In this workshop you will learn plant identification and ecology of riparian and wetland plants through classroom activities and field exercises. All wetland/riparian plants encountered will be discussed and how to recognize them in the field.  Selected species will be keyed out as a group to learn the key characters that differentiate them from similar taxa.  Read on for details.

Riparian/Wetland Plant Identification

May 4-5, 2022
Ventura, CA
Taught by David Magney

CNPS Members $460 / Non-Members $485
Capacity: 20 participants
Last Day to Register: April 20, 2022



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

Full 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 southern 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 exercises on the Ventura River and North Fork Matilija Creek. 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 for remembering the challenging willows (Salix spp.)
  • How to use identification keys
  • Plant description terminology (Latin and Greek)
  • Tools available to help identify native plants

Schedule & Locale

Wednesday, May 4

Meet at the Casitas Springs Community Center. Morning in the classroom, afternoon in the field.

8:30 am Introductions and Overview

9:00 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

Thursday, May 5

Meet at the Casitas Springs Community Center. Morning in the classroom, afternoon in the field.

8:30 am Review content from day 2

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

Schedule subject to change.

Venue: This workshop will be held at the Casitas Springs Community Center, located at 8437 Edison Drive, Ventura, CA 93001, with field sites nearby on the Ventura River and a mainstem tributary. Maps and directions will be provided to registered participants about a week before the workshop. 

Materials & Requirements

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 both 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 about 50% of the time in the field.

COVID Protocols: All workshop participants need to be fully vaccinated or receive a negative COVID-19 lab test result within three days of the workshop, providing proof of vaccination/test before attending.*

About the Instructor

David Magney

David Magney, Special Projects Program Manager of the CNPS Rare Plant Program and President of David Magney Environmental Consulting (DMEC), is a biologist/botanist, Certified Consulting Botanist and Certified Arborist, and physical geographer with a thorough knowledge of the flora of CA and over 30 years of field experience. David 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, David 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 in 1997 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. David earned a BA in Geography and Environmental Studies (emphasis in botany) from UC Santa Barbara in 1985. He also holds an A.S. in Landscape Horticulture from Ventura College. David has taught courses and given presentations on wetland impacts and mitigation, CEQA, Clean Water Act permitting, water quality, riparian and wetland plant identification, and wetland delineation methodology. He has authored two floras in CA 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, and the City of Ojai’s Tree Committee until 2016.


The Riparian/Wetland Plant Identification Workshop is full. Please contact Alyssa at to be placed on the wait list.

Before registering, please review our full workshop cancellation policy and participant expectations. The last day to cancel your registration for this workshop and receive any refund (less the cancellation fee) is Wednesday, April 20, 2022. For other ways to register, please see our full registration & payment policy.

Did you know CNPS members get discounts on workshops? If you’re not a current member, you can join or renew now before completing the registration form below to qualify for special members-only rates!

Scholarships Available

CNPS is committed to reducing barriers and broadening participation in our workshops. We are offering financial support opportunities for students and early professionals who may not otherwise be able to attend. This scholarship will cover the cost of one CNPS plant science workshop. In some instances, CNPS will also provide monetary assistance for travel and accommodations. 

The scholarship form is due four weeks before the workshop date that you would like to attend. You will be notified within three weeks of the workshop date about the financial aid determination. Please click here to fill out the form to be considered as a potential recipient of a workshop scholarship.