Update August 2010:
Our long-range goal is to preserve and enhance the Serpentine Prairie so that future generations of East Bay residents can enjoy this Northern California treasure. A 3-acre section of the prairie has been fenced for nearly one year. The results have been encouraging with the expansion of the native grasses and wildflowers. However, there have been some challenges. A high amount of rainfall last winter and spring has resulted in an abundance of non-native annual grasses and a late bloom season for the Presidio clarkia. As resource experts, we know that any restoration program requires an adaptive management plan. The Stewardship staff is studying additional strategies for the prairie based on replicated test plots. Future management strategies may include controlled sheep grazing, early mowing, and prescribed burns in selective areas. The greatest accomplishment to date is the positive reception of park visitors who are staying on the trails and assisting in the restoration of this rare resource.
Serpentine Prairie Restoration Project
The Skyline Serpentine Prairie in Redwood Regional Park is home to one of Northern California's richest arrays of native plants due to the serpentine rock found here. Rare plants living in the prairie include the endangered Presidio clarkia and rare Tiburon buckwheat, along with many other species. Decades of overuse have seriously impacted the natural environment. In September 2009, the Park District began the first phase of a major restoration project that included removing non-native trees and building a protection fence around the most impacted portion of the prairie. In 2010 the remaining pines and hardwoods inside the main fenced protection area were removed. This resulted in an increase of the Presidio clarkia and one of the best native wildflower shows.
The timed mowing strategy was expanded in early 2011 to reduce the exotic annual grasses, particularly the annual foxtail and ryegrass. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction of exotic annual grasses and expansion of the native perennial grasses and tarplants. The next phase of the restoration program will remove the remaining exotic pines and hardwoods below the Dunn Trail. In mid August 2011, the lowest grove of pines and hardwoods will be carefully removed, first primarily by hand to minimize soil disturbance by heavy machinery. The pines and hardwoods closer to the Dunn Trail will be removed in September with the employment of a crane to lift out the trees and minimize damage to the understory native grasses. In addition, the pine trees and hardwoods will be removed from below the Trudeau Center with the help of the East Bay Regional Park District Fire Department.
At times, there may be heavy equipment present, requiring temporary closures of the Dunn Trail during work hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Alternate routes to use the park will be available. The parking area will be open at all times during regular park hours.
[Archive] Serpentine Prairie Restoration Project: Phase I
- Why Preserve the Prairie?
- Fact Sheet
- Initial Study and Prairie Plan (CEQA)
- Prairie Plan
- Guide to Wildflowers of the Prairie
Message from Program Manager, Wildland Vegetation Program Manager (510) 544-2344 (120KB)
Message from Regional Parks Botanic Garden Director, Steve Edwards (22KB)
Interpretive Signs (1.6 MB)
Info Panel Sign (710KB)
2012 Annual Report: Year 4 - 2012 (2.3 MB)