Native Grassland Census of the San Francisco peninsula
and Santa Cruz County.

Measuring the vegetation cover of open space properties with native grassland habitats on the San Francisco peninsula, using the Evans & Love (1957) toe-point linear transect method for 20 paces or more, and recording the percentage cover of the native grasses, wildflowers and weeds, and notes on particular weeds found.

The Dremann Grassland Scale for the quality of California native grasslands, is the combined cover of both native grasses and wildflowers, as follows: Currently in Very Poor condition, but with potential for future improvement=0-10% native grass/wildflower cover, Poor=11-25%, Fair=26-50%, Good=51-69%, Very Good=70-80%, Excellent=81-95% and...As good as it gets=96 to 100%.

For serpentine populations which naturally have rocky and barren spots, those rocky and barren spots are going to be included in the native grass category, and the thatch in serpentine sites assumed to be originating from native plants, and will also be included in the native grass category, unless otherwise noted by the recorder.

Thatch cover, which is common in a thriving native grassland, can be used as a credit to upgrade into the next category, but it must be the thatch produced by native grasses, and weed-produced thatch does not earn any credit. Bare soil cover, including that caused by gophers or ground squirrels and rocks, are not counted.

Download survey form (a Microsoft Word document).

By Craig Dremann, The Reveg Edge, Box 609, Redwood City, CA. 94064
(650) 325-7333




Palo Alto Arastradero Preserve, 70 acre hillside above parking lot, spring 2011. Grass weed seedlings coming up at the rate of 2,000 per square foot, and Italian thistle seedlings at 400 per square foot. Zero native grassland wildflowers in the picture, to the horizon, and they have not grown on this site for about 150-200 years, as this land has been part of an old Spanish Rancho grant.

February 2013, Arastradero Preserve showing Craig Dremann's test plot, for more details,
see http://www.ecoseeds.com/arastradero.html, and as of March 2013 was 99.9997% weed free.


 Site

 Agency land managers

 Date

 Surveyed done by

 Transect paces

 Percent cover
native grasses

 Percent cover wild-
flowers

 Percent cover exotics

 Quality

 Kinds of exotics
or natives
(in italics)

 Fremont Older Preserve

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 82% Yellow
star thistle

 "

 "

 2014
             

 Foothills Open Space

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 41

 39

20

Very Good

1% Yellow
star thistle

 "

  "

 2014
             

 Long Ridge

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 0

 3

 97

Very poor

 1% Yellow
star thistle

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Los Trancos

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 10

 5

 85

Poor

 3% yellow
star thistle

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Monte Bello

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 2

 5

 93

 Very poor

 53% Yellow
star thistle

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Rancho San Antonio

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 66% Harding grass

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Skyline Ridge

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 4

 26

 70

Fair

 30% Harding grass

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Windy Hill

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 ft.)

 0

 36

 64

 Fair

 Zero Yellow star thistle and zero Harding grass

  "

  "

 2014
             

 Russian Ridge,
north half

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 8-2006
 C. Dremann

 800 paces (1,600 ft.)

 5

 54

 41

 Good

 0.7% Yellow star thistle and 7% Harding grass

 Russian Ridge,
north half

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 5-2011
 C. Dremann

 600 paces
(1,200 feet)

 2.4

 45.6

52 

Fair
20% Italian thistle,
8.2% Blando brome, 8.6% Zorro fescue,
4.5% Rose clover,
3.8% yellow star thistle,
2.3% wild oats,
1.6% vetch,
and with less than 1% cover each of yellow clover, filaree, ripgut grass, radish, and a new weed, Poa bulbosa. The Harding grass has been sprayed out along this transect route.

 Russian Ridge,
north half

 Mid-pen. Open Space District

 6-2012

 C. Dremann

 600 paces
(1,200 ft.)

