largest privately owned nature preserve on the West Coast. Recent acquisitions have expanded the preserve to more than 97,000 acres.

On the San Joaquin Valley floor, the preserve is a 32-square-mile veritable sea of grasslands with remnant stands of saltbush. These grasslands are home to the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and one of the largest stands of the endangered Bakersfield cactus. Rolling grasslands rise from the valley floor and transition into classic California blue oak and valley oak savanna with extensive riparian wetlands. Pinyon-juniper woodland and chaparral can be found at medium and upper elevations along with pockets of big-cone spruce and ponderosa pine.” Source: The Wildlands Conservancy web site.

Our tour will begin at 12:00. This trip is limited to 10 people; an RSVP is required.

April 15 (Saturday)—Mt. Piños area–postponed to May 13

Chapter members Chuck and Marylyn Wembly have invited us to visit their home in the Mt. Piños area. A variety of walks are possible, from sunny to shady, meadow or woods. Their property is also a native garden in process, which offers a chance to discuss and compare gardening strategies in a different set of conditions.

Departure time from Orange County will be 8:00 AM. The trip takes about 2 ½ hours. We will carpool—directions will be supplied to the driver(s). An RSVP is required as Marilyn has kindly offered to provide a light lunch.

Trabuco Ranger District, Cleveland National Forest

Debra Clarke, Wilderness/Trails Manager for the Cleveland National Forest, needs people to hike with her. She is only allowed to hike 3 miles unaccompanied and is eager to walk all the trails in her district! She has set aside the following dates: Thursday, March 9, Wednesday, March 15, Friday, March 17, Wednesday, March 29, Monday, April 3, Tuesday, April 11, Friday, April 14, Tuesday, April 25, Monday, May 1. Tuesday, May 9, and Wednesday, May 17. If you are so fortunate as to be able to spend a day (or more!) with Debra, please contact her at (951) 736-1811 x 3227, (951) 736-3002 fax, or email:

Please see the Jan/Feb newsletter for information on local parks and reserves.


Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Beach has lost its volunteer Nursery coordinator. We are looking for a person who lives nearby and would love to shepherd a small team and fledgling nursery of California native plants. Please call Juana Mueller at 714-960-3354 to apply or give us any leads. Email: We hope to have someone in place by mid-April. THANK YOU!

Visit us at Green Scene at the Fullerton Arboretum, Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23.