The Santa Rosa Plateau...

It is spring here in Southern California which means it's time to visit the vernal pools of this amazing place, before summer makes them disappear.

The Reserve consists of 9000 acres. The land has been set aside to protect unique ecosystems like Engelmann oak woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, vernal pools and more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species, including mule deer, mountain lions, badgers, bobcats, western pond turtles, white-tailed kites and fairy shrimp. Two species of fairy shrimp live in the seasonal vernal pools on the Reserve, but only one is found here and nowhere else on Earth.

The native bunchgrass prairie on the Santa Rosa Plateau is considered the finest example of native grasslands remaining in California. The prairie reveals a host of native wildflowers — among them chocolate lilies, mariposa lilies, lupines, checkerblooms, shooting stars, and Johnny jump-ups. The grasslands are used by badger, mule deer, and many burrowing rodents.

The human history here goes back for thousands of years and encompasses all of California's diverse inhabitants:  Native Americans, Mexican land grants, American cattle ranchers and lastly, urbanization. Thankfully, this area has been saved by the Nature Conservancy.

We meandered over four miles of this Plateau. Standing on top of the basalt mesas was not only a chance to see rare vernal pools and bunchgrass prairie, it was also a look back in time and a spectacular day to explore. 

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Anonymous said...

There was hardly a blade of green grass here until the first weekend of March when we had those 4 days with some rain. I was astonished at how quickly the green grass sprung up. My favorite time of year.
Denise 1

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