7.8

18.7

73.5

Fair

26% Wild oats,
10% Blando brome,
8.3% Yellow star thistle,
8.2% Ripgut grass,
5.5% Italian thistle,
3.5% Italian per. ryegrass
2.5% Cat's ears,
2% Wild lettuce,
1.8% Mustard European.
1.7% European vetch,
and 1% or less of Rose and other European clovers, Radish and Zorro fescue. New weeds to watch in transects=Italian Ryegrass, Cat's Ears and Wild lettuce. See how the Wild oats and the Italian thistles have traded places, and the 800% increrase in Ripgut grass cover, which traded places with the Zorro fescue.

Harding grass is now 0.8% cover, recolonizing the area from the solid stand, directly to the north

 Russian Ridge,
north half

  Mid-pen. Open Space District

 5-2013

  C. Dremann
 500 paces
(1,000 ft.)

 9.2

 26

 64

Fair

 Natives include
02.% coyotebush,
12% soapplant,
6.2% Cal. poppies,
4.8% Convolvulus,
1.2% yarrow,
1% owls clover,
0.4% coyotemint and 0.4% tarweeds
.


52% annual weed grasses,
1.4% Yellow star thistle,
5.6% Italian thistle,
0% Cat's ears,
0% Wild lettuce,
0% Mustard European.
0% European vetch,
and 0% of Rose and other European clovers, and Radish.. Exceptional drought from December through spring did not allow many species of weeds to survive past the seedling stage.

Harding grass is now 5.6% cover, recolonizing the area from the solid stand, directly to the north.

  Russian Ridge,
north half

  Mid-pen. Open Space District

 6-2014
  C. Dremann

 500 paces
(1,000 ft.)

15.6 

 22

 62.4

 Fair

 Natives include:
12.4% soap plant,
8.2% Bromus carinatus,
8.0% yarrow,
4.2% Sitanion grass,
1.8% Stipa pulchra,

and less than 1%
El;ymus glaucus,
native Convulvulus,
Koleria grass,
Owl's Clover,
Festuca occidentalis,
Coyotemint,
Baccharis shrub,
and California poppy.

Exotics include:
57.4% Wild oat and ripgut mix
2% Italian thistle,
1.2% Harding grass,
and less than 1% cover each: Blando brome,
Yellow Star thstle, and
Wild lettuce.

Exceptional drought did not bring up any Cat's ears, European clovers, mustard, radish or vetch within transect, nor any foxtails or Vulpia grass

 San Bruno Mtn. HCP, off Guad. pwky

 San Mateo
County Park

 3-2012
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 feet)

 2

 15

 83

 Poor

 34% Italian thistle,
30% Plantago lanceolata, 11% ripgut grass,
5% radish, and
3% yellow sorrel.

 Edgewood, Canada Road entrance, at Clarkia trail

 San Mateo
County Park

 3-2012
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 feet)

 10

 2

 88

Poor

 22% Italian thistle, 20% yellow star thistle, 32% small annual exotic grasses, 12% filaree, 2% big annual grasses like wild oats.

 I-280 Vista point. south of Cal. 92

 Caltrans

 3-2012
 C. Dremann

 100 paces (200 feet)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 Wild oats, ripgut, fox tails, milk thistle and radish. Do not understand why a line of young oaks were planted that will block the view from parking lot in the future (?!).

  Arastradero Preserve, above parking lot, within Dremann's test plot located in the 70 acres

 City of Palo Alto

 2-2013
 C. Dremann

 15 paces
(30 feet)

27% 
all Stipa straw

7% California poppies 

 0

As good as it gets 

Bare, weed free areas=27%, European weed straw intentionally used to kill weed seedlings = 40% cover

  Arastradero Preserve, above parking lot, within Dremann's test plot located in the 70 acres

 City of Palo Alto

 3-2013
 C. Dremann

 15 paces
(30 feet)

13% 
all Stipa straw

73% California poppies 

 0.0003

As good as it gets 

Bare soil area is 99.9997% weed free equals 13% of area, Outside of plot, weed grass seedlings at 2,000 per square foot and Italian thistle seedlings at 400 per square foot. 

 Arastradero Preserve, above parking lot, 70 acres OUTSIDE of Dremann's test plot

 City of Palo Alto

 7-2011
 C. Dremann

 100 paces
(200 feet)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 Annual exotic grasses and solid areas of Italian thistle, and Harding grass getting established in solid stands.

