|California Native Plant Society||http://www.cnps.org|
|Big Sur Land Trust||http://www.bigsurlandtrust.org|
|Don Roberson's bird site||http://www.montereybay.com/creagrus|
|Los Padres National Forest||http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/|
|Ventana Wilderness Society||http://www.ventanaws.org|
|Big Creek Reserve||http://www.redshift.com/~bigcreek|
|Ventana Wilderness Alliance||http://www.ventanawild.org|
I. Introduction to the symposium
II. Master list of participants
III. Notes of Symposium Proceedings
First Symposium - June 12, 1994
Second Symposium - March 3, 1995
Third Symposium December 8, 1995
Fourth Symposium September 6, 1996
Fifth Symposium May 16, 1997
V. Master Bibliography compiled from materials contributed by participants. Copies are also available from John Smiley at Big Creek (831-667-2543).
This conference arose from informal discussions among the organizers,
all of whom share an interest in the natural history, ecology,
and preservation of Big Sur and the Northern Santa Lucia Mountains.
We perceived a need for:
1. communication, education and networking among researchers who have done work in the region,
2. creating a baseline inventory of biological and other elements, and
3. discussions about the overall health of the bioregion.
After some discussion we decided to organize a symposium to
meet these needs. Steve Harper put in the necessary effort to
establish the symposium format and logistics, and John Smiley
selected and invited participants and created the program, and
Steve Chambers and David Nelson helped as needed. We defined the
goals of the symposium to be:
1. establish a baseline or catalog of known and related work in the field of natural history that relates to the Santa Lucias,
2. identify gaps in the work already done and look for the next appropriate steps, and
3. become familiar with each other and each others' work and have fun.
Since the first meeting in 1994 we have held additional meetings, published notes, bibliographies and other materials of interest to the group, assembled a "master" regional bibliography of natural history of the region, and facilitated research and collaboration in many ways. Over 60 people have attended symposium meetings (see list of names below).
|Chuck Baxter||Marine Inverts|
|David Chipping||Geology, Veg.|
|Kevin Cooper||Wildlife Biologist|
|Karen Danielson||USFS Botanist|
|Monique Fountain||Freshwater Fish|
|Judith Goodman||Veg. restoration|
|Art Hazebrook||resource ecologist|
|Sue Hubbard||Habitat restoration|
|Bob Hummux||Native Americans|
|Verna Jigour||Conserv. Biol.|
|Paul Kephart||Veg. Rest.|
|Jeff Kwasny||grassland management|
|Rohana Mayer||coliform/ water qu.|
|Lisa Meng||Freshwater Fish|
|Tom Moss||DPR veg. rest.|
|Nikki Nedeff||Director of Conservation|
|David Nelson||Veg. restoration|
|Jennifer Nielson||Freshwater Fish|
|Ken Norris||Natural History/Marine Mammals|
|Lee Otter||landscape ecology|
|Bob Pavlik||Env. Planner|
|John Pearse||Marine Inverts.|
|Carrie Pomeroy||Fishing Survey|
|Alix Rogstad||resource ecologist|
|Monte Schmidt||Veg. Rest.|
|Donna Schroeder||Marine Fish|
|Mark Silberstein||Estuarine ecol.|
|Diana Steller||marine science|
|Ron Unger||Resource Specialist|
|Don Usner||Natural history|
List of participants:
*unable to attend at the last minute
After breakfast in the Esalen Lodge building, Steve Harper convened the meeting at 8:30 in the "Little House" meeting room. He presented the meeting's agenda as follows: (1) start with introductions around the room, (2) go round robin to the various speakers (known as the "inner circle" for purposes of this meeting) and hear them present, in turn:
a. the main work in your area which has been done or is currently underway.
b. what are gaps that need attention?
c. try to reach consensus if possible on work that needs to be done.
d. present the most interesting thing going on ("Hot topic") in your field.
e. show and tell articles, books and bibliographies, focussing on local area research or on phenomena of special interest, particularly monographs on local species.
We briefly discussed area coverage as being flexible depending on the issues being discussed, but that in general we could adopt the boundaries as defined by the Santa Lucia Watershed Council (SLWC): East to edge of Northern SL Mountain Range, West to a few miles offshore, South to county line or San Simeon (on the inland side where land goes to foothills), and North to the Salinas River, including everything that drains the SL Mountains.
Tom Moss - Resource Ecologist. Tom is a resource ecologist from state parks now working half time (several days a week) in Big Sur. He briefly discussed:
- Exotics eradication project ($50,000). Genista (French broom) presents focus. Ivy-Pampas grass on the books
- Creamery Meadow restoration project at Molera S.P.
- Pilot project: burn out an area of Genista near Pfieffer.
Craig Hohenberger - Birds. Craig is the director of Ventana Wilderness Society as well as a school teacher. He discussed:
- 1934 Last breeding pair of wild Bald Eagles.
- Since 1986 have released 61 bald eagles.(manuscripts/hack site reports; there is a copy of most of these at Big Creek). Now there is a breeding pair.
- Natural Science Day Study Program. "Dynamic" Intern program with middle school students. Hands-on. Banding project every morning.3-4 interns.
- Habitat restoration at Molera
Terry Jones - Archaeology. Terry works as a Caltrans Archaeologist and is also a graduate student at UC Davis.
- Discussed basic culture history, digs, physical field records.
- Archaeologists have passed Big Sur probably due to difficult access.
- '83 surface inventory of Big Creek, Molera, Julia Pfeiffer Burns.
- Also history - Harrington recorded 10,000 pages of notes interviewing Salinan people around Mission San Antonio but did no interpretation or analysis. Notes available at source libraries.
- Collaborating with R.T. Millikan - specialist in mission papers and Betty Rivers, local resident.
- From their sources can sometimes reconstruct ethnogeography of contact between Native Americans early Spanish population. Will be discussed in Terry's forthcoming dissertation.
- Archaeology of Big Sur goes back to (at least) 6400 years (site on the interprative trail at Big Creek).
- Brief summary of Paleo-history:
-3500 B.C. Prior to heavy grinding stones, milling tools. After, much broader representation of tools: mortar & pestle, projectile points, obsidian exchange.
