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    • August 26, 2019

    Joseph Belli is a lifelong Californian currently living along Pacheco Pass in central California. He earned his MS in Conservation Biology from San Jose State University. He’s particularly drawn to at-risk species, and while his expertise lies with herps, he is also fascinated by mammals and birds. Since 2001, Joseph has contributed over 270 field survey forms to CNDDB.

    Joseph is a self-described freelance wildlife biologist, working or volunteering on conservation projects that he finds meaningful. In the early 2000s he conducted a presence/absence survey for aquatic herptiles in Henry W. Coe State Park, which covered all the park’s ponds and streams from five watersheds. This study provided crucial baseline data for species of concern including California red-legged frogs, California tiger salamanders, western pond turtles, and foothill yellow-legged frogs, especially regarding breeding habitat. Other favorite projects have included an ongoing volunteer commitment to link opens in new windowthe condor program at Pinnacles National Park, and link opens in new windowthesis work monitoring western pond turtles in upper Coyote Creek, an intermittent stream in Santa Clara County (says Joseph, “Spoiler alert: turtles are way more mobile than you think!”).

    Drawn to field work by an abundance of curiosity about the natural world, Joseph also appreciates doing something of importance for conservation and restoration, and the chance to see something new every day. To aspiring biologists, he advises: “Find a job that’s rewarding so that work doesn’t feel like work. Sometimes, higher-paying work or positions don’t satisfy the soul.”

    CNDDB would like to thank Joseph for sharing his data with us, and for his dedication to preserving our state’s biodiversity. We encourage you to check out his book, The Diablo Diary, a collection of 25 natural history essays centered on the Diablo Range in central California. Find it at Santa Clara County libraries, ask your local bookseller, or search for it online.

    Categories: Contributor Spotlight
    • August 22, 2019

    Conservation Lecture Series presents: Drought Stressor Monitoring

    Please join our next Conservation Lecture Series talk that focuses on the status of California’s at-risk aquatic species and habitat conditions during the historic 2012-2016 drought. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife collected information on stream temperature and dissolved oxygen, the status and extent of habitat fragmentation, and impacts on aquatic species. Collection of this information was critical as a baseline understanding for management actions taken during and post-drought.

    Science Institute logoDate: Tuesday, August 27, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m
    Presented by: Kristine Atkinson
    Register to view online or in-person

    Questions? Contact:

    Categories: Education and Awareness
    • August 19, 2019

    View of Mt. Shasta from the cliffs above Castle Lake
    View of Mt. Shasta from the cliffs above Castle Lake. CDFW photo by Kristi Lazar.

    High up on the granitic cliffs overlooking Castle Lake near Mt Shasta hides a beautiful little plant that is rarely seen by hikers. This plant is a local endemic called the Castle Crags harebell (Campanula shetleri). This species is known from fewer than 10 occurrences in the Castle Crags area and nearly all of those occurrences were last documented in the 1970s and 1980s!

    Two CNDDB botanists recently had the opportunity to visit a population of Castle Crags harebell during a botany workshop organized by the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium. One of our two instructors for the workshop, Heath Bartosh, led a small group of botanical enthusiasts up the steep, north-facing granitic cliffs above Castle Lake and Heart Lake to search for this elusive plant. As we spread out and searched the precarious cliffs, a fellow botanist yelled out that they had found the Castle Crags harebell near the top of the ridge! Everyone excitedly rushed over to the rocky crevices where this small blue-flowered plant was living to take photos and notes documenting the population. While finding this plant was an absolute joy, so was the view that greeted us as we looked up from where the plants were growing to see Mt Shasta and Black Butte in the distance and the waters of Heart Lake and Castle Lake below.

    If you find yourself stumbling along granitic cliffs in the Castle Crags area, keep an eye out for the Castle Crags harebell and submit your observation to CNDDB via our Online Field Survey Form.

    If you find yourself craving botanical adventures, consider participating in the link opens in new windowworkshops organized by the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium. You never know what cool and unusual plants you may see!

    General view and closeup of Castle Crags harebell growing in granitic cliffs
    Castle Crags harebell (Campanula shetleri) in the granitic cliffs above Castle Lake. CDFW photo by Kristi Lazar.

    Categories: Education and Awareness