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Laguna Ecology & Biodiversity

The Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed is host to a wide variety of plant communities. The watershed’s diverse geology and wide climate range have together contributed toward the creation of an environment that supports many different types of plants, and an abundance of wildlife. Many species are in decline and are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, climate change and the introduction of non-native invasive species. Understanding the interplay between functional ecosystems and anthropogenic influences requires an investigation of the patterns of physical and biological forces at work in the watershed. The Biodiversity Action Plan for Sonoma County describes threats to biodiversity and conservation actions to preserve it.

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program

The Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed supports a handful of species that are found nowhere else in the world. Conservation of these species can only occur in Sonoma County, and specifically within the Laguna watershed. The Laguna Foundation, in partnership with the California Native Plant Society, Milo Baker Chapter, received a United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Partners Program Grant to support conservation of two extremely rare plants - the Pitkin marsh lily (Lilium pardalinum ssp. pitkinense) and the Vine Hill clarkia (Clarkia imbricata) - and the restoration of rare and endemic biodiversity within the watershed.

Pitkin Marsh Lily Restoration

Cunningham Marsh supports wetland and riparian habitat with an astonishing level of native plant diversity, as well as providing habitat for state and federally endangered Pitkin marsh lily. The Laguna Foundation restoration department and the CNPS Milo Baker Chapter are managing invasive species, increasing native plant diversity and expanding habitat suitable for the rare Pitkin marsh lily. Cunningham Marsh is the only confirmed extant population of this rare lily, so work done at this preserve is critical to the survival of this species.

Vine Hill Clarkia Restoration

Vine Hill Preserve supports three extremely rare plant species, the Vine Hill clarkia, Vine Hill manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora) and Vine Hill ceanothus (Ceanothus foliosus var. vineatus). This small preserve on the edge of the Laguna watershed supports the last known populations of the clarkia and manzanita, while the ceanothus is know from only one other location in the town of Sebastopol. The Laguna Foundation restoration department and CNPS Milo Baker Chapter are managing the preserve to provide suitable habitat for these rare species and exploring best techniques to collect and propagate Vine Hill clarkia, to learn about habitat requirements of this rare plant.

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