 Cloverdale Ranch, at Hidden Valley gate

 POST-Peninsula Open Space Trust

 3-2012
C. Dremann

 visual from road

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 Appears to be 100% cover of Harding grass, no wildflowers, no native grasses seen.

 Stanford University, flat lands, near El Camino Real and Palm Drive

End of unmarked street, first left off Palo Road, one block north of Palm Drive, transect runs parallel with El Camino in oaks

 5-2012
 C. Dremann

 100 pace (200 feet)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 30% weed grasses like foxtails, ripgut, wild oats in sandstone soil, and 70% boadleaf weeds like mustard, filaree, bur clover, cats ears, rumex. Only native plant seen in grasslands was miner's lettuce under oaks.

 Stanford University, hills, entrance to the "Dish" area trail

 Parallel to trail at Foothills and Stanford Av.

 5-2012
 C. Dremann

 100 pace (200 feet)

 0

 0

 100

 Very poor

 Perennial rye 2 feet tall, and wild oats 4 feet tall, about a 50:50 mix and make up 95% of weeds, with 5% plantago, prickly ox tongue, and Blando.

 Jasper Ridge Preserve, yellow star thistle area

 Stanford Univ.

 4-2012

C. Dremann 

 33 pace
(66 feet)

 3

 0

97 

 Very poor

 Photo of area shows old YST stalks from last year.

 Jasper Ridge Preserve, poor area near goldfields

Stanford Univ.

 4-2012

C. Dremann 

  33 pace
(66 feet)

 12

12 

 76

Poor

"Blando" brome worst weed in the preserve, but remains of native diversity still present.

 Jasper Ridge Preserve, poor serpentine area

Stanford Univ. 

 4-2012

 C. Dremann

  33 pace
(66 feet)

 24

 76

 Poor
 Italian ryegrass (40%) and "Blando" brome (36%) worst weeds here, but important natives like Plantago still present.

Jasper Ridge Preserve, best wildflower area 

Stanford Univ. 

 4-2012

 C. Dremann

  33 pace
(66 feet)

 27

 70

 As good as it gets  Best wildflower area on preserve, only 50 ft x 100 ft. 43% white Linanthus, 24% Plantago, 3% Lotus and 6% Sitanion grass, plus 3% "Blando" brome.

 Twin Peaks

 City of San Francisco
               

 Bernal Hill

 City of San Francisco
               

 Edgewood Park. base of first hill off Hillcrest Road

 San Mateo County Parks

 4-2012

 C. Dremann

 20 pace
(40 feet)

 40

 35

 25

Very Good*
Rating is border line and should be resampled on a longer transect.
 Annual weed grasses and filaree main weeds. Plantago, soap plant, Blue eye grass are the main wildflowers, Stipa is native grass.

Edgewood Park, Fountain thistle site

San Mateo County Parks
               

Edgewood Park, Hydro-weeded test plot, closest to I-280 (spring 2012 treatment)

San Mateo County Parks 
 4-2012

 C. Dremann

 33 paces (66 feet)

 15 + bare soil 40%

 42

Good

Bare soil =40%, weed grasses 36%, filaree 6%, Stipa 15%, Blue eyed grass 3% .

Edgewood Park, Hydro-weeded test plot, closest to I-280 (spring 2012 treatment)

San Mateo County Parks 
 3-2013

 C. Dremann

 50 paces (100 feet)

 26

72

 Fair

Stipa 26%, some Lomatium and soap plant present.

Edgewood Park, Hydro-weeded site, closest to Hillcrest Road entrance (spring 2012 treatment)

 San Mateo County Parks
 4-2012

 C. Dremann

 33 paces (66 feet)

 0 + 55% bare soil

 0

 45

Good

Bare soil = 55%, filaree 21%, Yellow star thistle 15%, European grasses 9%. Site predicted to become a big weed patch next spring, unless seeded or mulched.