-1000-1200 A.D. Little climatic optimum. Drought established new patterns, lots of sites abandoned, new sites started. Drought documented in tree rings.
-0xygen istopes from marine mussels, seem to indicate cooler water temps.
-Paleo water temps 1500-1700 A.D.- "Little Ice Age" documented in S. California. Looks like peak in Terrestial warming coincides with low ocean temps.
-Santa Barbara channel gives good ocean sediment record. Big Creek may be doing some ocean sediment analysis.
Don Usner - writer, naturalist. Don is author of Big Sur Natural History and former manager at Big Creek. Don is looking for information with which to write a second edition.
Jeff Norman - botanist, historian:
- Likes Big Sur. Then history/ethnographic info.
- Feels deterioration in Redwood community, particularly south end. Landscape overused. Deal with changes, document changes. What are forces? Want or need? "To get things back on track." Don Usner says groves are shrinking. Redwood association being destroyed.
- No integrated fire management between private and public sector. Control burns, spring vs. fall burning.
Ken Norris - Naturalist, Educator, Marine Mammals:
- Local repositories, Norris Foundation.
- Habitat reserves concieved as local centers of information throughout state.
- Funds generated by alumni of reserve might create non-profit support group for reserve. Possible funding for information base set-up that could function state -wide.
Corky Matthews - botanist:
- Close to completion of illustrated key to flora of Monterey County.
- Many plant communities threatened
- Greatest concern for loss of bio-diversity in agricultural lands- dune region.
- Impression that best time to burn is after first rain in fall.
- Monterey Pines: Pt. Lobos, Cambria, Monterey, Ano Nuevo are where the last natives stand.
- Post fire seeding. Corky has worked with this issue in some detail.
David Chipping - botanist, geologist:
- Things that need to be done:
- Need to know where rocks are so know where soil is.
- Define plant communities.
- What is the effect after/before fire?
- Danger of German Ivy because it has the ability to be in so many environments.
- Belief that we must go in chemically
- Look at link to global warming.
- What are we managing for? No such thing as a pristine community. Because we are going to be tinkering, better know what we want.
- Sustained oak landscape project, blue oaks
Karen Danielson - botanist, USFS:
- F.S. has plans for research at Cone Peak, Wagon Caves
- Reports, including history, geology, soils and annotated plant lists, forthcoming on Lion's Den, Alder Creek,
Southern Redwood, and Cuesta pass botanical areas.
- Steve Jumack survey areas (above.)
- Mark Borchart- Forest Ecologist- has report on redwoods.
- Revegetating Wagon Caves with native seeds
- clarify plant surveys
- regeneration with local seeds
- exotic plant eradication
(above two items are not priorities for forest service)
- Genista can perhaps be held back by cutting, chopping, covering with mulch
- F.S. processes are adaptive management, eco-system management. Processes so complicated not sure how they will be implemented.
Nicole Crane - marine biologist, Hopkins Marine Station and DFG:
- Lacking base-line data from Big Sur. Expensive, hard to get.
- Rock fish take 10-12 years to reproduce, live 60-80 years. Deep water pinnacles safer for rock fish. How big a reserve is needed to protect rock fish?
- Base-line data is a big gap in info. Dive to take place in August '94.
- Early life history characteristics, natural pinnacles as refugia.
- UCSC project- Pt. Lobos. Sheephead, Blacksmith, YOY's (Young of Year) compete with blues.
- John Oliver at moss handing sand, sediment reports. Survey funding- pay as you go.
- Live marine resources are not really protected even in reserves. Patrolling sub-tidal areas is very difficult. Big Sur now prime are for exploration.
- Kim Cobelais has collection of 77,000 fish bones (otoliths?) from central coast.
Chuck Baxter - Intertidal Marine Biologist, Hopkins Marine Station:
- Interest in intertidal communities. Relatively free of human disturbance-near Hopkins, climate changes.
- Issues related to subject: preservation, exotic species, management, description of natural conditions.
- In Big Sur intertidal communities virtually untouched
- 5-6 years ago there were big changes. The population structure of a tube-dwelling gastropod, rare many years ago, now more abundant; becoming dominant. After, El Nino became more numerous. Bio-graphic signal: Hopkins becoming more like S. California.
- 1932-33 transect (Hewitt, student) Brass bolts, map, quadrats. 90 species, 40 abundant. Northern, Southern.5/6 decrese, 10/11 increase.Seawater temps./shoreline daily since 1920. 3/4 degree increase, especially summer temps (2 degree). Since last El Nino?
- Dig up old studies- Stevensons noted decrease 15 years later. Every 10-15 years get shifts. Downward shifts also. New species in area: Kaeleta Phoronopsis.
- Appears that intertidal zone being pushed downward.
- Responses of intertidal communities to climate changes good subject for student studies.
Mark Silverstein- Research Education Management:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium published a book on Elkhorn Slough
- Annual update of database on ongoing research in Elkhorn.
- Suggests getting funding from NASA for images of Big Sur
- Suggests Monterey Bay Research Symposium as potential forum for Big Sur research.
Don Roberson - birder:
Author of Monterey Birds, Atlas of Breeding of Monterey County. Latter refines breeding distribution.
- Big Sur coast of interest re: migratory birds
- Recently discovered mirror image disorientation of migratory birds - vagrants.
- Offshore birds, especially beyond CA current unknown until about 10 years ago.
- Species possibly in transition:
- N. Limit: winter wren, brown creeper, chestnut back chickadee
- S. Limit: Vaux's swift, golden crown kinglet, marbled murralets
- Mt. chickadees: Cone Peak, etc.
- Purple martins now where starlings are not. Use same breeding places.
- Willow Flycatcher extirpated in Monterey County due to cowbirds.
- One pair least Bell's Vireo's left due to cowbirds
- Common murre populations declining due to combination of oil spills, gill netting, possibly global warming. Hurricane Pt. rocks, breeding colonies.
- 1990 version seabird colony catalogue coming out soon.
- Recommends The Birder's Handbook, Ehrlich, available through No. Am. Ornothologist, Colorado Springs. 7$ each.
