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Membership Meetings

The Oakley Sand Mounds: Imperiled East Bay Ecosystem
Speakers: Heath Bartosh and Christopher Thayer

Wednesday, September 24, 7:30 pm
Garden Room, Orinda Public Library (directions below)

John Marsh’s Rancho Los Meganos, “the dunes,” along Marsh Creek was named for the extensive sand mounds in the region from what is now Antioch through Oakley and south to Brentwood. These scattered deposits of wind‐blown sands near the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers harbor an assemblage of unusual plants that constitute a vegetation community unique to this region and largely unnoticed by the scientific community. While much of the dune area and attendant plants have been lost to development, significant pockets of intact habitat remain.

Contra Costa‐based botanists Heath Bartosh and Christopher Thayer have been studying and inventorying the “Oakley dune” flora for many years. Their presentation will focus on identification of the dune habitat by recognition of native plants characteristic of the sands, with the hope of encouraging an effort to locate and inventory remaining stands. The ultimate goal is not only to raise awareness of this rare, local botanical treasure, but to explore the possibility of protecting, preserving, and potentially restoring suitable remnants for public education and enjoyment.

Heath Bartosh is chair of the Rare Plant Committee of East Bay CNPS and serves on the state CNPS Rare Plant Program Committee. He is also a Research Associate at the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley and a Principal and Senior Botanist at Nomad Ecology.

Christopher Thayer is a California botanist and naturalist based in the East Bay, where he has lived and explored since a young age. He works independently as a biological consultant, with an emphasis on field studies of rare plants, animals, wetlands, and other habitats.

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Call 510-496-6016 or email sr0433@yahoo.com if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way:

From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.
From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.

Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the southeast side of the two-story building on your right. There is additional free parking beneath the building as well as on the street.

From BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Library.

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