California

Vanessa Handley, University of California Botanical Garden

University of California Botanical Garden (UCBG) has long been engaged in recovery efforts for State and Federally endangered large-flowered fiddleneck, Amsinckia grandiflora. Initially UCBG staff focused on creating a substantial seed bank for the species and, through nursery augmentation of wild-collections, generated a bank of over 100,000 seed (stored along maternal lines). In 2016, a subset of this seed was deployed for a large-scale reintroduction effort at three sites in San Joaquin County, California. The reintroduction was conducted in partnership with Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting (with funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) and entailed cultivation and outplanting of over 4000 seedlings. This endeavor - made more challenging by severe terrain and freezing winter rains - resulted in modest persistence in 2017, followed by a banner spring in 2018. UCBG staff and volunteers completed a supplementary round of outplanting this past winter and, by March, all three introduction sites were awash with orange - the Amsinckia grandiflora Super Bloom! This exciting outcome was potentiated by engagement of diverse stakeholders: environmental consultants, multiple agency partners, public and private landowners and UCBG. While the taxon still has a long path to recovery, this preliminary success is a testament to the power of these partnerships. Our recovery implementation strategy will be discussed.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 3, 2019

Martin F. Quigley, University of California-Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Our mission is to connect people with plants. Our conservation work is dedicated to preservation of biodiversity, and enabling evolutionary processes to continue at the population level. Our primary focus is California, particularly the Central Coast ecosystems. We are developing a 60 acre California Conservation Garden featuring both rare and common plant-community-based gardens, as well as traditional taxonomic collections. We have embarked on a long -erm effort to identify endangered plant populations, study biodiversity, and develop living collections (for research, education and display) of the central coast chaparral, forests, and prairies. We conduct vegetation surveys, map important plant areas (IPAs), and establish long term monitoring-sites for reference populations. The Arboretum has a thriving collecting program and expanding seed bank, collecting wild seed from rare species and distributing them to long-term seed banks in the network. We also assist the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Native Plant Society with their mapping and classification of rare natural plant communities. Lately we have been participating in plant rescue operations, such as replanting Dudleyas endangered by poachers from public lands. We are committed to teaching our University students botany, horticulture and field work related to conservation stewardship, restoration and land management.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 3, 2019

Cheryl Birker, Seed Conservation Program Manager and Evan Meyer, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Abies bracteata(Bristlecone fir; Santa Lucia fir) is a 12-30 meter tall tree restricted to a small, wildfire prone range in the Santa Lucia Mountains on the central coast of California. While several botanical gardens maintain living specimens, it remains rare in cultivation and until this project, seeds had yet to be conserved in agermplasmrepository for long-term conservation. In 2014 Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) partnered with the United States Forest Service to seed bankAbies bracteata, but a number of complications postponed the collection, including low cone production, high seed predation, and cone inaccessibility. The populations have been impacted by years of drought as well as by the 2016 Soberanes fire, which also impeded collecting efforts. In 2017, a maternal-line conservation seed collection was made with the help of a tree climber and some unconventional collecting techniques. Seeds are now stored in the RSABG seed bank, with a backup collection at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation and a living collection in production in the RSABG nursery facility. The lessons learned during this collecting effort will help inform future collections ofAbies bracteatafrom additional populations throughout its range.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018