Ecology Photo of the Month

The Morgan Fire of 2013 burned nearly 3,000 acres primarily on the east and south sides of Mount Diablo. In the spring of 2014 Nomad Ecology conducted a post-fire study of fire-following annual plants. In several of their plots fire poppy (Papaver californicum) was observed - an exciting find! Fire poppies haven’t been seen on Mount Diablo since after the 1977 fire, nearly 40 years ago.  


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    Critically Endangered Wildflower Discovered at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve - Plant on the Brink of Extinction 

    In 2005, the presumed extinct Mount Diablo buckwheat (Eriogonum truncatum)  was rediscovered at Mount Diablo after not being seen since 1936. Since 2005 it has been struggling to survive until now. In May, Heath Bartosh and Brian Peterson of Nomad Ecology were conducting botanical surveys on East Bay Regional Park District’s Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and found a second population of the Mount Diablo buckwheat. Unlike the sparse population of 100-200 plants at Mount Diablo, the new discovery site was estimated to include approximately 1.8 million plants – but in just two patches totaling approximately a half acre. 

    For more information see the Press Release here.

    An article from the San Francisco Chronicle here.

    An article from the East Bay Times here.


    The Livermore Tarplant Gets Endangered Species Status

    It was almost two years to the day, that Nomad Ecology Senior Botanist Heath Bartosh submitted a petition to list the Livermore tarplant (Deinandra bacigalupii) as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. Yesterday the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to give this very rare plant Endangered Status, following staff’s recommendation to do so! In two motions: 

    the Commission, pursuant to Section 2075.5 of the Fish and Game Code, found the information contained in the petition to list Livermore taplant (Deinandra bacigalupii), and the other information in the record before the Commission warrants listing Livermore tarplant as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act. 


    the Commission, authorizes publication of its intent to amend Section 670.2, Title 14, CCR, to add Livermore tarplant to the list of plants of California declared to be endangered.

    With this listing the Livermore tarplant has the highest level of protection in California, especially on private land. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Staff Summary from yesterday’s agenda can be seen here.

    This is a success that can be shared by all involved in the process but especially Jeb Bjerke (CDFW), Cherilyn Burton (CDFW), Jim Andre (CNPS), Greg Suba (CNPS), Bruce Baldwin (UC/JEPS), and Sue Bainbridge (UC/JEPS). Mr. Bjerke in particular worked diligently to move this process forward and provided an expert level review during this process, which inevitably resulted in his recommendation to list this species as Endangered.

    For more information on the Livermore tarplant see Bay Nature’s article, written by Eric Simon, The Tarweed Lives Happily Ever After. The California 

    It has almost been 10 years since a plant has been added to the California Endangered Species List and with this listing I hope there will be a resurgence of petition submittals.


    Morgan Fire Study - Annual Fire Followers

    Nomad Ecology senior botanist Heath Bartosh was featured as the front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle (5/14/14) discussing the recovery of vegetation on Mount Diablo resulting from the 2013 Morgan Fire.

    In May of 2014 Nomad Ecology conducted the first year of a post-fire study assessing species composition and changes in annual plant diversity over a three year period in this post-fire environment. This study will help in understanding how ephemeral fire-following plant diversity changes over time and expresses itself in various areas of the mountain in six different vegetation types. In total data will be recorded on 1,250 1x1 meter square quads. Nomad Ecology is thankful to California State Parks who has provided funding for the first two years of this three year study. 


    Keying With the Jepson Manual

    Nomad Principal and Senior Botanist will be giving a workshop on “Learning to Key With the Jepson Manual” This two-day course will help participants become familiar with this tome of botanical information in both classroom and field settings. Topics covered in the course include an overview of botanical terminology; navigating dichotomous keys; understanding species descriptions, ranges, and habitats; and applying what we have learned in the field.



    Sand Dunes of Oakley, California

    Friends of Marsh Creek General Meeting, February 2, 2012 7pm

    Liberty High School District Offices, 20 Oak Street, Brentwood

    Nomad Principal and Senior Botanist Heath Bartosh will be lecturing about the sandmounds of Oakley, California. These scattered deposits of wind-blown sands from the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers harbor an assemblage of unusual plants which constitute a vegetation community unique to this region, and which has largely gone unnoticed by the scientific community. While much of the dune area and attendant plants have been destroyed by development, significant pockets of intact habitat remain.