Paul Kephart - restoration expert:
- Interested in ecological restoration. Gap in information on processes of restoration, restoration strategies: strategies must be economically feasible.
- Native grasses- Urban settings, industrial sites. 3-400 species- no testing occurs- what will happen?
- Agricultural applications- native buffers. Salt, sand and poison. Restoration process- now in increasing bio-diversity.
- Now there is sustainable ranching at Elkhorn Slough.
- "Given time land will heal itself."
- Grasses not necessarily plant of choice on J.P Burn's slide. Multi-species approach, trial approach preferable.
- Data base for selection and conservation of native grasses needed.
- Pamphlet needed for non-computer users.
John Smiley - insects:
- No data base or lists of insects of Monterey County.
- To identify need to be tied into an insect collection or taxonomy community.
- Jerry Powell conducting survey of biodiversity of moths; moth/host plant relationships.
- Need consistant sampling procedures. If you get an interesting insect, get a series.
- Need to aid biological control of exotics. Exotics do not carry pests and parasites that natives do.
- Interested in large mammals: Black-tailed deer (spend a lot of time in family groups,) mountain lions.
- Other research at Big Creek not discussed so far:
- Rockfish biology (Sebastes sp.) and other kelp fishes; sustainability and refuges.
- Song Sparrows.
- Leaf litter decomposition in bay laurel.
- Insect parasitism in coyote brush.
- Coastal scrub community in different micro-sites.
- Burying beetle biology (Nicrophorus).
- Sea otter foraging behavior.
- many other studies.
After going completely around the group and hearing each persons' presentation, we discussed the question: If you were a person choosing research in your area, what would your choice be? This opened up into a wide ranging discussion covering the following:
- Develop a network of people
- Write a field guide
- Need good terrestial mapping - create baseline atlas - aquire photos & maps
- Morrow Bay group as an analogy. Meet on a regular basis. This led to more interest&involvement.
- This is a beginning for perhaps more formal presentation.
- Keep broad focus
- Focus on funding procedures
Who is missing from this group?
- John Carrothers- Herps
- John Hopkins- Sierra Club's bio-diversity point man.
- Marc Stromberg- Hastings
- Fish and Game big critter people
- someone from Fort Hunter-Liggett re: grazing
After the meeting we discussed issues over dinner in the Esalen Lodge, and dispersed to our homes.
Summary An "inner circle" of about 20 made presentations about their subject area. The only guideline was that the material be considered important by the presenter, and that it be focused on the region. The meeting was characterized by lively discussion and exchange (facilitated by Steve Harper), and most participants went away having learned a great deal.
Appendices and bibliographies...
List of books of the Salinian Culture and Families - Terry Jones
Bibliography of Central Coast geology - David Chipping
Marine Studies References - Nicole Crane
Los Padres N.F. vegetation - Karen Danielson
Big Sur Natural History Bibliography - Verna Jigour
Big Sur Anthropology - Terry Jones
Santa Lucia Range bioregion - Jeff Norman
Materials of local interest in Big Creek Library - John Smiley
This second symposium took place on March 3, 1995, and invitations went out in early February. An attempt was made to broaden the group and invite people in areas not well represented in first group. As a result we added a wildlife biologist, a couple of vegetation ecologists, and three fish biologists to the group. We also heard a report on the bird banding project of the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary.
List of Particpants:
After breakfast in the Esalen Lodge building, Steve Harper convened the meeting at 8:30 in the "Little House" meeting room. He presented the meeting's agenda as follows: (1) start with introductions around the room, (2) go round robin to the various speakers (known as the "inner circle" for purposes of this meeting) and hear them present a summary of recent developments or other "hot topics." He also suggested we critique the meeting format and goals during the day, asking "what do we want to do as a group, if indeed we want to continue?"
John Smiley then introduced the day's program, and his efforts to broaden the group and get new participants. Presentations then followed:
Tom Moss - Resource Ecologist. Tom is a resource ecologist from state parks now working half time (several days a week) in Big Sur. He briefly discussed:
- ice plant eradication project at Garrapata S.P. (ice plant), 4 1/2 miles sprayed with round-up.
- Big Sur S.P., 15 acres of broom (prescribed burns)
- J.P.Burns - hand pulling Eupatorium
- Tom believes herbicides are necessary - mentioned garlon 4 as having a low toxicity to mammals and short residual life.
- some work in John Little reserve.
- working on general planning process to get better emphasis on natural habitats.
Karen Danielson - botanist, USFS:
- Wagon Creek reveg. project - 65% survivorship of grasses in unfenced plots, 90% in fenced areas.
- gathering info on french broom inhibition by mulching cuttings (Sashi Cheng)
- ongoing chaparral classification by Mark Borchart
- inventory of seacoast buckwheat by Jeff Norman (done?)
- the new society for California lichens did a field trip/survey in Wagon Caves area and produced a list. (Can you bring the list Karen?)
- mentioned pacific fisheries conservation funds - possible source of money for watershed analysis.
- Steve Junach (sp?) of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, did veg.. survey in Lion's Den, Alder Creek (Karen - can we get a copy? JS)
Jennifer Nielson - freshwater fish biologist - Hopkins Marine Station - 3 year fellowship to study steelhead genetics and ecology.
- uses molecular genetics to study salmonid populations in southern streams.
- has found increasing genetic diversity as you go south, lots of evidence for endemic populations.
- wants to look for pockets of endemism in upper Carmel river basin.
- uses non-invasive techniques.
- thinks that local endemics survive and reproduce in spite of hatchery introductions, would like to study ecology and local adaptation in coastal streams.
Chuck Baxter - Intertidal Marine Biologist, Hopkins Marine Station:
- reviewed evidence for long term change in intertidal communities - increasing southern influence
- waters 2.2 degrees C. warmer
- also mentioned a possible shift of intertidal zones downward 10" for the barnacle/algae ecotone.
- replacement of Mytilus barnacles by southern warm water species.
Monte Schmidt - vegetation ecologist - Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary.
- plans to restore the creamery meadow in Andrew Molera S.P. and wants to use fire as a tool - just received final approval for plans
- wants to use "return of the natives" educational program.