Edgewood Park, Hydro-weeded site, closest to Hillcrest Road entrance (spring 2012 treatment)

 San Mateo County Parks
 3-2013

 C. Dremann

 50 paces (100 feet)

 60

 0

 40

 Good

Big improvement, and a few native wildflowers, with some native clovers present.

  Stulstaf Park
Serpentine grasslands, measured by WMA group at May meeting

 Redwood City Parks 
 5-2012

 C. Dremann (Measurements were made by others WMA members at the same time, using two different trasnect methods)

 100 paces (200 feet)

 4

41 

55 

Fair
 Poor but notable, becuase of the concentration of native Blue eyed grass, which was the major wildflower here, along with thewhite tarweed . The native grass was Stipa pulchra, and the grass weeds were wild oats, Blando brome, and Brachypodium. One of the broadleaf weeds was willow leaved wild lettuce, which looks like the tarweed seedlings.

 Driscoll Ranch

 Mid-pen Open Space District
               

 Mindego Hill

 Mid-pen Open Space District
               

 Rancho Corral de Tierra - Hickmanii south slope site

 National Parks Service-GGNRA
West of the two trees, BEFORE weeding

 7-2011

 C. Dremann
Measured near the Hickmanii populations, six feet north of the road and parallel to the road

 100 paces (200 feet)

1
(Danthonia) 

6

93 

Very Poor 
60% Big rattlesnake grass, 15% Cat's ears,
6% Brachypodium,
5% Dogtail grass,
4% Wild Oats,
and 1% each of Vulpia, European mustard, and flax.
Natives = 4% Golden aster, 2% native Rumex, and 1% Danthonia.

  Rancho Corral de Tierra - Harding grass ridge

  National Parks Service-GGNRA
               

  Rancho Corral de Tierra - Flat areas

  National Parks Service-GGNRA
               

 Rancho San Vincente

 POST
               

 Bolsa Point

 POST
               

Ano Nuevo grasslands

State Parks
               

Pomponio Beach grasslands along Cloverdale Road

State Parks
               

Devils Slide tunnel Mitigation project

Caltrans site in Montara at Rancho Corral de Tierra
               

Crystal Spring Bypass tunnel project. 
Five acre spoils pile

 San Francisco Crystal Springs watershed
               

 50 acre grasslands for mitigation for project

 San Francisco watershed for Bypass tunnel
               

 Crystal Springs serp. junction 280/92

San Francisco Crystal Springs watershed
               

 Mark Vande Pol's 14 acres

 Private property, Santa Cruz mtns.

 7-2011
 C. Dremann

  100
(200 ft.)

 27
(Bromus, Elymus, Stipa)

 72.5

 0.5

 As Good as it gets
 Did not step on a single weed in a 200 foot transect.

 Michael Shaw's 74 acres

 Private property Santa Cruz County

7-2011 
 C. Dremann

  3 x 100
(200 ft.)

 89
(Danthonia and Stipa)

 3

 8

 Excellent
 List of weeds eradicated and native plants here. Rose clover, Plantago, Briza and Brachypodium last weeds to be managed.

 Edgewood Park, Thornmint (Acanthomintha) restoration area

 San Mateo County

 2011
 C. Niedereer

 0.1 acre average

 2.6%
+ 5% thatch + 8% bare

 47.2

 37.2
(Lolium, Bromus, Avena mostly)

Good
Thatch = 5%, Bare = 8%, Hemizonia cong. = 22.3
Microseris = 11.7
Brodiaea complex = 6.9
Trifolium bifidum = 2.6
Stipa pulchra = 2.6
Lotus wrangelianus =1.5
Chloragalum =1.0
0.5%: Sidalcea diploscypha, Hesperevax sparsiflora, Brachypodium, Danthonia, Perideridia kelloggii, Sisyrinchium, Lactuca saligna, Vicia sativa

