California Natural Diversity Database news updates

collage of photos - birds, flowers, salamander, butterfly, fisher, fish


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
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View of Mt. Shasta from the cliffs above Castle Lake
View of Mt. Shasta from the cliffs above Castle Lake. Photo Credit: 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 link opens in new windowOnline 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. Photo credit: Kristi Lazar.

western fence lizard peering over the edge of a rock

Today we celebrate our reptilian friends the lizard. We came across this wise lizard that had some words of wisdom for us:

We are kin, scales of keratin.
Spiky and rough, but it's been tough.
Report for support.
-W. F. Lizard

We think this lizard is saying, if you come across any of the link opens in new window24 CNDDB tracked lizards, to let us know by submitting your findings through our link opens in new windowOnline Field Survey Form. If you snap a handsome photo of them like this one of W. F. Lizard, it may also be featured in our next Photo of the Month!