- John Smiley mentioned aquatic insect communities which exist underground along rivers in Montana, could there be such things at Molera?
- dominant species to restore: sycamore, cottonwood, oak.
- Jerry Powell mentioned the possibility that the above trees may have once been over wintering roosts for monarch butterflies (now they use eucalyptus)
Don Roberson - birder:
Author of Monterey Birds, Atlas of Breeding of Monterey County.
- mentioned that a lot of information is published but unavailable in EIR and gov't documents. We need to try to get at this literature.
- offshore studies revealing a wealth of new sightings and info about migration "errors".
- call 375-9122 if you see a rare bird - the California. bird records committee.
- the latest volumes of the new encyclopedia "birds of north America" are available at the Pacific Grove Museum.
Mark Stromberg - vegetation ecologist and manager - Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel valley. Mark is the reserve manager for this UC Berkeley reserve, operated by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
- Hastings started in 1937.
- Hastings has a relatively complete baseline inventory of vertebrate species as well as plants, lichens, and some insects (these are in Oakland museum of natural history - Don Linsdale).
- small fields never cultivated or grazed (White- and Robinson-prairies). has a USDA grant to restore native bunch grass: till for a few years to germinate seeds, farm hand collected seeds
- old fields persist even though protected from grazing
- ongoing work - tiger salamanders, newts, acorn woodpeckers, oak/acorn production,lichens.
- large bibliography (did I get a copy, Mark?)
Terry Palmisano - CDFG wildlife biologist
- CDFG in budget crisis.
- Hunter-Liggett grazing and Elk management plan.
- mentioned CDFG land near granite canyon lab - 600 acre Joshua Creek property
- monitoring die-off of band-tail pigeons in Arroyo Seco and Prunedale. Seems to be viral disease.
- mentioned ongoing bear study using cans of sardines as bait. Is there a resident population?
- we asked her how we could access natural diversity database.
- the native plant society in the east bay has updated its data base.
Paul Kephart - restoration expert - works for D. Packard at Elkhorn Slough Ranch:
- Coordinating JP Burns slide restoration, using nursery at Esalen and Elkhorn Slough.
- involved in Garland Park restoration.
- mapping relict coastal prairies between Mendocino and Diablo Canyon near San Luis Obispo. Locally: Plaskett Ridge, Cruikshank trail, Hill Ranch and San Simeon. Twenty sites identified to date.
- interested in public education, such as that at "lighthouse field" in Santa Cruz and "return of the natives" project at Natividad Creek near Salinas.
- Elkhorn slough program to teach disturbance, compaction and plant succession.
Terry Jones - Archaeology. Terry works as a Caltrans Archaeologist and has just finished his PhD program at UC Davis.
- 10 years of research in Big Sur, coming to completion
- can trace habitation back 6400 years, and speculates that sites could easily be older.
- evidence for transition to more sedentary lifestyle 5000y.a.
- obsidian coming into Big Sur from Napa, Casa Diablo, and Bodie. No obsidian after AD 1000.
- another transition in AD 1100 (about). sites moved inland, higher elevation, more use of terrestrial resources.
- significant drought at this transition, warmer ocean temps.
Donna Schroeder - marine fish biologist - UC Santa Barbara.
- interested in fish population changes
- our local rockfish have two phase life cycle, pelagic to benthic.
- blue rockfish take 4-10 years to mature, eat plankton
- most adult blues now from 1988 cohort
- thesis on foraging and growth rates of blue rockfish juveniles living in groups of different size.
Thomas Leeman - birder - Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary
- VWS Big Sur Ornithology Lab started in 1992
- in riparian habitat along Big Sur river
- site is a good "vagrant trap" for unusual birds
- participating in "MAPS" (monitoring avian productivity and survivorship)
- mist nets out 5 hours per day, 7 days per week, record and analyze captures.
this year more Wilson's warblers and dark eyed juncos, fewer black-headed grosbeaks than last year. vagrants include white-eyed vireo and blue winged warblers.
David Chipping - botanist, geologist - Morro Bay and points south.
- trying to bring water flow for steelhead into morro bay. town being challenged on its right to take water.
- environmental quality task force has been influential in SLO agreement to make a greenbelt buffer around the city and protect serpentine endemics
- German ivy has choked some watersheds - may trigger removal program.
- mentioned fire re-seeding efforts along highway 41. n`c
Lisa Meng - stream estuarine biologist - US Fish and Wildlife Service
- working with Jennifer Nielson on steelhead project - wants to study steelhead in Big Creek
- USFWS people are interested in making the endangered species act more "user friendly"
- genetic information on species is coming into the foreground
- J. Nielson mentioned a conference book on population differentiation and protection of genetic diversity.
Nicole Crane - marine biologist, Hopkins Marine Station and CDFG:
- biodiversity and monitoring project underway for marine sanctuary.
- look at long term changes in and outside of reserves in Monterey Bay and Big Sur. sites: 2 at Hopkins, 2 adj, 2 at Pt. Lobos, 1 adj., 1 at Otter Point, 1 at Slate Rock, 2 at Big Creek, and 2 at kelp cutter reef nr. Lopez Pt.
- thus far has seen lower densities of fish further south.
- working with new laser videos to measure fish in the water. thinking about safety of lasers
- preparing handbook for project participants who are lay people.
- will teach "Big Sur Wildlands" class at Big Creek this summer.
John Smiley - reserve manager/ insect studies - Big Creek Reserve
- Petra Heuer thesis on coastal scrub vegetation
- compendium of "Nature notes from Big Creek" available
- Monterey Bay aquarium teacher training project, coordinated by Jeff Bryant and Holly Shewbridge, at Big Creek. focussed on watershed and creek.
- new video available highlighting Big Creek as a research site
- mentioned field trip to Baldwin Ranch in spring.
Jerry Powell - insects - UC Berkeley Jerry is the author of "California Insects" a popular and useful natural history guide. He is an expert on Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).
- there 90,000 species of insects described from North America, about 65% of total probably present.
- insect inventories are complex, especially in California, because of Mediterranean climate and complex insect life histories.