  Edgewood Park, Thornmint (Acanthomintha) restoration area

 San Mateo County

 2012
 C. Niedereer

 0.1 acre average

  4% + 18% thatch + 18.5% bare

  36

 23.5

 Very Good
Only 1/3 of the normal rainfall fell for the season
 18 % thatch
18.5% bare
40% native (including 20.5% Microseris douglasii,
10% Hemizonia congesta, 4% Stipa pulchra), and <1% Thornmint
23.5% nonnative (including14.5% Festuca perennis/Lolium multi, 6% Bromus hordeaceus, 2.5% Brachypodium distachyon)

  Edgewood Park, Thornmint (Acanthomintha) restoration area

 San Mateo County

 5-2013
 C. Niedereer

 0.1 acre average measuring treated area that is adjacent to planted area

12% +
9% bare

63  

16

Excellent
 0% thatch
9% bare
75% native (including 1% Brodiaea,
1% Soap plant,
33% Hemizonia ,
1% Hordeum brachy.,
6% Lotus wranfelianus,
11% Stipa pulchra,
1% Peruderudia.,
1% Sisyrinchium,
3% Trifolium depauperatum, and 1
% Trifolium mucrodon.

16% nonnative (including5% Lolium multi, 11% Bromus hordeaceus). An exceptional drought beginning January 1st, where less than 12% of normal rainfall fell for the rest of the season.

Kite Hill, 305 Jane Ave., best habitat

Town of Woodside 

 4-2012

 C. Dremann

33 paces
(66 feet)

12

 88

 0

 As Good as it gets
 Layia, goldfields, soap plant, and Stipa and Sitanion = native grass

 Kite Hill, 305 Jane Ave., poor habitat

 Town of Woodside

 4-2012

 C. Dremann 

33 paces
(66 feet)
 

3

22 

75 

Poor
 Weeds=Italian rye, slender wild oats. Wildflowers=Lotus, Brodiaea, soap plant. Stipa=native grass.
 East Palo Alto field

 Corner Univ. Ave. and Donohoe off US 101

 4-2012
 C. Dremann

 Visual from street

 0

 30

 70

Fair
 In 2011 dormant lupines also sprouted but were mowed before they could set seed. In 1948, this was an open field, then a cement slab poured to build a structure, which was then removed about 2005, exposing the native seeds still in the soil.
 

 
 
                   


POST Cloverdale ranch from Hidden Valley gate, photo 2012, awesome Harding grass weed patch.

East Palo Alto, corner University Avenue and Donohoe near to US 101. In 1948, this was still an open field, then a cement slab was poured right on top of the soil without excavation, and a two story commercial building was built, and then torn down about 2007. Dormant California poppy seeds in the soil have sprouted in 2011 and 2012, and produced more native cover than in some of our other grasslands that have been intentionally preserved. Native annual lupines grew in this field in 2011.


Edgewood County Park, Start of Clarkia trail from Canada Road entrance, 2012.

Edgewood County park, one of the two Hydro-weeding experiments, April, 2012.

Kite Hill, Woodside, poor grassland habitat, 14 acre preserve off Jane Avenue, April, 2012.

Kite Hill, Woodside, good wildflowers in serpentine, west of I-280, April, 2012.


Mid-pen., Russian Ridge preserve, north end from Skyline-lookout parking lot, 2011.

Russian Ridge, further north along the ridge, solid Italian thistles, May 13, 2011. According to the book, Flora of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this weed was rare on the San Francisco peninsula in 1960, now widespread.


Russian Ridge, allelopathic European annual grass thatch acting as a solid blanket against any native seedling survival, December 2010, clipboard for scale.


San Bruno Mountain, off Guadalupe parkway, above new homes, 2012.

Stanford Jasper Ridge, native plant only growing where the humans with their feet, have eliminated the annual weed grass seedlings. Area could easily be restored to 99.5% native cover, by mowing the immature weed grass seed heads and taking them off the preserve in March to April each year. On these level areas, cutting, swathing and baling with tractor-pulled haying equipment to cut and remove the immature seed heads might be the quickest and easiest method.

Stanford, Jasper Ridge, yellow star thistle area. This weed has only spread into the preserve over the last 12 years, but mainly where the native ecosystem was grazed out decades ago and is growing thickly in non-serpentine areas, where the native grasses and wildflowers were already extinct or close to zero cover. There is going to be a percentage cover threshold relationship between the yellow star thistle and the native grass and wildflower cover, where the yellow star thistle can be permanently and 100% eliminated.

