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Carrizo Plain Colloquium

Friday, May 6, 2022

The 2022 Carrizo Colloquium is a wrap!  Many thanks to our interesting speakers for bringing us up to date on the latest work out on the Carrizo, to the 26 photographers who entered photos in our first-ever photography contest, and the judges who reviewed the photos and made the hard decisions on the winners.  Also thanks to the 70 people who came in person or attended by Zoom. Your questions were excellent and your interest in the Carrizo is appreciated.  See you in 2024!

Photo Contest Winners


Speakers Confirmed to Date:

Jacquelyn Maher

San Joaquin Kit Fox use of the California Valley Solar Ranch

Jacquie Maher is a senior wildlife ecologist and project manager with H.T. Harvey & Associates. She has more than a dozen years of experience with aquatic and wildlife ecology. Jacquie conducts protocol surveys for protected species, wildlife trapping and monitoring, nesting bird surveys, wetland and restoration monitoring, salmonid snorkel surveys, and non-native weed surveys. Jacquie participated in a three-year study monitoring San Joaquin kit fox use of the of CVSR project site and associated conservation lands.

Brian Cypher

San Joaquin Kit Fox use of Topaz Solar Farms

Dr. Brian Cypher is the Associate Director and also a Research Ecologist with the Endangered Species Recovery Program at CSU-Stanislaus, and he also is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences.  After completing his Ph.D. in Zoology at Southern Illinois University, he came to California to conduct conservation research on rare species. Since 1990, he has conducted extensive work with endangered San Joaquin kit foxes, but also has been working with island foxes, coyotes, red foxes, and gray foxes.

Brian Boroski, PhD

Occupancy of Giant Kangaroo Rats and San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel on California Valley Solar Ranch

Dr. Brian Boroski is a vice president and principal and the head of operations for H.T. Harvey & Associates’ San Joaquin Valley and California Central Coast offices.  He has more than 25 years of experience as a wildlife ecologist with an extensive history of working on projects involving endangered species, permitting, and permit compliance in many arenas, including utility-scale renewable energy, particularly solar.  He applies his experience and regulatory knowledge to develop and implement effective strategies.

Neil Havlik

Proposed expansion of Carrizo Plain National Monument in the Temblor Range

Neil Havlik is the President of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit land trust Carrizo Plain Conservancy.  Neil has worked in natural resource management his entire 45-year professional career.  After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1968 and UC Santa Barbara Master’s degree program in 1971, Neil worked for the East Bay Regional Park District in Oakland, CA.  He later went on to become the Executive Director of the Solano Land Trust in Fairfield, CA., and in 1996 went on to serve for seventeen years as the Natural Resources Manager for the City of San Luis Obispo, CA.  He has maintained an active interest in the Carrizo Plain area for many years, serving on an advisory panel for Carrizo Plain National Monument for twelve years, and was one of the founders of the Carrizo Plain Conservancy in 2013.  Neil is retired and lives in San Luis Obispo with his wife Ann.

Craig Fiehler

San Joaquin Antelope Ground Squirrel Translocation Success on Conservation Lands

Craig is an Environmental Scientist for CDFW, who has worked in the Carrizo since 2006, surveying special status plant and animal species as well as other land management activities. Since 2013 Craig has managed CDFW’s North Carrizo Ecological Reserve, which is 12,000+ acres located north of the Carrizo National Monument. His interests generally include California native plants, camera trapping, and bumble bees/native pollinators.

Brandon Swanson and Dave Hacker

Carrizo Pronghorn Status Update: Population Decline, Habitat Loss, and Management Strategies

Brandon Swanson is an Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in San Luis Obispo County. Brandon does research in Ecology, Wildlife Biology, and Environmental Science. David Hacker is a Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Camdilla Wirth

Updates on Management Strategies and Successful Outcomes on the Carrizo Plain Solar Mitigation Lands

Camdilla Wirth is a Conservation Biologist with Sequoia Riverlands Trust. Camdilla joined SRT in 2015 after obtaining her master’s in biology from Cal State Northridge and has been supporting SRT’s mitigation site management efforts since, particularly in the Carrizo Plain area and west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Sequoia Riverlands Trust manages more than 18,000 acres of solar mitigation land in the Carrizo Plain. Their work includes monitoring the suite of endemic central valley species including the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and giant kangaroo rat, adaptively managing grassland through tools such as rotational grazing, and restoring and improving habitat for native species.

Chuck Graham

Step Back in Time

Chuck Graham is a freelance writer and photographer in Carpinteria, CA. He’s also been a beach lifeguard for over 20 years, works as a guide for Channel Islands Adventure Company leading kayak tours and backpacking trips at the Channel Islands National Park, and is the editor of DEEP Surf Magazine.  Chuck is the author of Carrizo Plain: Where the Mountains Meet the Grasslands.  Chuck will talk about photographing the Carrizo and will have copies of his book available for purchase.

Our Master of Ceremonies – Tom Maloney

Tom Maloney is Executive Director of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.  Tom has been working in conservation for 25 years. During his career, Tom worked for numerous conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, and the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. During his six years as the Executive Director of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, he led the acquisition of over 100,000 acres of working lands conservation easements, wrote, negotiated and received a $15.7 million state grant for land acquisition, led the Accreditation process and raised over $2 million in private support for the conservancy.

Post Conference Field Trip - Saturday May 7

We will meet and carpool or caravan out to Carrizo Plain on Saturday morning, May 7.  It will likely be too late for much in the way of wildflowers (although there may be some), so we will focus on the geology and the history of the Plain.

We will visit the newly expanded Goodwin Education Center, observe and learn about Painted Rock and other Native American and early European history of the area, check out Soda Lake and its unusual clay dunes, visit Wallace Creek offset of the San Andreas Fault, check out some old Mormon tea scrub stands, look for remnants of the old shoreline of the Pleistocene Lake Carrizo, and stop for refreshments before heading back to Atascadero and San Luis Obispo.

We have reached our capacity for the May 7th hike.

New this year – the Carrizo Plain Photo Contest!

We are delighted to offer a companion event in 2022 to the Carrizo Plain Colloquium – a photo contest celebrating the beauty and diversity of the Carrizo Plain!  Our contestants have been submitting photos over the past few weeks in the areas of flora, fauna, and an open category.  First, second, and third place winners in each category will be on display at the Colloquium and also at a reception at the Costa Gallery in Los Osos in May. 

More information about the contest and our judges can be found here

The photography contest is sponsored by The Coastal Awakening.

See the winning photos here.

Our Sponsors

California Native Plant Society, San Luis Obispo Chapter

California Wildlife Foundation

City of San Luis Obispo

Clearway Energy

County of San Luis Obispo

Doug Campbell

Neil Havlik

San Luis Obispo Community Foundation