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Registration open until August 20

Education Program - Workshops and Professional Training

Wetland/Riparian Plant Identification

August 28-30, 2017 (Monday - Wednesday)
Sacramento Valley Conservancy's Camp Pollock, Sacramento, CA

Instructor: David Magney, Rare Plant Program Manager, CNPS

Download the print-friendly flyer for this workshop (pdf)

Target Audience: Anyone who wants or needs to improve their knowledge and skills related to riparian/wetland plants, including professional and student botanists, biologists, arborists, and ecologists. Participants should have knowledge of basic plant terminology.

Description: This is an intensive intermediate plant identification course with an emphasis on riparian and wetland plant recognition and ecology. Emphasis will be given to northern California species and habitats; however, information learned in this class will be readily applicable throughout California and elsewhere. Common and rare species will be covered. This workshop will include classroom presentations and exercises, and field excursions, primarily around the American River. We will spend at least half the time in the field.

Participants will learn:

  • How to identify many riparian tree and shrub species, as well as herbaceous species, by sight and by using written dichotomous keys
  • Tips to remembering the challenging willows (Salix spp.)
  • How to use identification keys
  • Plant description terminology (Latin and Greek)
  • Tools available to help identify native plants.


Registration is now open! Last day to register is August 20, 2017.

Registration fees are discounted for CNPS members. If you are not a CNPS member, visit to join now and save!

Please note: class size is limited to 25 participants.

  Date CNPS Members Non-members
Wetland/Riparian Plant Identification (3-day course) August 28-30, 2017 $375 $395

Cancellation Policy: The last day to cancel your registration and receive any refund is Sunday, August 13, 2017. Refunds may be subject to processing fees. Please send cancellation requests by e-mail to Becky Reilly, . Click here for more details on the cancellation policy for CNPS workshops.

Schedule (subject to change):

Day 1 - Monday, August 28
Meet in the lodge at Camp Pollock

2:00 pm Introductions and overview
5:00 pm Break for the day

Day 2 - Tuesday, August 29
Meet in the lodge at Camp Pollock, coffee & bagels provided

8:30 am Plant identification and riparian ecology
Noon Lunch (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Field exercise
5:00 pm Break for the day

Day 3 - Wednesday, August 30
Meet in the lodge at Camp Pollock, coffee & bagels provided

8:30 am Review content from day 1
Noon Lunch (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Continued field exercises
3:00 pm Q&A; exam on materials for Certificate of Completion; course evaluations
4:30 pm Workshop concludes


Venue: This workshop will be held in the lodge at the Sacramento Valley Conservancy's Camp Pollock, located at 1501 Northgate Blvd., Sacramento, CA, 95815. Field sites will be within walking distance along the American River. Maps and directions will be provided to registered participants about a week before the workshop.

Materials Required: Please bring...

  • Hand lens
  • Clipboard
  • Field notebook and pencils
  • Bags for collecting plant material
  • Field-friendly lunches for two days
  • Snacks and plenty of water for all three days
  • Sturdy boots and field clothing appropriate for the weather and conditions (e.g. protection from rain, sun, heat/cold, insects & other pests)
  • The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition
  • Metric ruler

Materials Provided: CNPS will provide handouts, selected identification keys, and plant material, as well as equipment for in-lab use including technical references, dissecting scopes, and compound microscopes.

Physical Requirements: Participants should be physically able to hike over uneven terrain and remain in the field for up to 6 hours at a time. This workshop will be held rain or shine. We will spend at least 50% of the time in the field.

About the Instructors

David L. Magney, Manager of the CNPS Rare Plant Program and President of David Magney Environmental Consulting (DMEC), is a biologist/botanist, Certified Arborist, and physical geographer with a thorough knowledge of the flora of California and over 30 years of field experience. Mr. Magney joined CNPS staff in mid-2016 after 32 years in various leadership roles as a volunteer focusing on conservation and rare plants, including serving as CNPS Board President and president of the Channel Islands Chapter for many years.

As an environmental consultant, Mr. Magney has worked on and managed a large variety of projects throughout the Pacific Southwest, including biological resource inventories, vegetation mapping and classification, wetland delineations and restoration, rare plant surveys and ecological studies, fisheries habitat assessment and mitigation design, fisheries monitoring, small mammal trapping and surveys, biological impact analysis and mitigation, and construction and mitigation monitoring. He formed DMEC in1997 after spending 2 years with FugroWest, 6 years with Jones & Stokes Associates, and 3 years with Dames & Moore, as well as working with the Los Padres National Forest and UCSB Herbarium. Mr. Magney earned a BA in Geography and Environmental Studies (emphasis in botany) from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1985. He also holds an A.S. in Landscape Horticulture from Ventura College. Mr. Magney successfully completed training courses in wetland delineation (1989) and Federal wetland policy (1991) from the Wetlands Training Institute; training in the Corps of Engineers' Hydrogeomorphic Assessment Methods (HGM); and courses on hydric soils, wetland hydrology, CEQA and NEPA, Endangered Species Acts, and vernal pools. He has taught courses or given presentations on wetland impacts and mitigation, CEQA, Clean Water Act permitting, water quality, riparian and wetland plant identification, and wetland delineation methodology. Mr. Magney has authored two floras in California and presented numerous papers on vegetation and water quality, and has nearly completed a manual on the flora of Ventura County ( He served on the Environmental Review Board for Los Angeles County Regional Planning, the City of Ojai's Tree Committee until late 2016. Mr. Magney is a Certified Consulting Botanist and a Certified Arborist.


If you have questions about this or any other CNPS workshops, please contact Becky Reilly, CNPS Events Coordinator, at 916-447-2677 x207 or .

View the complete schedule of CNPS Plant Science Workshops


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