Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 16, 2023

Wildflower Viewing Behavior

Picking wildflowers is often illegal. Removing or tramping on them interferes with pollination and reduces their numbers. Transplanting blooming wildflowers is rarely successful.

Please do not trespass on private property to view wildflowers. If you are viewing wildflowers that are on private property please view only from neighboring public areas and respect all signs on accessibility.

National Forest Service on Wildflower Ethics and Native Plants Ethics and Native Plants

Tips and park rules provided by California State Parks designed to make viewing the wildflower blooms more enjoyable:

Respect the Landscapes

• Each park has unique landscapes. Stay on designated trails whenever possible. Tread lightly in the desert. Do not trample flowers.

• When viewing the blooms, take only pictures. Flower picking is prohibited.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2023

Webinar: The Future of Rain 3/29/23

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 23, 2023

New Firefly Atlas

from the Xerces Society

New Firefly Atlas Will Put Beloved Beetles on the Map

The United States and Canada have more species of fireflies than most people realize – 173 at last count. And contrary to popular belief, beetles in the firefly family Lampyridae are found in every state and province except Hawaii and Nunavut.

Yet for more than half these species, we’re missing enough data to even evaluate their population status. With Xerces’ new Firefly Atlas, anyone can join and help collect observations that will allow Xerces and our conservation partners better protect the magic of fireflies, for generations to come. Read More

from ABC News

Imping helps rehabilitate birds of prey with damaged flight feathers. It involves joining a donor feather to the shaft of a broken feather with wooden dowels and glue

Read story at  Raptor expert uses art of imping to save birds of prey with broken feathers – ABC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2023

East Bay Regional Park Closures

There are many trail closures and flooded areas in the East Bay Regional Parks for updates go to Alerts and Closures | East Bay Parks

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2023

Marin Spring CNPS 2023 Plant Sale

It’s planting time! We are holding an online plant sale in April with order pickup in Greenbrae the following Saturday. Adequate rain means the spring wildflowers are coming along well and we’ll be offering a big selection, as well as a discount for purchasing in quantity.

Opens: Wednesday. April 5 at 6 pm
Closes: Monday. April 10 at 6 pm
Order pickup at Bon Air: Saturday April 15th, 10:30 am to 1:00 pm

Read more. . .

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2023

2023 Great Backyard Bird Count Results

from eBird

Between February 17-20, more than 555,000 people around the world contributed 390,652 eBird checklists and shared 372,905 Merlin bird identifications during the Great Backyard Bird Count, delivering a record-breaking jump in participation over previous years as well as some interesting and unusual species highlights.

Explore results from the 2023 Great Backyard Bird Count

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2023

How beavers are reviving wetlands

The BBC  reports

We are losing wetlands three times faster than forests, according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. When it comes to restoring them to their natural state there is one hero with remarkable powers – the beaver.

Wetlands store water, act as a carbon sink, and are a source of food. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands says they do more for humanity than all other terrestrial ecosystems – and yet they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

The main problems are agricultural and urban expansion, as well as droughts and higher temperatures brought about by climate change.

But if you have a river and a beaver it may be possible to halt this process.

Read more How beavers are reviving wetlands – BBC News

KSBW reports on the damage to several parks in Big Sur.

California’s repeated run of atmospheric river storms has left “major” damage behind at two of Big Sur’s most beloved state parks.The damages at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Andrew Molera State Park came after recent torrential rains caused the Big Sur River to flood at staggering levels.

Read story and see photos at Big Sur State Parks Damaged by Torrential Rains and Atmospheric River Storms

Are you interested in conducting research that will have an impact on the conservation and management of rare and at-risk plant species? We are seeking botany-minded people to join our plant ecology team in the Mojave Desert and conduct research on five rare species that reside in Clark County, Nevada including sticky buckwheat (Eriogonum viscidulum) and Blue Diamond cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata), and three species under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, Las Vegas bearpoppy (Arctomecon californica), three-corner milkvetch (Astragalus geyeri var. triquetrus), and white-margined beardtongue (Penstemon albomarginatus). Combined with the 20-year drought currently gripping the region, ongoing land use threats are causing further population declines and fragmenting remaining habitats of these already rare species.

Learn more and apply go to  Biological Science Technician, Rare Plants (Mojave Desert) – CNPS Forums

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 21, 2023

Grassroots data is vital for reducing deadly bird-window strikes 

Cornell Chronicle

Citizen science has enabled much of the progress in understanding the scope of bird deaths from building and window collisions, according to a new study, but these grassroots efforts need better funding and more buy-in from government and industry.