- Big Sur region has about 75% of biological diversity of lepidoptera as compared to a comparable area in the Sierra Nevada with similar forest structure and elevation/topography.
- prepared a handout on moth survey at Big Creek, probably the most comprehensive in the western US (see appendix).
- brought a bibliography (see appendix)
Verna Jigour - conservation biologist - The Union Institute
- interested in modeling buffer zones where fire could be carried out, and fire ecology in general. May use Big Creek as a site for modeling.
- helping with "save California wetlands" project
- working with "sim mud" project
Steve Bailey - birder/museum curator - Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
- mentioned exhibit at museum on Big Sur called "Un-Sur-Passed" sponsored by the Big Sur Land Trust.
Steve Harper - group facilitator and natural areas educator
Steve asked the question "is this useful" referring to the symposium. Comments:
Nicole Crane asked for more structure and bring a 2-page write-up.
David Chipping asked for a common language for data acquisition. common map scale? at what level to we count politically?
Steve Chambers asked that we finish the bibliography.
It was suggested that we invite John Pearse for coverage of intertidal organisms.
Mark Stromberg suggested we put out a data base of people and a bibliography.
Then we discussed format. A two day format was suggested. John Smiley volunteered to lead a second day at Big Creek (Saturday) if there is interest.
Several people asked if we could meet earlier in the day and have a shorter lunch.
Most agreed that the meetings were still very valuable and the next meeting should be held in 9 months, in December.
Appendices and Bibliographies...
1. Handout summarizing Big Creek Lepidoptera survey - Jerry Powell
2. Some references on insects from the Big Sur, Santa Lucia Mountains region, Monterey County, CA. - Jerry Powell
3. Full list of participants and invitees 1994-1995. (Please suggest names to add).
List of Participants
At 9 am Steve Harper opened the meeting, reviewing its purpose and our hopes for increasing knowledge and connections among field scientists and other field workers. Participants then introduced themselves, going around the room. We then went around the room again, hearing presentations and discussing the topics, as follows:
John Smiley brought up several topics
(1) Gave a report from Terry Jones, who could not attend the
meeting. Terry's PhD. thesis is completed - have a copy at Big
Creek. Work inland on Hunter-Liggett reinforces finding that there
was a major cultural shift during the medieval warm period, was
a drought, warm water in summer and colder waters in winter.
(2) Butterfly count - very low numbers on ridges, normal in canyon.
(3) Shared mt lion photos.
(4) New facilities at Big Creek.
(5) Kim Smiley projects and aquarium teacher workshop, mentioned bacterial study. Dave Nelson volunteered bacterial data from Esalen hot springs creek water source.
(6) Overstrom property conservation easement and access agreement. Wish to survey property.
(7) Bibliography progress report - little progress but some ideas. We have nearly everything on disk. It needs to be worked into a useful biobliographic tool with keywords and some sort of indexing.
(8) Hook and line fish survey - asked for help with data entry. Mark Stromberg suggested high school student help, Nicole Crane college student help.
John Carothers plans to bring classes to Big Sur in the future, just wanted to listen today.
Norm Scott introduced himself as one of three NBS people working at Piedras Blancas - Mark Jennings and Galen Rathbun being the other two. He mentioned work on western pond turtles, and how radio or passive tagging devices were the way to go for many vertebrate studies. He gave us a reprint of an article describing work near San Simeon. He said the major threat to herps is cattle grazing in riparian corridors, and that cattle need to be fenced out of such areas. He also mentioned work on two-striped garter snakes, tidewater gobies, and red-legged frogs. He also said he was interested in the status of yellow legged frogs in SLO county
Norm gave us a copy of a report prepared by his staff for DPR entitled "Status and ecology of sensitive aquatic vertebrates in lower San Simeon and Pico Creeks, San Luis Obispo County, California." Publ. No. PB93-230779, National Technical Information Service, Springfield VA, ix + 103 pp.
Don Roberson discussed his revision of Monterey county birds in progress, which will take a couple of years to finish. He also updated some new and unusual sightings of vagrant ("lost") birds at the bird observatory in Big Sur. He mentioned current efforts to understand seasonal migration timing. He and Jeff Davis are soon to publish a checklist for the Ventana Wilderness, supported by USFS.
Don suggested that lighthouses may concentrate migratory bird which have strayed out over the ocean. May explain the unusual sightings at VWS station.
John Pearse discussed his intertidal surveys, including the upcoming re-survey of the Mill Creek site, which he originally surveyed in 1971. He got a sea-grant for this re-survey. John also discussed his son's senior thesis project on Aniella legless lizards. I told him we had found a black one at Big Creek at I2 in the canyon bottom. According to John we need more work in the 150-300' depth, where the water is too shallow for big research vessels, but too deep for regular dives. John also mentioned his interest in Henricia "blood" stars, a king of deep water sea star. He thinks we may have some new species.
Monte Schmidt still restoring creamery meadow at Andrew Molera State Park, plants w/ deer enclosures doing OK, but others not. 9 acres done, 20 more this year. involving school groups.
This year Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary not release any more eagles, but watching two nest sites. May release condors next fall, but may not be logistically possible. Will used "trained" condors. Q: Monte, can we get copies of your annual reports or the equivalent for our library?
VWS is planning a visitor center in cooperation with Big Sur Historical Society.
David Chipping updated us on a new lawsuit involving water in Morro creek with wide-ranging implications (the resource conservation district has ruled that SLO creek must have 1.5 c.f.s. of water in summer and fall, affecting well fields for SLO city), and his plans for an informative web site for CNPS. We discussed Monterey Pine and pitch canker, and the fact that Monterey pines are different down in Cambria. There is a new book on the Cambria Monterey Pine ecosystem, and another pub. on Monterey Pines "staircase forest" in Monterey. Hearst Ranch is planning a major new development. Are currently bulldozing riparian areas and other habitats, possibly to eliminate "problem" plants which might influence development plans. In addition, Los Osos dune scrub areas are threatened with development and veldt (?) grass.
Diana Steller Talked about CSUMB program and their Watershed Institute (which is currently their science program), might run a class at Big Creek next summer. Developing a GIS/GPS capability. Service learning projects, each student must complete 2 semesters also senior thesis opportunities. Recruiting faculty.
