Special Summer Hiking Series Focuses on West Peak
Join One Tam partner staff and regional experts this summer for a new series of hikes focusing on the unique landscape of Mt. Tam’s West Peak. This special site is the focus of new efforts to restore ecological function and improve visitor experience at the mountain’s true peak. Learn more about the history of West Peak and our current work at onetam.org/projects-and-programs/west-peak.
Saturday, June 17, 10 am–1:30 pm: Rare Habitats of West Peak and the Mt. Tam Region. Explore West Peak and its environs as you learn more about the unique plants and plant communities that call West Peak and the mountain's ridge tops home. Led by Rosa Schneider, Restoration & Community Science Program Manager for One Tam, and Naomi LeBeau, Restoration Specialist with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Saturday, June 24, 10 am–12:30 pm: Hydrology of West Peak. Join local experts and Marin Municipal Water District staff and learn more about how the hydrology of West Peak influences the watersheds it feeds, and how geology and climate in turn influence the mountain's hydrology. Led by UC Davis hydrologist Peter Hartsough and Mike Swezy, MMWD’s Watershed Manager.
Saturday, July 15, 10 am–12:30 pm: Opportunities for Restoration. Join Claire Mooney, Deputy Director of the Parks Conservancy's Design & Planning Department to learn more about the opportunities and constraints for restoration of West Peak. As we hike, we will discuss what recent technical studies have identified as opportunities and constraints for the site’s natural restoration, including conservation and enhancement of wetland and serpentine habitats. Check back on onetam.org to register.
Saturday, August 19, 10 am–12:30 pm: Geology of West Peak. Join UC Davis Soil Scientist Dr. Vic Claassen and Claire Mooney, Deputy Director of the Parks Conservancy's Design & Planning Department to learn more about the geology of West Peak, and how this informs restoration alternatives. As we hike, we will discuss geologic formations within the larger San Francisco Bay Area, explore the unique properties of serpentine soils, and discuss opportunities and challenges for restoration presented by the site's geology. Check back on onetam.org to register.
Photo by One Tam Staff
New Inventory of Mt. Tam's Bats Begins this Month
One of the information gaps identified during the 2016 Mt. Tam health assessment was that we don’t know very much about bats on the mountain. Marin potentially supports up to 16 species of bats. This year’s study includes a number of components that will increase our understanding of bats and their ecology in Marin, and will employ several sampling methods including acoustic monitoring and mist netting. Information collected will include bat activity and species identification.
In some geographic areas, additional information will be gathered, including sex, reproductive condition, age, health, tissue samples, and genetic analysis. Of particular interest is surveying for the presence of a debilitating disease to bats—white-nose syndrome, which has not yet been observed in California. White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. The disease is estimated to have killed over six million bats in the eastern United States since 2006, and can kill up to 100% of bats in a colony during hibernation.
The overarching goals of the study are to understand the relationships of bats and bat diversity to the landscape, the distribution of reproductive bats, and to provide insights on roosting ecology and roost selection in both summer and winter. This kind of data will contribute to our understanding of the diversity, health, and distribution of bats in the region, and inform management around protecting these species from disease.
Serpentine Barrens and Grasslands Monitored for Rare Plants
With spring peaking, the One Tam Conservation Management staff has shifted its attention from primarily tracking down weeds to monitoring the health of Tam’s rare habitats and plants. Focusing first on grassland assessments, the team hopes to begin closing data gaps identified in the Measuring the Health of a Mountain paper presented last fall.
This work entails identifying grassland stands for assessment on partner lands, and then conducting field visits using the California Native Plant Society relevé protocol. Staff identify every plant species inside a plot within the stand to facilitate an understanding of species diversity and impacts of altered fire regimes, in particular. By analyzing the health of the mountain’s grasslands, the Conservation Management Team can more easily prioritize grasslands for restoration work. As of May 22, the team had assessed over 25 stands of grassland.
In addition to work in grasslands, the team will reprise the serpentine barren monitoring project initiated with MMWD in 2016. Expanding this work to partner lands with this rare habitat type, the team looks forward to documenting the presence and abundance of rare plants such as the Tamalpais jewelflower and Marin dwarf flax. A training day included staff from One Tam and MMWD, ensuring that each team is using the same methods, while simultaneously increasing efficiencies. The team hopes to survey 20 or more barrens this season. Expect highlights in this newsletter toward the fall!
Photo by Rachel Kesel. One Tam staff, Allison Titus and David Greenberger, assess a grassland on Marin County Parks land with assistance from Grey Arena, a Redwood Creek Watershed Collaborative intern.
New Species for Mt. Tam Area Recorded at One Tam Bioblitzes
A bioblitz is a community science event where volunteers document every species of plant and animal they observe at a particular location, adding to our knowledge of biodiversity on the mountain.
