What does a CNPS Chapter Vegetation Chair do?
This month we are highlighting the important work of chapter volunteers who take on the role of local vegetation chair. Each CNPS chapter has a vegetation coordinator position that works with their chapter members to develop vegetation sampling goals. These goals vary but often focus on a rare or threatened vegetation type in their local area.
Nicole Jurjavcic and Megan Keever began as co-chairs of the vegetation committee for the East Bay Chapter of CNPS (EBCNPS) in the summer of 2011. These positions offered them the chance to gain a greater familiarity with the flora of the East Bay and to engage with members at the local chapter level. As botanists working for Stillwater Sciences, Nicole and Megan spend their work days conducting special-status plant surveys, vegetation mapping, plant monitoring, and creating re-vegetation plans for restoration sites throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. As CNPS volunteers, they spend time hiking local trails and getting to know vegetation types near their homes while contributing to the collective knowledge about vegetation in their local community.
To start, Megan and Nicole worked with the East Bay Chapter’s Board to prioritize locations for vegetation mapping based on the current needs of EBCNPS. They considered both the existing vegetation data gaps as well as current hot topics in the conservation arena, focusing on important botanical sites outlined in the EBCNPS Botanical Priority Protection Areas (BPPA) Guidebook.
Based on this prioritization, efforts for 2012 have included vegetation sampling in maritime chaparral (e.g., Arctostaphylos crustacea Alliance) and native grasslands (e.g., Nassella pulchra Herbaceous Alliance and Danthonia californica Herbaceous Alliance) at various locations in the East Bay hills including Knowland Park, Chabot Regional Park, and the San Leandro Reservoir. They also visited the Tesla Park Property in the Corral Hollow BPPA in light of the potential expansion of the Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area onto the property. They hope to assist in efforts to preserve this area through additional surveys and sampling, including the unique desert olive scrub stands (Forestiera pubescens Shrubland Alliance) that are present.
This winter the East Bay Chapter will focus on further documentation of maritime chaparral stands. Next year they will prioritize additional sampling of native grassland stands throughout the East Bay hills, native wildflower fields in East Dublin and the Tassajara BPPA, as well as identifying vegetation types where potential solar projects are planned, including the Carnegie BPPA.
In addition to their field efforts, Megan and Nicole are working closely with CNPS at the state level to ensure that the East Bay data is part of the state CNPS vegetation data pool. They attend bi-annual state-level vegetation committee meetings and are currently coordinating with Todd Keeler-Wolf to organize all previous data collected within the East Bay region.
If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about the vegetation in your area, contact your local CNPS chapter vegetation chair. If your local position is empty, consider volunteering in this exciting and rewarding role.
Authors: Nicole Jurjavcic, Megan Keever, and Jennifer Buck-Diaz