Weeds got into the last three Endangered butterfly habitats on this preserve, as well as Edgewood preserve, and the Endangered Bay Checkerspot butterfly is now extinct at both areas.


Stanford Lands near El Camino, at end of first road north of Palm Ave., off Palo Avenue, covered 100% with weeds within the transect. Only native plant in area was Miner's lettuce in shade of oaks, and live oaks suffering from the massive drought all spring, with about 1/3 of normal rainfall.


Stanford Hills, the entrance to the "Dish" area, between the trail and the road at Foothill and Stanford Ave., 100% weed cover, but along the trail edge can be found the native pineapple weeds.

Michael Shaw in his Stipa prairie, May 2011, his 74 acres with 92% native cover.

Michael Shaw in managing his 74 acres, unearthed dormant seeds of rare grasses underneath the exotics, like the Bottlebrush grass, only collected six times in Santa Cruz County in the last 100 years. List of weeds managed by Shaw and natives that regrew. Shaw started with only 1% native cover in 1992, and by 2000, had produced 85% native cover, just by mowing before the weed seeds ripened.

Mark Vande Pol out standing in his outstanding Stipa prairie, that is overall 99.5% native cover. The results of a 100-pace (200 foot) toe-point transect in July 2011, did not step on a single weed. Best native grassland restoration in North America so far.


100 acres per WMA member, back to 99% native cover, in two years??:

Each weed management member could map 100 acres of their grasslands, that could be brought back to 99% native cover within two years, like:

--Caltrans, divide effort between the I-280 right of way between Edgewood & Jct. Hwy 92 through serpentine, and the Hwy 1 tunnel mitigation project in Montara.

--Mid-pen., Russian Ridge, restore wildflower fields that existed there before the five Calfire burns.

--NPS, Rancho Corral de Tierra, the two ridges where 99% of the last of the Potentilla hickmanii are trying with great difficulties, to survive.

--Palo Alto City Parks, Arastradero preserve, 70 acre area above the parking lot.

--POST, Cloverdale ranch, 100 acres of solid Harding grass along Cloverdale Road.

--San Francisco watershed, 100 acres, which would include 50 of the mitigated grasslands and the 5 acres of tunnel spoils.

--San Mateo County Parks, Edgewood Preserve, the new PGE gas pipeline route after construction is completed.

--San Mateo County, San Bruno Mtn. HCP, 100 acres of the Oyster point Muwekma Indian shellmound and hillside above it.

--State Beaches, Pomponio beach grasslands east of Highway 1 of the solid Harding grass area.

--Stanford, Jasper Ridge preserve, 100 acres of Endangered butterfly habitat.

--Stanford lands, 100 acres across from Lake Lagunitas.

--Woodside Town, Kite Hill 14 acres of wildflowers on the western border of I-280.

THE SECOND STEP, is to do a 100-pace toe-point transect through the proposed grasslands restoration site in spring, to take a census of the current conditions, in terms of wildflower, native grass and weed cover.

THE THIRD STEP, after mapping the proposed project sites, is to calculate how much it will cost to get to that 80% native cover, in terms of weed abatement, and local native seeds costs at 100 pounds to the acre, labor, etc.

This costs could be based on past projects, like the Caltrans/UC Davis project along I-505, at $245,000 per acre to get less than 40% native cover within a decade, at http://www.ecoseeds.com/road.test.html. Or do some small scale test plots of 1/10th acre or less, and keep track of all of the costs that it took to get to 80% native cover, within a couple of years or less.

THE FOURTH STEP, is to start the new HABIT of weed management of our native grasslands. Based on the book, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, the Cue is the appearance of weed seedlings and immature weed seedheads in spring, then the Routine is the elimination of those seedlings and immature seedheads, then the Reward is the 99.5% native plant cover, that you can stand an admire each spring.


Updated August 12, 2014 - Email transect details to fill in blanks.