Mark Stromberg - discussed pitch canker, and epidemiology theories about evolution of virulence in pathogens. Mentioned new revegetation project on neighbor's "star thistle " farm...will use irrigation, fire, herbicide, grazing to restore perennial meadows. Still tagging salamanders and surveying coastal prairies with Paul Kephart. Brought a bibliography on disk.
Mark also discussed evidence that low acorn crops are often an inverse function of rain and wind in March when the flowers get pollinated.
Paul Kephart Burns slide plants not doing well, doing fertilization studies to try to revegetation. steep erosive slopes. Finding lots of new range extensions in coastal prairie survey.
Nicole Crane Will publish guide for subtidal monitoring program with color pictures. She gave us a copy of a preliminary report entitled:
Nicole Crane and Michelle Paddack, "Marine Protected Areas: Home Sweet Home. Rockfish Refugia in the Sanctuary" Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Biodiversity and Monitoring Project, 1994 preliminary report. Preliminary results showed more fish inside than outside the reserve.
Nicole also mentioned Big Sur wildlands summer teaching class at Big Creek, she is recruiting faculty. She also mentioned "Mate (Marine Advanced Technology Education) program" - high school students to apply technology to restore and prevent damage to environment.
Monique Fountain getting ready to work at Big Creek. Monique does a lot of work in lab, but ready for field work soon. She gave us reprints of:
Jennifer L. Nielson, Christina Gan, Jonathon M. Wright, Dianne B. Morris, and W Kelley Thomas, Biogeographic distributions of mitochondrial and nuclear markers for southern steelhead, Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology (1994) 3(5):281-293
Jennifer L. Nielson, Christina Gan and W. Kelley Thomas, Differences in Genetic Diversity for Mitochondrial DNA between hatchery and wild populations of Oncorhynchus, Canadian J. Fisheries Aquatic Science (1994) 51(suppl.1): 290-297.
Petra (Heuer) Unger gave a presentation on coastal scrub communities of the Central California Coast. She sampled 114 sites along the coast from Pt. Lobos to San Simeon, and a few additional plots in southern California. Her analysis showed several distinct types of coastal scrub vegetation:
Nacella cernua/Paeonia californica/Epilobium canum, with subgroups:
Salvia mellifera/Rhamnus crocea/Brickellia californica
Lupinus albifrons/Mirabilis californica
Satureja douglasii/Sanicula crassicaulis
Eriophyllum staechadifolium/Rubus ursinus/Stachys bullata, with subgroups:
Ron Unger mentioned the Nature Conservancy's Elements Stewardship Abstracts (ESA) database, a project he has been working on for some time. He offered to help us access it if needed.
There were several former participants who did not make it to the meeting. Steve Bailey just got back from Irian Jaya and could not make it, Tom Dudley (a stream ecologist we invited) was ill, Terry Jones had last minute obligations, Karen Danielson had a conflict and requested earlier notification next time, Jerry Powell felt he had little to add this time, Jeff Norman had personal matters to attend to. Last minute no-shows included Corky Matthews, Tom Moss, and Verna Jigour.
Several suggestions were made for future meetings. To invite: Tom Murphree, a climatologist with the Naval Postgraduate School, Dan Costa, a marine mammal researcher from UCSC, Galen of NBS, a mammologist, Vern Yadon, and Joel Payn (sp?), a planner type. We should also try to get Clarence Hall (a geologist from UCLA). We discussed meeting in early September, 1996, and possibly meeting at redwood camp at Big Creek, perhaps after lunch.
Appendices and Bibliographies...
I. Coastal Scrub Communities of Central California Coast by Petra Unger (7pp).
II. Recent Big Sur-related archaeology publications by Terry Jones (1 page)
III. Scientific Publications of Hastings Reservation 1937-1995 (16 pp.)
List of Participants
At 9:30 am John Smiley opened the meeting, reviewing its purpose and our hopes for increasing knowledge and connections among field scientists and other field workers. Participants then introduced themselves, going around the room. We then went around the room again, hearing presentations and discussing the topics, as follows:
Galen Rathbun, a research biologist with the National Biological Survey (A.K.A. US Fish and Wildlife Service), stationed at Piedras Blancas, gave a report on his work, and the NBS work in the region. He just completed editing a book about the recent sea otter project, including the transplantation of otters to San Nicholas Island, which will be published soon. He is also working on three herps in the area, the Red-Legged Frog, the Two-striped Garter Snake, and the Western Pond Turtle. He is using radio tracking techniques to study these animals. Pond turtles seem to be doing well except in Southern California. Galen is also observing grazing practices, and is interested in using grazing to control non-native grasses. He is attempting to control ice plant using mechanical clearing and possibly encouraging voles which like to eat ice plant. Galen provided us with copies of species lists from Piedras Blancas (birds and terrestrial vertebrates) as well the first page of about 20 published articles, which we will incorporate into our library. He promises a bibliography will soon be forthcoming.
Corky Matthews, botanist, spoke briefly about her county flora book and protecting areas at Fort Hunter-Liggett.
Steve Bailey, ornithologist and Pacific Grove Museum curator, spoke about museum exhibits and controversies surrounding them.
Steve Beck, Esalen Lands manager, is interested in re-introducing animals into agriculture.
Dave Nelson, restoration advocate and field worker, discussed several projects. A. restoration of the "big" (i.e.JP Burns) slide is not proceeding in spite of CalTrans obligations and allocation of $300,000. B. Dave was collecting seed for this project; good survival of Black Sage, also Eriogonum and Mimulus. C. Dave is working on an exotic plant list for our area.
Kelly Sorenson, ornithologist, Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary, gave us a bibliography about the California Condor (see attached). He reported that the Bald Eagle release program was ending, having successfully reached their goal of establishing 4 breeding pairs in the region. Now, the VWS is turning its attention to California Condor releases. The first release should happen in December (1996). VWS hopes to release 4-6 birds per year.
Monte Schmidt, restoration manager, Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary, gave an update on restoration in the riparian areas at Andrew Molera State Park. To date, 21 acres are under restoration, up from 9 acres in the first year. Survivorship is 70% or better thus far. They are using tree tubes, which seem to work well on willows, cottonwoods, and other trees, but not elderberry.
