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«INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE The conservation of special status native plants and their habitats, as well as natural communities, is integral to ...»

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 Surveys are not current15; or  Surveys were conducted in natural systems that commonly experience year to year fluctuations such as periods of drought or flooding (e.g. vernal pool habitats or riverine systems); or  Surveys are not comprehensive in nature; or fire history, land use, physical conditions of the site, or climatic conditions have changed since the last survey was conducted16; or  Surveys were conducted in natural systems where special status plants may not be observed if an annual above ground phase is not visible (e.g. flowers from a bulb); or  Changes in vegetation or species distribution may have occurred since the last survey was conducted, due to habitat alteration, fluctuations in species abundance and/or seed bank dynamics.


Adverse conditions may prevent investigators from determining the presence of, or accurately identifying, some species in potential habitat of target species. Disease, drought, predation, or herbivory may preclude the presence or identification of target species in any given year. Discuss such conditions in the report.

The failure to locate a known special status plant occurrence during one field season does not constitute evidence that this plant occurrence no longer exists at this location, particularly if adverse conditions are present. For example, surveys over a number of years may be necessary if the species is an annual plant having a persistent, long-lived seed bank and is known not to germinate every year. Visits to the site in more 13 Adapted from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service kit fox survey guidelines available at www.fws.gov/sacramento/es/documents/kitfox_no_protocol.pdf 14 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Guidelines available at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es/protocol.htm 15 Habitats, such as grasslands or desert plant communities that have annual and short-lived perennial plants as major floristic components may require yearly surveys to accurately document baseline conditions for purposes of impact assessment. In forested areas, however, surveys at intervals of five years may adequately represent current conditions. For forested areas, refer to “Guidelines for Conservation of Sensitive Plant Resources Within the Timber Harvest Review Process and During Timber Harvesting Operations”, available at https://r1.dfg.ca.gov/portal/Portals/12/THPBotanicalGuidelinesJuly2005.pdf 16 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Guidelines available at http://www.fws.gov/ventura/speciesinfo/protocols_guidelines/docs/botanicalinventories.pdf

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Adequate information about special status plants and natural communities present in a project area will enable reviewing agencies and the public to effectively assess potential impacts to special status plants or natural communities17 and will guide the development of minimization and mitigation measures. The next section describes necessary information to assess impacts. For comprehensive, systematic surveys where no special status species or natural communities were found, reporting and data collection responsibilities for investigators remain as described below, excluding specific occurrence information.


Record the following information for locations of each special status plant or natural community detected during a field survey of a project site.

 A detailed map (1:24,000 or larger) showing locations and boundaries of each special status species occurrence or natural community found as related to the proposed project. Mark occurrences and boundaries as accurately as possible. Locations documented by use of global positioning system (GPS) coordinates must include the datum18 in which they were collected;

 The site-specific characteristics of occurrences, such as associated species, habitat and microhabitat, structure of vegetation, topographic features, soil type, texture, and soil parent material. If the species is associated with a wetland, provide a description of the direction of flow and integrity of surface or subsurface hydrology and adjacent off-site hydrological influences as appropriate;

 The number of individuals in each special status plant population as counted (if population is small) or estimated (if population is large);

 If applicable, information about the percentage of individuals in each life stage such as seedlings vs.

reproductive individuals;

 The number of individuals of the species per unit area, identifying areas of relatively high, medium and low density of the species over the project site; and  Digital images of the target species and representative habitats to support information and descriptions.


When a special status plant or natural community is located, complete and submit to the CNDDB a California Native Species (or Community) Field Survey Form19 or equivalent written report, accompanied by a copy of the relevant portion of a 7.5 minute topographic map with the occurrence mapped. Present locations documented by use of GPS coordinates in map and digital form. Data submitted in digital form must include the datum20 in which it was collected. If a potentially undescribed special status natural community is found on the site, document it with a Rapid Assessment or Relevé form21 and submit it with the CNDDB form.