These conclusions stem from research by authors at 22 universities, non-governmental organizations, government agencies and conservation organizations. Their study, “Citizen Science to Address the Global Issue of Bird-Window Collisions,” published March 7 in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. As examples, the study highlights the Lights Out Texas program in the United States, the China Anti-Bird Window Collision Action Alliance and the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) in Canada. FLAP Canada has been at the forefront of this issue for 25 years and is the template for many of the newer collision prevention efforts.

Read more Grassroots data is vital for reducing deadly bird-window strikes | Cornell Chronicle

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 20, 2023

Witness Spectacular Migration Moments LIVE

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary features one of the most intimate and stunning views of the Sandhill Crane migration that occurs along the Platte River in Nebraska.

Thanks to our partnership with, nature-lovers all over the world can watch breathtaking moments like the morning lift-off where tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes rise up like an enormous cloud or their peaceful return to the river’s shallow sandbars each evening silhouetted by the setting sun.

Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet and research suggests that migration has likely taken Sandhill Cranes across this region for many thousands, if not millions, of years. This spring, take part in appreciating this ancient and majestic display of birdlife from the comfort of home.

Watch Now
California Department of Fish and Wildlife News Release

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released an updated report identifying the most important areas to advance wildlife connectivity projects. The report, “Restoring California’s Wildlife Connectivity 2022 (PDF)(opens in new tab),” prioritizes which roadways, railways and other human-created infrastructure are the greatest barriers to wildlife movement addressing where habitat connectivity projects are needed most. The report lists 62 obstacles statewide, with 12 of those recognized as top priority barriers to remove. A vast majority of the barriers are part of the state highway system, but rail lines and canals also limit the ability of wildlife to roam freely.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 19, 2023

Online Lecture, March 22: San Bruno Mountain

from East Bay CNPS
San Bruno Mountain, a Bay Area Botanical Treasure March 22, 7:30 pm, via Zoom  –  Register to attend
San Bruno Mountain, located in the center of the San Francisco Bay Area, is a four-square-mile natural preserve touted by biologist E. O. Wilson as one of the world’s rare biodiversity hot spots. Join David L. Nelson and Doug Allshouse as they take us on a virtual tour of this botanical treasure across the Bay with beautiful photographs and engaging stories of the mountain and their adventures exploring and documenting its diversity.


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 19, 2023

Anza Borrego Desert Updates

See these updates from the Anza Borrego Dessert Natural History Association for events and wildflower status at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 19, 2023

We’re getting better at putting predators back in the wild

Anthropocene reports

New research shows measures such as acclimation pens and using wild-born animals helps reintroductions succeed.

Read story at We’re getting better at putting predators back in the wild

NPR reports

Famous naturalist John James Audubon “did despicable things” and supported his work by buying and selling enslaved people — and that’s according to the organization that bears his name. But the National Audubon Society’s board of directors rejected the idea of changing its name this week, setting off resignations amid plans from local groups to rename themselves anyway.

Read on

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 18, 2023

395 Remains Closed

Some blue sky today while we try to dig out before the next storm. US 395 remains closed at Mono Lake due to avalanches over the road. Update-to-date road conditions at

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 18, 2023

UC Berkeley Botantical Garden 3/14/2023

Photos from the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden on Tuesday March 14. 2023.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 18, 2023

Highway 395 closed

Some blue sky today while we try to dig out before the next storm. US 395 remains closed at Mono Lake due to avalanches over the road. Update-to-date road conditions at

Berkeley News  reports

Climate change isn’t the only threat facing California’s birds. Over the course of the 20th century, urban sprawl and agricultural development have dramatically changed the landscape of the state, forcing many native species to adapt to new and unfamiliar habitats.

In a new study, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, use current and historical bird surveys to reveal how land use change has amplified — and in some cases mitigated — the impacts of climate change on bird populations in Los Angeles and the Central Valley.

Read more  Climate change, urbanization drive major declines in L.A.’s birds | Berkeley News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2023

King Canyon and Sequoia National Parks Updates

As we prepare for the next round of weather, park staff are also busy assessing damage from previous storms. Significant damage has been reported outside the park along Highway 180. Based on that information, Kings Canyon National Park is expected to remain closed to public access through March.
In Sequoia National Park, staff are still assessing the unprecedented amount of damage affecting road access to the Foothills, Giant Forest, Lodgepole, and Wuksachi areas. A prolonged closure extending many weeks is expected. There is no estimated reopening date at this time for any of these areas, but we expect to provide more detailed information about the damage and storm recovery plans next week for these areas, as well as the Mineral King area. Stay tuned.
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 17, 2023

Yosemite to Open On Limited Basis 3/18

Yosemite National Park will restore minimal public access starting Saturday, March 18, 2023. Yosemite Valley will be open from sunrise to sunset starting Saturday, with very limited services available. The only access to Yosemite Valley will be via Highway 140 and El Portal Road, with a short detour in El Portal. Hetch Hetchy will reopen from 8 am to 5 pm daily but will only be accessible via Highway 120 west of Yosemite and Evergreen Road. All other roads and areas of the park, including Big Oak Flat and Wawona Roads, will remain closed.