Jennifer Nielson, fisheries biologist, Hopkins Marine Station, discussed her work with Southern Steelhead from the Pajaro River to Malibu Creek. In addition to her work on the genetics of steelhead, Jennifer is interested in the habitat and ecology of rare endemic trout in our area. She is looking for help with the research, mainly for fin clip samples. Samples should go through CDFG so as to be properly archived.
Don Roberson, ornithologist, told us of his breeding bird survey at Ft. Hunter-Liggett. One technique of the survey is to stop along Nacimiento road (between Lockwood and the summit) for three minutes and listen/observe. He has measured healthy populations of Yellow-billed Magpies and Western Bluebirds in this way, perhaps the best in the U.S.A.
Verna Jigour, consulting ecologist, would like to document fire and flooding history with respect to oak regeneration, at Ft. Hunter-Liggett. Judd Vendervere would collaborate.
Jeff Norman, historian and consulting botanist, discussed the local Land Use Plan, which dates from 1986. He stated that environmentally sensitive areas in the plan are not current, nor are standards used in the plan. According to Jeff, several exquisite habitats and areas are gone because they didn't receive an adequate biological study and report.
David Chipping, geologist and environmental consultant, discussed the North San Luis Obispo County Coastal Land Use plan, which is under revision at the present time. He stated that the bluff fringe habitats at Piedras Blancas are unique and need special designation. The Hearst Company wants to build a golf course on this strip. Dave wants to show that there are unique plants. Big Creek has a list of coastal bluff and strand plants that could help. He discussed the habitat conservation plan for the Morro Bay kangaroo rat, stating that this was getting little state support. Dave said there have been massive cuts of blue oak and valley oak, by winery developments. There needs to be a tree ordinance to set restrictions. Pitch-pine canker is infesting pines in SLO. Dave is noticing some resistance in seedlings. Some trees recover. He feels that pruning and careful disposal of prunings is very important.
Judith Goodman, restoration field worker, head of Big Sur broom bashers, told us of her discouragement. Her efforts have nearly come to a halt. She has recently had little support from the land management agencies, except CalTrans, and little local support.
Steve Chambers, wildlands field worker, Ventana Wildlands Group, reported on the recently completed stream survey along Arroyo Seco from the Indians to the Horse bridge. The survey is done by walking the drainage with a team of observers. They found good populations of steelhead trout, and some excellent habitat. The team is about to survey Tassajara Creek, down from the Zen Center to the Horse bridge. Steve thinks we should begin asking the question: what is our vision of the area when the army moves out? How would a wilderness area work connecting Silver Peak to Ventana?, and connecting wagon caves Research Natural Area with lands in Hunter-Liggett. Steve discussed Arroyo Seco road and the possibility of keeping the road closed to protect the area. Finally, Steve reported that there is virtually no USFS or CDFG presence in the wilderness.
Karen Danielson, botanist, USFS, reported that she sees her job as to protect rare plants and rare plant habitats. She reported on the Wagon Caves revegetation project, where exotic pests are being replaced with local native seed. In experimental plots she has seen good survivorship (95% in enclosures; 57% outside; indicating that cattle grazing makes a difference) and some volunteer recruitment of native grasses. Other topics she mentioned include seed collecting along highway 1, interpretive signs, starting over with german ivy at Pfeiffer Beach, french broom, seeking relaxed regulations on using herbicides. Plans to survey the Sur ranch.
Jeff Kwasny, resource ecologist, USFS, discussed schemes for rotating grazing to encourage native plants. Believes there are funds for noxious weed control, but targets must be noxious weeds on federal list. Working with Smith's Blue butterfly and its habitat. Discussed surveys for red legged frog in Arroyo Seco; presumed to be there. A yellow-legged frog survey is also coming up.
John Smiley, insect/plant biologist and reserve manager, Big Creek Reserve, spoke of 1) a proposal to introduce elk on Gamboa Point ranch adjacent to Big Creek. 2) He also mentioned a new grant program to study marine fishes in the Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve, which will start in July of 1997. 3) The new research visitor cabin at Big Creek is now open. 4) He mentioned a legal agreement with the owner of the South Overstrom property on the north boundary of Big Creek Reserve, which restricts hunting and tree cutting and provides access for research and teaching. 5) John discussed a steelhead fish survey in Big Creek, in its second year, done by Nicole Crane, Dierdre Sullivan and students in the Wilderness Studies Program. They have counted over 2000 fish in less than a mile of creek. 6) He also introduced a written summary of a bird survey done at the reserve by Jim Johnson. The survey is based on timed sightings at stations, and provides a basis for quantitative comparisons in the future. 7) A survey of kelp fishes reveals no decline in average size over the last five years. 8) A different fish size survey by Michelle Paddack (UC Santa Cruz) shows that bottom-dwelling fish are larger and more numerous in marine reserves. 9) Archaeologist Terry Jones has excavated 12 sites at Hunter-Liggett, sites which correspond to the coastal sites dug at Big Creek a few years ago. This new work should give a more complete picture of the trans-mountain cultures which have used the area in the past 6500 years. Preliminary work suggests that people were in residence on both sides of the mountains in all seasons of the year.
After lunch, Don Roberson showed us his bird slides and we discussed birds in Monterey County. We ended the symposium with lively discussions and dinner in the Esalen Lodge.
At 9:30 am Steve Chambers and John Smiley opened the meeting, reviewing its purpose and our hopes for increasing knowledge and connections among field scientists and other field workers. John conveyed regrets from Steve Harper who was forced to miss the meeting for health reasons. Participants then introduced themselves, going around the campfire ring at Redwood Camp. We then went around the ring again, hearing presentations and discussing topics, as follows:
Sue Hubbard Sue introduced herself as the new restoration coordinator for the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary, replacing Monte Schmidt. She reported that work on the Creamery Meadow project is proceeding, with phase III completed. Over 2200 plantings of 15 species are in place and being irrigated, including oaks, redwoods, elderberries, bay, willows, buckeye and coffee berries. Surveys have shown over 80% survival rate.
