Presenters 2018

John Chesnut was the field botanist for the Carrizo Plain Ecosystem Project 2009-2018.  During his career, he has participated in several multi-decade monitoring efforts at sites in the Mojave, Sierra Nevada, and the Carrizo.  Mr. Chesnut serves as the volunteer Rare Plant coordinator for the local CNPS chapter in San Luis Obispo.

John will discuss multi-year climate effects on the Carrizo–Animals alter precipitation legacies: trophic and ecosystem engineering effects on plant community temporal dynamics; Rain-Rat-Vegetation

Presentation 2018: What’s Past is Prologue – Ten years of vegetation re-sampling in the Carrizo Ecosystem Project

Dr. Junhua Guo is an assistant professor of geology with expertise in sedimentology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2012. His research interests have been revolved around marine sedimentation, paleoclimatology, and shale formation rocks. He participated in two IODP (International Ocean Discovery Program) Expeditions – 315 and 359. Currently he and his students have been working with ocean and lake sediments and trying to evaluate their depositional environment and their compositional responses to the paleoclimatic change.

Presentation 2018: Soda Lake Mineralogy

Mitchell Coleman is a research botanist and environmental consultant with over six years of biological experience in California. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Westmont College in 2014 and a Master of Science in Biology from CSU Bakersfield in 2017.  He has experience with the native flora of California, including taxonomy, ecology, physiology, and pathology. His research interests include studying the ecophysiology of arid shrublands in relation to environmental stresses.  Mr. Coleman also has experience in environmental compliance monitoring and has conducted wildlife surveys including protocol-level surveys for: blunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila), San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica), Desert Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis), Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides), giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomysingens), and Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni). He is familiar with protocol-level field survey techniques and requirements, data collection and analysis, GIS equipment and software, and report preparation (CEQA, NEPA, CDFW). He has experience in the restoration of arid shrublands, specifically saltbush shrublands (Atriplex spp.). Mr. Coleman has assisted with numerous wetland delineations and is familiar with the MESA delineation guidelines.

Saltbush shrublands (Atriplex sp.) in the San Joaquin Valley have been significantly threated by habitat conversion in the last 200 years.  Coinciding with conversion has been the ubiquitous invasion of  Mediterranean annual grasses.  Mr. Coleman will talk about the two-year assessment of the interactions of saltbush recruitment and invasive grasses. 

Steve McMasters/Cannabis Team County

County Planning will provide an update on the Cal Valley Lot Acquisition Program as well as the Cannabis Ordinance related to the Carrizo Plain, permit requests on the Carrizo and status of clean-up in California Valley.

Presentation 2018: Cal Valley Lot Acquisition Program Cal Valley Cannabis Enforcement & Clean-up Carrizo Cannabis Permitting

William Haas

Mr. Haas is Director, Central Coast Bat Survey and Board Member, Western Bat Working Group, and

Executive Director, Pacific Coast Conservation Alliance (The PCCA). 

After graduating with a B.A. in biology from Harvard College, Mr. Haas entered the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Belize C.A. where he developed and then taught the country’s first outdoor ecology class. His students did not want to end a field day at sunset, so they incorporated several nighttime study components including spotlight surveys, camera-trapping, auditory surveys for frogs and toads, and mist-netting of bats. That initial class provided the Belize Ministry of Natural Resources a baseline inventory of one of its Mountain Pine Ridge properties, which is still used today to host the outdoor ecology class. Mr. Haas’s connection to bats was immediate, due in part, no doubt, to the bats themselves but also because of the enthusiasm expressed by his students in planning and executing their  nighttime surveys.   Following a wide assortment of biological adventures in the Caribbean, and North, South, and Central Americas (virtually all of which have included visual, mist-netting, and acoustic bat surveys), 10 years of teaching sciences and developing curricula at southern California high schools and community colleges, and 15 years as a researcher and expert witness on federally-listed endangered species, the Central Coast beckoned.  Irresistible was its emphasis on agriculture, the lack of traffic, diverse climates, and great cycling opportunities (including a chance visit to Paso Robles on the day that Peter Sagan won Stage 5 of the 2011 Tour of California) . . . well, as Mr. Haas says, “it had me at that “lack of traffic thing”!

The presentation will include a brief review of the 16 Central Coast region bat species. From there Mr. Haas will summarize the purpose and methods of our Central Coast Bat Survey. The discussion will then introduce two data-driven data programs, NABat and BatAMP and how the Central Coast Bat Survey has been tailored to support both programs.    

Camdilla Wirth

Camdilla Wirth, Conservation Biologist, joined Sequoia Riverlands Trust in 2015 to support SRT’s mitigation site management efforts, particularly in the Carrizo Plain area and west side of the San Joaquin Valley. She adds expertise and experience with the relevant geography, wildlife species and survey methods, complementing existing expertise with plants.

Presentation 2018:  By  Ian Axsom, who stood in for Camdilla Wirth.

Increasing Giant Kangaroo Rat presence on SRT lands north of 58

Dave Hacker

graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in March of 1998. Continuously since then, based in San Luis Obispo, Dave has worked throughout California’s Central Coast on biological inventories, impact assessments, and mitigation projects, both independently and at State agencies. Since 2008, Dave has been working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in a regulatory capacity on utility-scale renewable energy projects, including the solar projects in the Carrizo Plains. 

Presentation 2018: Cholame-Carrizo Pronghorn Update

Neil Havlik, Event MC

Neil is currently the President of the Carrizo Plain Conservancy and is retired from the City of San Luis Obispo, Natural Resources Manager. Neil was active with the development of the Carrizo Plain National Monument and continues to be involved with the Friends of the Carrizo Plain.