Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve

Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve

The Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve is in Lake County, California. It is one of 119 ecological reserves [The ecological reserve system was authorized by the state legislature in 1968. The mission of the reserve system is the conservation and protection of rare plants, animals and habitats, and to provide areas for education and scientific research.] managed by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG).

The vernal pool is eight acres (five hectares) and is located in Loch Lomond on State Route 175 in northern California. It is surrounded by private land with the highway bordering on the east side.The vernal pool provides habitat for the rare and endangered "Eryngium constancei" or button celery (also called coyote thistle). [Button celery is a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae). Eryngium species are biennial or perennial, with an overwintering rootstock. The plant parts are often spiny, hence the word “thistle” in the common names (coyote thistle). The entire plant is covered with downy hairs.The downy hairs and sparsely-flowered heads of Eryngium constancei distinguish it from other Eryngium species. All other species in the genus are hairless.] The button celery was first collected in the vernal pool in 1941, and not until the late 1990s was there another discovery at two other locations in Lake County and one location in Sonoma County. [ [http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es/recovery_plans/vp_final_recovery_plan/loch_lomond_button-celery.pdf United States Fish and Wildlife Service webpage on the button celery plant.] ]

Background

The Loch Lomond button celery was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1985 as an emergency measure due to the threat of habitat destruction from proposed dredging and filling of the vernal pool.The Loch Lomond Draft Management Plan, CA Dept. of Fish and Game, Sept 1988 p.4] The land was purchased by the CDFG on March 28, 1988 for $46,000 with funds provided by the State Public Works Board [The State Public Works Board (SPWB) was created by the Legislature to oversee the fiscal matters associated with construction of projects for state agencies, and to select and acquire real property for state facilities and programs.] and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. A post and rail fence was installed by CDGF to limit access.

The area was used as a recreation field for baseball games, horseback riding and cycling and was adjacent to the Loch Lomond Lodge, a popular resort until destroyed by fire on August 14, 1967. ["Mountain Resort Hit by $110,000 Fire" The Lake County Record Bee, Thursday, August 17, 1967 ]

Flora and fauna

The southern portion of Lake County is in the Mayacamas Mountains of the California Coast Ranges. Nearby Cobb Mountain ( 4,722 feet elev.) is the highest peak. Although extensively logged in the past, this area still has a forest of Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, black oak, Madrone and Douglas-fir with an underbrush consisting of manzanita, ground rose and California Lilac.

Other plant species that have been identified in the vernal pool area are the many-flowered Navarretia, few-flowered Navarretia (both federally listed as Endangered as of June 1997 [ [http://cnps.web.aplus.net/cgi-bin/inv/inventory.cgi/Go?_id=navarretia_leucocephala_ssp._plieantha&sort=DEFAULT&search=%2bEndangered CA Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered plants.] ] ), monkeyflower, and Boggs Lake dodder.

Wildlife observed in the area include deer, raccoons, weasels, skunk, gray squirrel and fox. Bird species include Great-blue Heron, Mallard, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, Scrub Jay, Robin, Western and Mountain Bluebird, flycatcher, American Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee and Audubon's Warbler.

Footnotes

Further reading

* [http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/SpeciesReport.do?spcode=Q29S U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service status sheet on Eryngium constance (Coyote Thistle, Button Celery).] retrieved 24 April 2008
* [http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/WWW/esis/lists/e701033.htm Draft report on Loch Lomond Button Celery from Virginia Tech University (dated 13 March 1996).] retrieved 24 Apr 2008
* [http://cnps.web.aplus.net/cgi-bin/inv/inventory.cgi/Go?_id=eryngium_constancei&sort=DEFAULT&search=Loch%20Lomond%20button%20celery California Native Plant Society's page on the Loch Lomond button celery]
* [http://www.vernalpools.org/ California Vernal Pools website] -(much good information here)
* [http://ceres.ca.gov/wetlands/geo_info/vernal_pools_map.html California Wetlands Information System-map of Calif. vernal pool regions]

External links

* [http://www.dfg.ca.gov/ California Department of Fish and Game official website]
* [http://www.cnps.org/ California Native Plant Society]

ee also

List of California Department of Fish and Game protected areas


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