Yolo County Blogs
Restoration practitioners, native plant nursery employees, scientists, policymakers and others who are concerned about preventing the spread of pests, pathogens and disease through ecological restoration activities are invited to a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources workshop. The inaugural “‘Do no harm' workshop: Considerations of pathogens, pests, and plant disease in restoration activities” will be held at the UC Palm Desert Campus on Thursday, Nov. 5.
Restoration is the process of attempting to reestablish healthy plant communities and ecosystem function to a damaged or degraded habitat. Restoration can include passive measures such as the removal of grazing animals as well as active measures such as replanting trees or seeding-in native grass seed.
“Restoration is hampered by a variety of obstacles, including lack of resources, invasive species, fire and drought,” said Elise Gornish, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis who is organizing the workshop with Travis Bean, UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside.
“One aspect we are focusing on at our workshop is the inadvertent movement of plant pathogens, pests and diseases in restoration activities,” said Gornish. “This workshop will focus on identifying and mitigating these inadvertent actions.”
In addition to presentations and networking opportunities, the one-day workshop will feature a poster session on restoration research.
For more information or to register, visit donoharm.ucdavis.edu. Registration is $45 ($25 for students) and includes lunch. Continuing education units have been approved by the International Society of Arboriculture and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
In the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, people sometimes forget that Southern California actually has a wealth of natural open spaces. From the Mojave desert to four National Forests, Southern California supports vast wilderness spaces, many just a stone's throw from major cities. And if one looks closely, even those urban centers are filled with recreational parks and trails in an attempt to sate our appetite to connect with nature.
The University of Southern California Sea Grant program and the LA Conservation Corps SEA Lab teamed up to expose young adults from underserved communities to the coastal ecosystems of Southern California and potential jobs in the environmental field. The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum brings together California's rich cultural and natural histories in the heart of south Los Angeles County. Additional CalNat programs will soon be popping up in Cambria, Carlsbad, Riverside, Ojai, and Big Bear, and we're working to develop partnerships in San Diego and Orange Counties and along the L.A. River.
The CalNat curriculum highlights the incredible diversity of our state; the California Floristic Province is considered one of the 25 global biodiversity hotspots. This designation means that the region is home to a huge number of endemic species (those found nowhere else), but also that it shows an alarmingly high degree of habitat loss. Our mild Mediterranean climate and varying topography contribute to a diversity of species, but these are also attractive features to humans.
The 10 counties that define Southern California cover only a third of the state geographically, but they hold nearly two-thirds of the population, more than 22 million people. What an amazing pool of potential naturalists! And in neat symmetry with our diversity in geology and biology, perhaps no place in California exemplifies demographic diversity like Los Angeles. As our program expands, especially in the southern part of the state, CalNat is placing great emphasis on bringing our approach of “stewardship through discovery and action” to participants from a broad range of backgrounds.
Urban ecology is an emerging science built around the complexity of survival pressures and species interactions in human-impacted environments. In Southern California, dense human populations live cheek-by-jowl with coyotes, raccoons, rattlesnakes, bears, and mountain lions, and our habits and infrastructure influence their movements. Human development often fragments natural habitats, creating isolated islands that may not support viable populations of native species and may favor invasions by non-natives. As these environments lose functionality, we lose important “ecosystem services,” such as flood buffering by coastal wetlands.
So it's all the more important that Southern Californians take a greater interest in understanding and shaping our place in the natural world. If we can forge meaningful connections with the natural resources in the places we live, we can learn to protect those resources. This is already starting to happen, with initiatives like L.A.'s Sustainable City pLAn, the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and countless Internet blogs about local hiking trails, not to mention plenty of conservation organizations that have operated in Southern California for years and often partner with CalNat to offer courses.
In 2014, nearly 200 California Naturalists from partner organizations throughout the state came together in Asilomar for a conference to appreciate our natural resources and to celebrate each other's efforts in habitat restoration, citizen science, and interpretation. But our CalNat community has grown immensely, and we expect an even greater number to join us for field trips, lectures, trainings, and fun when we convene again in 2016, this time in Southern California. In the meantime, CalNat courses will continue to spring up all over the Southland, so those 22 million people won't have to fight traffic to find a class, and some nature, close to home.
Please join us for the annual Alfalfa & Forage Field Day to be held at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Friday, September 18th. Directions are provided on the attached meeting notice. We will begin the day viewing trials in...
California State Water Control Board reported last week.
With dry conditions forecast to continue through November, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources developed a series of videos with tips for enhancing conservation efforts in outdoor landscapes. The second video in the series, which debuts today, advises homeowners to limit outdoor irrigation to the early morning hours.
An obstacle to changing irrigation times for some Californians is a lack of familiarity with their own irrigation systems. The California Garden Web is an informative service of the UC Master Gardener Program that can help users understand the basics of irrigation controllers and irrigation system adjustment.
The website provides a link where residents can find their irrigation controller manuals online. A landscape irrigation worksheet developed by UC ANR researchers can be downloaded to finesse irrigation intervals and timing.
Much more gardening information can be found on the California Garden Web, which serves as a portal to organize and share UC ANR's vast collection of research-based information about gardening.
Following is the second video in the new series on water conservation in landscapes:
View the first video in the series, with advise on prioritizing plants when irrigation water is short.
An initiative to improve California water quality, quantity and security is part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.
Author: Jeannette Warnert
In the U.S., President Obama this year asked for a detailed report to determine the best ways to protect pollinators. His request asks the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and other pollinator health and “take action, as appropriate, to protect pollinators.”
In California – where neonics are used widely in tree crops, vineyards, field crops, nursery plants and home gardens – growers are concerned that a safe and effective class of pesticides will be pulled from their collection of tools.
University of California researchers will explore the science-based research on neonics at a public conference from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane. UC Davis professors, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) researchers and state officials are among the presenters.
Jim Bethke, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor, will be part of the afternoon panel at the event to address the use of neonics at plant nurseries.
“There is a place and a need for neonicotinoid pesticides,” Bethke said. “A tremendous amount of research has been done on the impact of neonics on honeybees, and the impact is minimal. The research is showing that there may be impacts in some uses that we need to take a closer look at. But to eliminate an entire class of pesticides from all applications doesn't make sense.”
Nurseries typically use the pesticide before the plants are shipped to retail outlets. The pesticide is not applied at retail stores. Plants are then purchased by consumers and put into landscapes. By that time, the amount of the pesticide left in the plant is very small.
“Our research has shown that there is a clear decline of the product in the plants over time,” Bethke said. “The concentrations found in nectar and pollen are at such low levels, they won't have any impact on pollinators.”
For this reason, the researchers have concluded that neonics are not contributing to colony collapse disorder, the unexplained bee die-off that has plagued commercial honeybee hives during the last decade.
“Beekeepers use more toxic pesticides than the neonics on honeybee colonies to control mites in the hive, which is far more impactful than neonics will ever be,” Bethke said.
Other speakers at the conference will address pesticide regulation of neonicotinoids in California, neonicotinoid risks associated with invasive species management, and past and current neonicotinoid and bee research.
Registration for the conference is $50, including lunch and a post-conference social hour. To register, go to the California Center for Urban Horticulture website. For more information, contact CCUH representative Kate Lincoln at firstname.lastname@example.org, (530) 752-6642.