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Small Research Burns to Help Restore Endangered Plant on D-Ranch

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Date: September 30, 2011
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133

Showy Indian Clover (Trifolium amoenum). Photo credit USFWS.
Showy Indian Clover

A series of small research burns will be conducted on D-Ranch in Point Reyes National Seashore as part of a collaborative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore the endangered Showy Indian Clover (Trifolium amoenum) to coastal grasslands. Clover fields were a food source for many California tribes, and were traditionally managed by small-scale, controlled burns in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to plant ecologist Diana Immel. Immel is the lead investigator in a multi-year project to reintroduce Showy Indian Clover to Point Reyes National Seashore near a site where the plant was collected in the wild during the early 1900's. Today, there is only one known remaining wild population which is on private property in Marin County.

In 2006, Immel began an experimental reintroduction of the plant to D-Ranch near Drakes Estero. The reintroduced plants have successfully regenerated in the Seashore, and another group of reintroduced plants will be treated with both fire and grazing to determine ways to help the population increase further.

National Park Service fire management staff plan to burn a series of fifteen 1 meter by 1 meter plots in metal burn boxes. Approximately one half acre or less will be burned in total. Burning is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4, but the date may change based on weather conditions. To receive an email when the burn day is confirmed, contact the park at 415-464-5133 or by email.

Additional information about this project is also available on the USFWS Endangered Species Program website:


Did You Know?

Fog-filled valley with yellow twilight glow over a ridge in the background. © John B. Weller.

The rich, lush environment of Point Reyes heavily depends on the fog. During rainless summers, fog can account for 1/3 of the ecosystem's water input. But recent studies have indicated that there has been about a 30 percent reduction in fog during the last 100 years here in coastal California. More...