We are excited to tell you that the events this spring have yielded new species records (both native and non-native) that have not been documented before in these “bioblitzed” regions. Check out what our community scientists have found!
New species found at Roy’s Redwoods (adding to 150+ previously documented plant and animal species):
- Fairy slipper orchid (Calypso bulbosa)
- Sand pygmyweed (Crassula connata)
- Giant trillium (Trillium chloropetalum)
- Broadleaf glandweed (Parentucellia latifolia…a weed, but good to know!)
New species found at Homestead Valley (adding to 153 previously documented plant and animal species):
- Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
- Sand mat (Cardionema ramosissimum)
- Bearded iris (Iris germanica)
- Narrowleaf cottonrose (Logfia gallica)
- Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
- Annual or miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor)
- Raphanus raphanistrum (a type of wild radish)
- Hop clover (Trifolium campestre)
- Dwarf sack clover (Trifolium depauperatum)
- Pale sack clover (Trifolium depauperatum amplectens)
- Clustered clover (Trifolium glomeratum)
- Pin point clover (Trifolium gracilentum)
- Macrae’s clover (Trifolium macraei)
- Little owl’s clover (Triphysaria pusilla)
- Purple vetch (Vicia benghalensis)
- Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa)
Many of the above species haven’t been captured on professional or California Native Plant Society lists for these specific sites, or on Calflora, the statewide plant database. These results will help the agencies expand their species lists and inform management efforts at these sites.
Photo by Lieven Leroy
Mark Your Calendars! Special Events Coming this Fall
Wildlife Symposium: Thursday, October 26, Noon–3:30 pm, Marin Art and Garden Center
This follow-up to the 2016 Mt. Tam Science Summit will feature an afternoon focused on the mountain’s wildlife. We’ll share results from the Wildlife Picture Index Project’s first three years’ of data collection, as well as updates on other wildlife studies (bats, pollinators, etc.) coming out of last years’ Health of Mt. Tam report. Registration will open in August; check onetam.org for details.
Tam Talk: Thursday, October 26, 4–6 pm
Stick around after the wildlife symposium for our annual Tam Talk, where we’ll recap the year’s progress and share One Tam’s 2018 proposed work plan.
June Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Wednesday, June 14, 3–5 pm: One Tam Member Hike - Phoenix Lake and the Historic Log Cabin. Join Mike Swezy, MMWD Watershed Resources Manager, for a hike at Phoenix Lake and the historic log cabin. The site is a scenic gem with great birdwatching, and the hike is less than a mile each way. Built in the 1880s, the structure may be the only log house of its kind remaining in Marin County. Recognizing the site’s significance in Marin history, the Marin Municipal Water District and One Tam are now exploring options to restore this local landmark.
Saturday, June 10, 10 am–1 pm: Habitat Restoration at Easkoot Creek
Saturday, June 17, 9 am–Noon: Habitat Restoration at Creekside Marsh
Thursday, June 15, 1–4 pm: One Tam Event: Wildlife Picture Index Workshop
Tuesday, June 27, 1–4 pm: One Tam Event: Wildlife Picture Index Workshop
Check onetam.org/calendar for more events from One Tam partners!
Photo by Tatiana Manzanillo
Wildlife Picture Index Project Expands to Southern Marin
About 80 wildlife cameras will be installed this summer on the southern side of Mt. Tam within the Redwood Creek Watershed. This expands the monitoring program from the approximately 100 cameras currently capturing data on wildlife in the northern part of the mountain.
The new wildlife cameras will be installed in mid-June and the One Tam partners will work with interested community scientists and volunteers to begin collecting data. One Tam scientists have particular interest in looking at summer data this year since we had such a wet winter, preceded by several years of drought.
Roys Redwoods Restoration Kicks Off
Marin County Parks and One Tam have kicked off a series of workshops designed to understand restoration opportunities and visitor use at Roy’s Redwoods, a beautiful preserve in San Geronimo Valley that’s home to a grove of lofty redwoods and many other plant and animal species. This work will be used to inform restoration priorities, resource protection, and approaches for sustainable visitor access that also address soil compaction and heavily impacted creeks.
Initial work includes conducting a site analysis and visitor use survey. Marin County Parks is also conducting a hydrology study for the preserve. In May, the project team held its first workshop, where two dozen subject matter experts gathered to create a larger understanding of the natural resources and processes occurring in the preserve. A second workshop will be held later this summer to engage a broader group of stakeholders.
This initial information gathering and planning phase will wrap up with a public forum in early 2018 to share outcomes of the site analysis, visitor survey, and hydrology study, and to invite the public to share their knowledge and vision for Roy’s Redwoods. A preliminary site plan will emerge from this process to help guide future work at this special site.
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