Read More…

CNET reports

Fairy lanterns laugh in the face of common knowledge about plants. They lack green leaves and don’t use photosynthesis. About 90 species of fairy lanterns are known of. One in particular, Thismia kobensis, was thought to be extinct but this “ethereal” plant has been rediscovered after three decades.

Read more at ‘Ethereal’ Fairy Lantern Plant Thought to Be Extinct Rediscovered in Japan – CNET

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2023

Birds of the World Discovery Webinar: Hybridization in Birds

from CornellLab of Ornithology

Birds of the World invites you to check out their free Discovery Webinar series. Their next webinar, to be held on March 23, will explore the complex phenomenon of hybridization in birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology evolutionary biologists will give a short presentation addressing the relevance of hybridization to biology, taxonomy, conservation, and evolution followed by an open discussion and Q&A.

Register for the Birds of the World Discovery webinar

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2023

Celebration of the Whales 3/26/23

This year’s event will feature two new activities – a concert in the park and a community “paint a whale” mural project. In addition, there will be family-friendly activities, chalk art, shopping, a children’s fun zone, and more.

Read More…

HuffPost  reports

President Joe Biden will use his executive powers to establish a sweeping national monument at Spirit Mountain, a landscape that is sacred to a dozen Native American tribes, a senior administration official confirmed to HuffPost.

Read more Biden To Create New National Monument At Nevada’s Spirit Mountain | HuffPost Latest News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2023

Help Save Mono Lake

from Mono Lake Committee

There’s still time to make your voice heard for Mono Lake! Submit your comment letter by Friday, March 24 at 4:00pm PDT to urge the State Water Board to suspend water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power until the lake level rises enough to avert the current ecological crises and to schedule a hearing quickly to implement long-term stream diversion changes that will ensure Mono Lake rises to the healthy, sustainable level mandated by the State Water Board decades ago.

Despite this year’s wet winter, Mono Lake is still critically low—just 25% of the way to the level mandated by the State Water Board. The Board must act to preserve the lake level gains of this and any future year, suspending stream diversions until the lake reaches a healthy level.



Thank you to the 1,100 Mono Lake Committee members and supporters who have already submitted comment letters to the State Water Board. Your words are making an impact. We will keep you informed on the Board’s next steps, including what management actions the Board takes following the workshop and comment period.

Thank you for being vigilant with us and ready to speak up for Mono Lake at a moment’s notice.

The New York Times reports

The Biden administration said Tuesday that it was withdrawing a land swap deal that would have helped to clear the way for construction of a road through a wildlife refuge in Alaska. The move is a reversal of the government’s position and one that could put an end to a project that would cut through the vast wild area, originally protected under President Jimmy Carter.

Read more at Biden Voids Trump-Era Deal to Allow a Road Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 16, 2023

China battles alien marsh grass at unprecedented scale

Science  reports

Along its 18,000 kilometers of coastline, China has been taken over by a green invader. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) grows tall and thick across tidal mudflats, depriving endangered migratory birds of habitat, clogging shipping channels, and ruining clam farms. Now, China aims to beat back 90% of the weed by 2025. “This is a mammoth undertaking,” says Steven Pennings, a coastal ecologist at the University of Houston. “It’s audacious.”

The nationwide effort, launched last month, “is by far the largest action plan for wetland invasive species control in China and even in the world,” says Bo Li, an invasion ecologist at Fudan and Yunnan universities who was not involved in creating the plan. It won’t be simple or cheap, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, Li estimates. And schemes to dig up, drown, or poison the weed all have side effects. “It’s going to be really difficult,” says Sam Reynolds, a biologist at the University of Cambridge.

Read more at China battles alien marsh grass at unprecedented scale | Science | AAAS

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 15, 2023

Audubon Society Votes to Keep Its Name Despite Ties to Slavery 

The New York Times reports

The National Audubon Society announced on Wednesday that its board of directors had voted to retain the organization’s name despite pressure to end its association with John James Audubon, the 19th-century naturalist and illustrator who enslaved people, drawing backlash from fellow bird groups that have already changed their names.

The National Audubon Society’s decision faced sharp criticism on Wednesday from other birding groups across the country, including its own staff in the Bird Union.

Read article at National Audubon Society Will Keep Its Name Despite Ties to Slavery

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