Ivesia Webberi is a proposed threatened species that is native to Nevada and California. We had the pleasure of trying to seek out this low growing plant that has a way of melting into the landscape and mapping out its occurrence within Eagle Canyon (area located North of Reno). Eagle Canyon is a large OHV area full of dumping sites and shooting range disturbance.
The I. Webberi that we were documenting has a knack for hiding within communities of Lomatium austinae, which also has yellow flowers and is low growing. I. webberi has a distinctive red stem protruding from a rosette that leads up to its beautiful star shaped flowers as well as, lobbed red tipped leaves that are numerous, 4-8 leaflets per side. This beautiful little plant enjoys sandy clay soils and is associated with Artemisia arbuscula communities.
We as a team canvassed a previously mapped out polygon indicated Ivesia webberi existence within a large area. We were able to refine the polygon by finding and mapping out the occurrence and presence of these plants within the large polygon. We helped determine and refine search areas for future mapping surveys.
Within the new small polygon communities that we were able to find, we had the opportunity to set up a few photo plots. It was educational to see all the work that goes into creating a photo plot. A photo plot aids in monitoring the species over time, helping managers see how communities change and hopefully see competition that is occurring. I will give you a small insight into a quick version of work put into setting up a photo plot. This is only a very quick representation of the work and a few key point needed for a photo plot.
Quick Key points needed for a 1 meter square Photo Plot:
- Find a patch of the species of interest within the associated polygon of distribution. This patch of species should contain a grouping of native perennial plants that live in association with the species of interest.
- The plot needs to be set up with the leading edge facing north.
- Hammer rebar into the ground at two of the 1meter squared corners, make sure the rebar is not sticking up to far or is so low that is will be hard to find later. You want to find the plot in the future.
- Take a picture of the plot. It is after all a Photo Plot.
- GPS the center point of the photo plot. DO NOT stand in the middle of the plot to take this point. The idea is to document the area without disturbing it with your large feet.
- Draw out the plot, yes with pencil and paper. This includes documenting the species both annuals and perennials, as well as any key identifying features, such as large rocks.
- Count and document the number of species and their size. Number each of the species of interest, they are their own individual.
- Count the amount of flowering stocks on each flowering individual, keep each count specific to that individual.
- Document the stage class distribution of the plants ex: Seedling, Juvenile, Mature (flowering and Non-flowering), Senesced and Dead.
- Measure the distance from the center of the photo plot to the transect. The transect is the line of interest that was run through the polygon community, so the relative number of individuals within that whole area could be counted and documented.
This is only a small simple version of some of the work that goes into setting up a photo plot it is in no means a complete accurate representation of all of the work and documentation that goes into setting up a photo plot.