Photographing Broom Thickets on the Once and Future Prairie

Got well scratched up today!  Headed into the thick of things to lay out three new grassland restoration plots behind the wave-front of broom, right near where we were clearing on our first Big Prairie workday on April 21.  (Shall have some detailed maps up in the next week or so, as soon as I learn how to make them!)

But a day in Redwood is nothing if not diverse, and the morning started out with a peek into another other vital part of restoring habitats in the park — propagating plants!

Here Ranger Jim and a park intern are rooting cuttings of various plants in a rock wool medium underlain by a water bath.  To encourage the new rootlets to elongate they’ll soon be putting the rooting tray on a special heating pad, which apparently speeds the time at which they’ll be ready for transplanting.

And here, just at the corner of the ranger station, is the beginning of a new willow forest, soon to be kindred to the rapidly growing stands of recently-planted willows at the Skyline, Kiosk, and Monster Gully check dams (all in Redwood, and covered in earlier posts!).  In the photo at right you can see their new, red, lengthening roots amid the halo of sun on water.

It was time to get up to the prairies, though, so I headed upslope through the woods.  And ran across this little guy.  Not sure who it is — thoughts?

Further up the slope I ran across another fascinating lichen on the rocks of Owl’s Clover Prairie, and though conditions are warming the flowers and grasses are still thriving amid the shale.  (Clicking on these photos shows vastly more detail!)

And Calochortus Prairie remains… stunning.

More soon, including links to an extensive series of technical photos and videos documenting the “before” status of the new broom-removal plots up at the Big Prairie.

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