John Smiley, entomologist and reserve manager, reported that four projects were starting up to look at fisheries in the Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve. These involve UC Santa Cruz, Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
The new visitor/researcher cabin at Big Creek is being used, and is available for people doing projects. The library is located near the gate cabin and is also available.
A group from UC Davis is implementing biological inventory software for the United Nations Man and the Biosphere Program. Big Creek floral and faunal lists have been entered. The software is inexpensive and designed to run on low-end computers. The software contains species lists such as the Jepson manual and the A.O.U. bird lists.
Ron Arnett, a private consultant with East-West Forestry* is sampling 1 hectare vegetation plots chosen at random in Santa Lucia Mts. He is recording tree size data, 1 tree core, shrub cover, other plant data, slope, aspect, and elevation. * their address is 17 Verde Circle, Rohnert Park CA 707-584-4177. For information on the data, call Kevin Casey at 916-454-0832.
John is collecting plankton samples monthly for the marine biotoxin monitoring program, part of the California Department of Health Services, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Other topics mentioned: 1. Matteo Rutherford submitted an undergraduate thesis on the effects of fire on redwood foliar endophytes (a type of leaf fungus). 2. Jim Johnson's bird survey at Big Creek. 3. Michelle Paddack's master's thesis on rockfish sizes inside and outside of marine reserves. 4. A data report on the effects of sea otters on kelp forest, prepared by Jim Estes.
Don Roberson, birder, discussed the "sport" of birding in the context of "birdathons" where participants try to record as many species as possible. Don recently broke Jim Booker's "world" record of 351 species for the year. Don also discussed a program sponsored by the Audubon Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, aimed at reducing the impacts of the Brown-headed Cowbird on native nesting birds. They are putting our traps baited with other cowbirds, and have caught over 100 along the Salinas River near Camp Roberts. This should help native populations of Bell's Vireo and Willow Flycatchers.
Jaelitza, educator, announced the second "Wild Watersheds Faire" to be held July 20 and 21st at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. The theme is to learn about and celebrate our watersheds. The highlight is the "water tasting" table; everyone is encouraged to "bring their own" water to share. Jaelitza also mentioned the Big Sur Home School project, and asked the group to think about how a "land-based" education would be useful for these children. She is the education coordinator for this group.
Dave Chipping, geologist and conservationist, touched on several topics, including the huge development plans for the Hearst Ranch near Piedras Blancas. Dave also mentioned a "tree ordinance" group working to protect conifers and some other trees from cutting. He specifically mentioned Santa Lucia Fir, Sargent Cypress, and Ponderosa Pine.
A Pitch Pine Canker survey in Cambria Forest revealed that the canker is in the Pinus radiata var. macrocarpa there as well as in Monterey (var. radiata). Work has revealed at least 5 pine genotypes in the Monterey forests, with distinct soils and mycorrhizae. The newest issue of Fremontia lists other pines vulnerable to canker, including Ponderosa, Jeffrey, Coulter and Douglas Fir.
Jeff Kennedy, landscape ecology, described his PhD. dissertation research project. Jeff is looking at vegetation cover, vertical structure and stem diameters, and seeing how structure compares to slope, aspect, elevation, soils and climate. He hopes to develop landscape-scale models for our area.
Jeff Kwasny, USFS range ecologist, discussed the creation of a noxious weed control program. The weed management area will extend from the Carmel River to Ragged Point, and from the coast ridge to the ocean. A subcommittee of the Big Sur Multi-agency Advisory Council has been formed to facilitate agency and community efforts. Members of the subcommittee include Bill Phillips, Lisa Schicker, Jeff Norman, Jeff Kwasny, and Tom Moss.
Jeff mentioned his 8-acre native grass planting in the field across from Pacific Valley fire station.
Sarah Chubb, USFS fisheries biologist, discussed the proposed listing for Steelhead trout as a threatened species. They have divided the species into the central coast stock (San Francisco - Pt. Conception) and the southern stock (Pt. Conception - Mexico), and are trying to develop landscape-scale approaches to the management problem. Sarah is now using a simplified stream survey format for assessing populations and habitats.
She is preparing biological assessments for the steelhead, looking at effects of forest use (grazing, recreation, etc.) on the fish. She is also finishing up post fire stream work on Mill Creek.
Bob Pavlik, CalTrans environmental planner, discussed the seismic retrofitting of 12 bridges and the complete replacement of the Burns Creek bridge. The list includes six historic bridges. Bob is gathering photos and materials for historic documentation for those six, which include Big Creek, Bixby Creek, Rocky Creek, Garrapata Creek, and the Granite Canyon bridge. Bob offered to be a contact person for questions involving the seismic retrofit projects. According to Bob, the retrofits are designed to withstand earthquakes of up to 7 on the Richter scale. He also said the Purple Martins at Torre Canyon are being protected during the retrofit process.
Brett Smith, fishing consultant, introduced himself as a fly fisherman who is extremely interested in the local freshwater fisheries. He is working to get more effective protection for streams and their fish populations, and is currently working to reduce the legal catch from 5 to 2 per day, to promote catch and release, and to increase restrictions on gear. Brett is also working with Jennifer Nielson to sample fish populations for genetic analysis. So far they have found unique genetic fingerprints in populations south of Carmel. Brett is also doing video surveys in the creeks, and is looking to purchase an underwater housing for his video camera. Brett gave us a two page summary of this "Big Sur Wild Trout Project" (enclosed).
Wrap-up At the end of the meeting, we agreed to try and hold the next meeting on a Saturday, to accommodate those who can't seem to get away on a weekday. We will ask Steve Harper and Esalen Institute if they would host the next meeting sometime in February.
Appendices and bibliographies...
Big Sur Wild Trout Project
A technical Bibliography on the natural history of the San Simeon area, San Luis Obispo County, California
The symposium is the result of volunteer efforts by its participants. Two people deserve special thanks after this 5th symposium. Steve Chambers organized the program and invitations for this 5th symposium, and helped lead the meeting. Jaelitza took notes at this (and all the previous) symposia, greatly facilitating these write-ups. Thank you Steve and Jaelitza!