cal poly land

overview this project
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agriculture lands
poly canyon
stenner canyon
western ranches
swanton ranch
adjoining lands

geology & climate
soils & water
flora and fauna
natural resources
the arts


IX. Ideas For Future Research
  1. Studies and collection of fungi of Poly Canyon, and eventually of all San Luis Obispo County, to be housed at Cal Poly's Department of Biological  Sciences for use in teaching and as reference material.
  2. Studies and collection of arthropods of Poly Canyon, and eventually of all San Luis Obispo County, to be housed at Cal Poly's Department of Biological  Sciences for use in teaching and as reference material.
  3. Continue studies initiated on Yucca whipplei. How many insects are associated with this plant? (I counted at least ten in fifteen minutes.) What are they? What are the ecological relationships involved?
  4. In the chaparral community above the railroad tracks, track the post-fire (1994's Highway 41 or Cerro Alto Fire) recovery of the area and the recruitment of plants; map the manzanitas (Arctostaphylos ) and California lilac (Ceanothus spp.); compare the Poly Canyon and Cuesta Canyon sides of ridge; and document the animals present.
  5. Inventory the area above and west of the railroad tracks. There is a 25-ft. depression that looks interesting. What plants are present now? Track the changes over five or ten years. Is there evidence of vernal pool characteristics/species composition?
  6. Do a follow-up report to Julianne Thompson's: Survey of point and non-point pollution sources of Brizziolari Creek (Senior Project 86-0246 - Natural Resources Management). Compare and contrast Ms. Thompson's report to James Strampe's: Brizzolara Creek: environmental problems and their remedies (Senior project 92-215 - Biological Sciences). Bring studies up to date.
  7. Do a follow-up report to Michael Medved's study of the area just north of the "P" that burned in 1975: Plant succession study of burn site within chamise chaparral on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus (Senior Project 79-0423 - Biological Sciences). What is growing there now? In five, ten, or twenty years?
  8. Monitor and report the effects of the State Water Project. Focus on the recovery (or not) of native plants, invasion by exotic plants, soil and water pollution, revegetation, impacts on fauna, etc.
  9. Provide periodic, on-going maintenance for Botanic Garden - trails, signs, trash pick-up, etc. Make it desirable to mountain bikers to respect trail signs and not ride in the Botanic Garden. This is an ideal project for Outings, the Wildlife Club and/or other student-based service groups (honor societies, etc.). Bring the problem to the attention of local bike shops/clubs who recommend Poly Canyon to mountain bikers because some of them have made available to the general public pamphlets with maps and descriptions of Poly Canyon trails.
  10. Initiate, through the proper channels, the removal of invasive exotics (e.g., pampas grass from dump area; Italian thistle from beneath coast live oaks; Eucalyptus; German ivy from riparian areas) and watch out for others (e.g., French and Spanish brooms). Involve campus management, Wildlife Club, CNPS. Document everything done.
  11. Commence ecological studies, in conjunction with Rob Rutherford of the Animal Science Department, to compare and contrast the health of grasslands and riparian areas of Serrano Canyon (Stenner Creek) and Poly Canyon (Brizziolari Creek). Mr. Rutherford claims his holistic resource management of Serrano Canyon is producing some very interesting results with regard to return of native perennial bunchgrasses without seeding, merely through the timing and duration of grazing. One of the problems caused by overgrazing is the invasion of Italian thistle, which, ironically, cattle do not eat, beneath coast live oaks. Mr. Rutherford says that by grazing sheep in such areas of Serrano Canyon, the thistle has been replaced by native perennials which constitute more favorable fodder for sheep and cattle alike. Grazing sheep can also extirpate star thistle from an area. This is fascinating stuff! Talk with Mr. Rutherford (campus phone number: 756-1475). He is knowledgeable, really interested in the subject, and interesting to converse with.
  12. Map plant communities using California Native Plant Society (CNPS) transect methods and community classification system. Coordinate with Geographic Information Systems class (Dr. V.L. Holland of Biological Sciences and/or Mr. Walt Bremer of Landscape Architecture), as well as the local chapter of CNPS. 
  13. Compare and contrast, in detail, rock outcrop communities of different ecological settings.
  14. Test the correlation of various ecological characteristics and the occurrence of rare and endangered species.
  15. Develop a collection of mosses and liverworts of Poly Canyon and San Luis Obispo County to be housed at Cal Poly's Department of Biological Sciences for use in teaching and as reference material.