Voucher specimens provide verifiable documentation of species presence and identification as well as a public record of conditions. This information is vital to all conservation efforts. Collection of voucher specimens should 17 Refer to current online published lists available at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata. For Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) please refer to the “Guidelines for Conservation of Sensitive Plant Resources Within the Timber Harvest Review Process and During Timber Harvesting Operations”, available at https://r1.dfg.ca.gov/portal/Portals/12/THPBotanicalGuidelinesJuly2005.pdf 18 NAD83, NAD27 or WGS84 19 http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata 20 NAD83, NAD27 or WGS84 21 http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata/vegcamp/veg_publications_protocols.asp

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Deposit voucher specimens with an indexed regional herbarium22 no later than 60 days after the collections have been made. Digital imagery can be used to supplement plant identification and document habitat. Record all relevant permittee names and permit numbers on specimen labels. A collecting permit is required prior to the collection of State-listed plant species23.


Include reports of botanical field surveys containing the following information with project environmental


 Project and site description  A description of the proposed project;

 A detailed map of the project location and study area that identifies topographic and landscape features and includes a north arrow and bar scale; and, A written description of the biological setting, including vegetation24 and structure of the vegetation;

 geological and hydrological characteristics; and land use or management history.

 Detailed description of survey methodology and results  Dates of field surveys (indicating which areas were surveyed on which dates), name of field investigator(s), and total person-hours spent on field surveys;

 A discussion of how the timing of the surveys affects the comprehensiveness of the survey;

 A list of potential special status species or natural communities;

 A description of the area surveyed relative to the project area;

 References cited, persons contacted, and herbaria visited;

 Description of reference site(s), if visited, and phenological development of special status plant(s);

 A list of all taxa occurring on the project site. Identify plants to the taxonomic level necessary to determine whether or not they are a special status species;

 Any use of existing surveys and a discussion of applicability to this project;

 A discussion of the potential for a false negative survey;

 Provide detailed data and maps for all special plants detected. Information specified above under the headings “Special Status Plant or Natural Community Observations,” and “Field Survey Forms,” should be provided for locations of each special status plant detected;

 Copies of all California Native Species Field Survey Forms or Natural Community Field Survey Forms should be sent to the CNDDB and included in the environmental document as an Appendix. It is not necessary to submit entire environmental documents to the CNDDB; and,  The location of voucher specimens, if collected.

22 For a complete list of indexed herbaria, see: Holmgren, P., N. Holmgren and L. Barnett. 1990. Index Herbariorum, Part 1: Herbaria of the World. New York Botanic Garden, Bronx, New York. 693 pp. Or: http://www.nybg.org/bsci/ih/ih.html 23 Refer to current online published lists available at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/biogeodata.

24 A vegetation map that uses the National Vegetation Classification System (http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/nvcs.html), for example A Manual of California Vegetation, and highlights any special status natural communities. If another vegetation classification system is used, the report should reference the system, provide the reason for its use, and provide a crosswalk to the National Vegetation Classification System.

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Botanical consultants should possess the following qualifications:

 Knowledge of plant taxonomy and natural community ecology;

 Familiarity with the plants of the area, including special status species;

 Familiarity with natural communities of the area, including special status natural communities;

 Experience conducting floristic field surveys or experience with floristic surveys conducted under the direction of an experienced surveyor;

 Familiarity with the appropriate state and federal statutes related to plants and plant collecting; and,  Experience with analyzing impacts of development on native plant species and natural communities.


Barbour, M., T. Keeler-Wolf, and A. A. Schoenherr (eds.). 2007. Terrestrial vegetation of California (3rd Edition).

University of California Press.

Bonham, C.D. 1988. Measurements for terrestrial vegetation. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, NY.

California Native Plant Society. Most recent version. Inventory of rare and endangered plants (online edition).

California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, CA. Online URL http://www.cnps.org/inventory.

California Natural Diversity Database. Most recent version. Special vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens list.

Updated quarterly. Available at www.dfg.ca.gov.

Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and monitoring plant populations. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Denver, Colorado.

Leppig, G. and J.W. White. 2006. Conservation of peripheral plant populations in California. Madroño 53:264-274.

Mueller-Dombois, D. and H. Ellenberg. 1974. Aims and methods of vegetation ecology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, NY.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. Guidelines for conducting and reporting botanical inventories for federally listed plants on the Santa Rosa Plain. Sacramento, CA.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. Guidelines for conducting and reporting botanical inventories for federally listed, proposed and candidate plants. Sacramento, CA.

Van der Maarel, E. 2005. Vegetation Ecology. Blackwell Science Ltd., Malden, MA.

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