Dates: August 7-9, 2018 (Tuesday – Thursday)
Location: Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Imperial Beach, CA
David Magney, Rare Plant Program Manager, CNPS

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Registration: $375 CNPS Members / $395 Non-Members
Capacity: 25 participants
Last Day to Register: July 30, 2018

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Tijuana estuary. Credit Becky Reilly.
Tijuana estuary. Credit Becky Reilly.


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, 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 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 reserve. 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 (subject to change)

Tuesday, August 7

Meet at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center.

2:00 pm
Introductions and Overview

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Wednesday, August 8

Meet at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, coffee and bagels provided.

8:30 am
Plant identification and riparian ecology

Lunch (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Field exercise

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Thursday, August 9

Meet at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, coffee & bagels provided.

8:30 am
Review content from day 2

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 at the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center, located at 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach, CA 91932, with field sites nearby on the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Maps and directions will be provided to registered participants about a week before the workshop. Visit for more information about the reserve.

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 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 Instructor

David L. Magney, Manager of the CNPS Rare Plant Program and President of David Magney Environmental Consulting (DMEC), is a biologist/botanist, Certified Consulting 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.

Continued bio...

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 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. 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.


Note: the last day to cancel your registration and receive any refund is Monday, July 23, 2018. Please see full CNPS workshop cancellation policy for details.

Join or renew your membership in CNPS to access discounted member registration rates today!

Registration for this workshop is now closed. Please contact Becky Reilly with any questions.