|California Native Plant Society|
The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) was formed in 1965 in the East Bay region. Today it is a statewide organization with thirty-three chapters. The East Bay Chapter covers Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The state organization and the local chapters work together to increase understanding of California's native flora and to preserve this rich resource for future generations.
The flower in the banner at top is that of Grindelia hirsutula. Photo by Janice Bray
Photographs of native plants and related activity
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2014 Conservation Analyst Appeal Now Underway
We are entering our Chapter's ninth year of supporting a half-time professional Conservation Analyst! The funds needed, $40,000, are provided by Chapter members and supporters. We are asking for your generous contributions to this fund.
For two years, our Conservation Analyst, Mack Casterman, has provided indispensable support to the all-volunteer Conservation Committee. Mack is involved at all levels in our efforts to conserve our most valuable local native plants and the ecosystems they support. These efforts require specific knowledge about the locale and the plants, along with site visits, contacts with professionals and local citizens, document reviews and comments. Sustained effort is necessary. Some conservation issues on the agenda last for years, others demand immediate actions. We need to have Mack on the team to be as successful as possible.
Please contribute as generously as you can so we can keep Mack working with us. Mail a check made out to CNPS to California Native Plant Society, Box 5597, Elmwood Station, Berkeley CA 94705, or click on the PayPal button below.
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2014 Conservation Analyst Fund Almost There! $1579 needed to meet our Goal
We are thrilled that we are so close to our goal of $40,000. Many thanks go to all of you who have contributed so far. It is very gratifying to the Board and the Conservation Committee to receive your support.
If you haven’t yet contributed, donations may be made using PayPal (click on the Paypal button at the bottom of the left-hand column of this page) or send a check to the Chapter’s address (P.O. Box 5597, Elmwood Station, Berkeley, CA 94705). Please write “Conservation Analyst Fund” in the memo. All contributions are tax deductible.
Saving Knowland Park
Over the past month CNPS and Friends of Knowland Park have continued to leaflet and picket the Oakland Zoo to inform visitors of the zoo’s plans to expand into Knowland Park. As we reach out to the public, we have been surprised to learn that many people thought that the project was killed when Measure A1 failed last year. Sad to say, despite growing public opposition to the California Trails project, the zoo continues down its stubborn path to destruction.
Through Freedom of Information Act and Public Record Act requests, we have learned that both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have rejected the zoo’s claims that the impacts of the project are only temporary. Instead the agencies agree with one another that the impacts are permanent and as a result will require approximately 20 more acres of Alameda whipsnake habitat in order to mitigate for these impacts. We learned that the zoo met with the agencies for the purpose of discussing how to decrease this required acreage, but we do not yet know the outcome of that meeting or if and when the agencies will grant them their permits.
While the zoo is busy greenwashing its reputation as a conservation organization, its behavior with the regulatory agencies behind closed doors tells a different story. Once again correspondence reveals the central irony: that the zoo is attempting to lay claims to the conservation mantle with this project, even as it tries to whittle away mitigation requirements behind closed doors. This is not how conservation organizations view wild land habitat--as a setting, a backdrop against which to portray an imitation of nature. Authenticity is key to developing a true conservation ethic, and without the ability to identify native habitats as they exist in nature, our children and coming generations will never be able to become the conservationists, naturalists, biologists, and botanists of the future. Bulldozing the living laboratory to serve the ambitions of building a bigger zoo is an act of singular destruction.
We need your help in spreading the word. Currently, we have two petitions to sign: the first is to the major donors of the zoo, asking them to withdraw funding and support for this project as it is currently designed. The second is to the members of the East Bay Zoological Society’s Board of Trustees asking them to reconsider their decision to move forward with the project. (See below for links to the petitions.) At a recent Board meeting, we learned that the zoo has gotten a $10 million “bridge” loan, but we have no means for knowing how the load was secured. Although the Zoological Society is required by its Management Agreement to report on its financial status (including submitting capital spending plans to the city), it has not done so. Multiple Public Record Act requests revealed that a one page capital spending plan consisted solely of estimated costs of a list of projects, but absolutely not a shred of information as to how these projects would be paid for. Furthermore, we can find no evidence that the $10 million loan was approved by the Oakland City Council as required by the Management Agreement.
