One of our most informative and educational field trips ever. With permission from CA State Parks and USMC Camp Pendleton, we began on a coastal blufftop with small vernal pools, supporting one of California’s rare species, Pendleton button-celery - Eryngium pendletonense. CA State Parks biologist David Pryor discussed the ecology of the pools and the associated plants. We were able to see a few Pendleton button-celery plants and also pointed out an invasive species of saltbush that is establishing on the bluff and posing a threat to the ecology. Of course, the views of the ocean and surf were spectacular.
We then drove to the far South end of the state park, at Trail #6. At this site we visited a landmark restoration site which for many years has been employing innovative approaches to remove invasive mustards and other adventitious plants and return the area to a naturally functioning ecosystem. On hand to help explain the effort, which has been underway for more that ten years was plant ecologist Dr. Ted St. John. St. John, who teamed with David Pryor and Rick Reifner on the project were recognized nationally for the effective restoration of this site, which was done at a fraction of many similar efforts. Ted and David discussed the mustard management, land imprinting and the tools involved, mycorrhizal inoculation and other techniques used on the blufftop restoration.
For those who wanted even more, we then visited the site of a March 2014 wildfire and viewed various wildflowers and other fire-following plants. We then hiked down to the beach and worked our way North along the sand to the adjoining canyons to see the uncommon Emory’s rockdaisy - Perityle emoryi.