It appears that the zoo will plunge ahead recklessly regardless of contractual and legal requirements, public opinion, or common sense. If you are interested in helping us combat this project and its potential to damage and destroy two rare plant communities and many species of locally rare plants, please contact our Conservation Analyst, Mack Casterman, at 510-734-0335 or at email@example.com. For more information about Knowland Park and the fight to save it, visit www.saveknowland.org.
Last minute plant report: although two years of drought and continued overgrazing by goats produced an ugly moonscape in the park through the summer and fall months, the recent meager rains have begun to green up the native grasses, Fremont’s lilies have begun to bloom, and the manzanitas are producing nascent inflorescences. Out on the native prairie there are thousands of lupine cotyledons peeking out of the soil, promising another year of spectacular blooms (perhaps in April?) if this week’s predicted storms deliver some substantial rain.
Petition to big donors:
Petition to Zoo Board:
The Knowland Park Team
The Guidebook to the Botanical Priority Protection Areas of the East Bay is now available online. Click here to access this marvelous resource, which includes a beautiful interactive map.
Plant Fair October 12-13, 20113 Photos by Joe Willingham
Sign the Change.org Petition to Help Save Knowland Park!
A bird’s eye view of the Oakland Zoo’s proposed expansion site at Knowland Park – note the rare maritime chaparral in the right side of the picture. photo Copyright, Steve Whittaker
Your help is needed to save Oakland’s largest city park – Knowland Park – from an unnecessary and destructive zoo expansion project! Despite pleas by a wide range of conservation groups to modify their project, Oakland Zoo executives have pushed forward with plans to bulldoze and build on rare wildlife and plant habitat, putting in danger threatened species like the Alameda Whipsnake, and the wide variety of wildlife that call Knowland Park home. Knowland Park is a critical piece of EBCNPS’s “Foothills of South Oakland” Botanical Priority Protection Area due to its acres of remnant native grasslands as well as a stand of rare maritime chaparral. Both habitats will be heavily impacted by the Zoo’s proposed development plan.
Please follow this link to join the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the Friends of Knowland Park and the Center for Biological Diversity in calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect this park from the zoo’s destructive expansion plan!
To follow along with our work to save Knowland Park, please “like” us on Facebook and share this info with your firends and neighbors. You can also visit the Knowland Park Coalition website at saveknowland.org for up to date reporting on the ongoing efforts to gain permanent protection for this wonderful park. Knowland Park has been referred to as Oakland’s best kept secret, but we are hopeful that with your help it won’t stay a secret much longer.
Click on the button below to make a donation to Save Knowland Park.
Rescue Tesla Park's natural treasures
Buttercups (Ranunculus californicus) in Tesla Park. Photo by Mack Casterman.
Friends of Tesla Park
Visit the Friends of Tesla Park web site, to learn more about the Friends' efforts to prevent destruction of 3,400 acres of eastern Alameda County native habitat, and to get involved.
As a Friend, EBCNPS supports establishing Tesla Park as a non-motorized low impact historic and natural resource park and preserve. [read more]
For twenty years amateurs and professionals concerned with the East Bay flora have found Barbara Ertter’s Annotated Checklist of the East Bay Flora an indispensable resource. Now Dr. Ertter and restoration ecologist, botanist and photographer Lech Naumovich have produced a second edition incorporating a wealth of new information. The book is available at Native Here Nursery and at the East Bay Chapter membership programs. It may be ordered from Delia Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also order the book online by clicking on the Paypal button labeled "Buy Now" and following the instructions.
The East Bay Chapter of CNPS wants to keep track of rare and endemic native plants and plant communities in the East Bay. Within our catalogue of native plant species there is an abundance of rarity: from Mount Diablo endemics to Pleistocene relicts; narrowly distributed taxa to peripheral populations; and species that have suffered extirpations from changes in vegetation composition resulting from the introduction of non-native plant species or directly from human development. Based on the CNPS Inventory of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants of California, a total of 127 of these plant species are currently known from our Chapter area. These species are separated into five categories of rarity: