Plant Spotlight: Common Woolly Sunflower

Common Woolly Sunflower

Eriophyllum lanatum var. grandiflorum

The Woolly Sunflower is a common attraction along the Trinity River corridor and watershed. In our area, viewers can see it in a few different varieties split between high and low country. The low country version is found in large colonies exposed to dry and hot conditions. Viewers commonly see it along roadsides defying logic by clinging to rocky cliffs showing off their sweet yellow pedals and silvery leaves and stems.

Photo of a patch of Common Woolly Sunflower taken near Burnt Ranch, generously provided by Veronica Yates.

Eriophyllum lanatum is a perennial herb native to western North America. It has long, thin stems with small pinnately lobed, green leaves and small, yellow flowers. When you get up close and personal you notice a few unique characteristics. Prior to the bloom, the tips of the flower buds turn a sweet reddish purple and the silvery color of the stem and underside of the leaves is actually a layer of tiny hairs. These hairs serve a specific purpose for the plant and act to conserve water by reflecting heat and reducing air movement across the leaves surface [1]

Photo: taken at the Oregon Gulch Restoration Site. E. lanatum was a part of the seed mix dispersed post restoration as part of the revegetation efforts by Hoopa Valley Tribal Fisheries. Photo generously provided by Veronica Yates.

This perennial plant’s bloom is prolific and prolonged typically beginning in March and lasting sometimes into August making it of special value to native bees, butterflies, and other important pollinators who are attracted by the bright yellow sunflower-like pedals. Due to this wildflower’s showy nature as well as its excellent tolerance to drought, it makes for a terrific addition to cultivated butterfly gardens. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings or by inquiring to purchase from your local nursery [2].

Flowers in bloom, Credit: wikipedia
Side view of flower, Credit: wikipedia

The woolly sunflower has been recorded to be used by the people of the Miwok tribe (California) to sooth aching parts of the body by making a poultice of the leaves; the Skagit (Washington) rub the leaves on skin to prevent chapping; and the Chehalis (Washington) use the dried flowers as a love charm [3].

References

  1. Wikipedia, Eriophyllum lanatum
  2. NRCS, USDA.gov, Propagation Protocol Eriphyllum lanatum
  3. Native American Ethnobotany Database 2011, Eriphyllum lanatum

June TMC Meeting

TMC Partnership Ring

The June Quarterly meeting of the Trinity Management Council was held in Weitchpec, Ca. located near the confluence of the Trinity River and the Klamath River. The meeting was hosted by the Yurok Tribe and took place Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6. During the first day members received presentations from the acting Trinity River Restoration Program Executive Director, James Lee regarding program updates. Topics in the Executive Directors Report covered major activities since the March TMC meeting as well as organizational updates, budget updates, Implementation Branch updates, Public Outreach updates and Science Branch updates. The ED Report can be downloaded by clicking here.

Additionally the council received updates from various membership staff regarding Central Valley Project operations (Elizabeth Hadley, Reclamation), Trinity River Division Reconsultation (Kristen Hiatt, Reclamation), Fish workgroup synthesis report recommendations (Kyle De Juilio, Yurok Tribe) and TRRP channel rehabilitation site status and schedule (Oliver Rogers, TRRP). There were two informational presentations given to the council, the first a presentation from Whiskeytown National Park Service staff regarding the policy around keeping Whiskeytown Reservoir full as well as a presentation on the Remote Site Incubator (RSI) program (download the presentation) implemented by the Yurok Tribe on Grass Valley Creek in spring of 2024 by Zac Reinstein.

On day 2 In addition to a presentation from Hoopa Valley Fisheries Department Director, Mike Orcutt on chinook management post-Klamath dam removal in the second day of meetings the council received 3 presentations focused on program updates and 2 presentations regarding updates to TMC procedure. The first presentation was given by the TRRP Science Coordinator, Eric Peterson who updated the council regarding fiscal year 2025 science proposal recommendations. Second, James Lee, acting Executive Director presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 for council approval. The council voted unanimously to adopt the FY25 budget proposal with one amendment. The amendment reads as the following, “Mike Orcutt made a motion to follow the IDT’s recommendation to fund the additional three proposed projects up to $610,000 subject to IDT team review and contingent on their concurrence. The projects proposed include the Restoration Vegetation Diversity (TRRP-2025-1), Benthic Macroinvertebrates (TRRP-2025-2) and Initial Steps to Foodscape Model (TRRP-2025-3).”

In the afternoon, the TMC discussed amending the bylaws to more clearly define procedure in calling for executive session during management meetings. The TMC voted unanimously to amend this section to read as the following, “All regularly scheduled and special meetings of the TMC shall be open to the public except executive sessions. Executive sessions shall be comprised of one representative per TMC entity and invitees. Executive sessions shall be limited to issues related to contracts, personnel, legal matters, or other sensitive matters as determined by the TMC. The request for a specific executive session (including invitees) will be clearly proposed via a motion and voted to proceed by the TMC in accordance with Sections 603, 604, and 605.“ TMC bylaws (Section 600, Bullet D)

The final topic of the quarterly meeting was a discussion titled, Winter Flow Variability Planning and was brought by TMC member Radley Ott, who serves in the seat for California Natural Resources Agency. The discussion centered around the desire from technical groups and the public, who have expressed the need for advanced planning regarding water management. These groups were looking to the TMC for guidance on how Water Year ’25 would be managed with the knowledge that the management council was not able to pass a flow recommendation to the Department of the Interior in Water Year ’24. The council decided on creating a timeline for proposals that would include both limitations as well as implementation. The motion, that passed with 1 vote against and 7 votes in favor, reads as follows, “Any recommendations or conditions for WY 2025 flows between 01 Oct and 15 April are to be submitted to the Flow Workgroup by 19 July and any specific hydrographs are to be submitted to the Flow Workgroup by 9 August.”

Sarah Yarnell, Ph.D.

Sarah Yarnell, Ph.D., Associate Professional Researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California – Davis

Sarah is an Associate Professional Researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences.  Her studies focus on integrating the traditional fields of hydrology, ecology and geomorphology in the river environment.  She is currently conducting research that applies understanding of river ecosystem processes to managed systems in the Sierra Nevada, with a focus on the development and maintenance of riverine habitat.  She is a recognized expert in the ecology of the Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii), a California species of special concern that is listed as threatened in some regions, and she was the first researcher to apply sediment transport and two-dimensional hydrodynamic modeling techniques to the evaluation of instream amphibian habitat.

Her experience includes consultation as a technical expert for various hydroelectric power relicensing projects, where she has worked closely with government resource agencies and the private sector to assess the impacts of environmental flows on aquatic biota and provide recommendations for developing flows that improve the functioning of river ecosystems.  She is currently working with colleagues to apply a Functional Flows approach to the development of environmental flow criteria throughout the state.  In recent years, her research experience has expanded to include evaluation and restoration of headwater systems, particularly montane meadows in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges.  Throughout her time at CWS, she has co-taught field-based river courses, such as Ecogeomorphology, and she teaches as a part-time lecturer for the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences.  She is a member of the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group and finds working with students to be one of the highlights of her job.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Adaptively Managing a Functional Flow regime in California.

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as Sarah Yarnell, Ph.D., Associate Professional Researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California – Davis gives her presentation titled, “Adaptively Managing a Functional Flow regime in California.

Daniele Tonina, Ph.D., P.E.

Daniele Tonina, Ph.D., P.E., Professor Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Idaho | Co-Director, Center for Ecohydraulics Research | Science Advisory Board Member

Daniele Tonina joined the Center of Ecohydraulics Research and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in 2009. Natural environments are complex systems that require a holistic approach for synthesizing physical and biological processes. He follows this approach in his research, which can be broadly defined as ecohydrology. His research interests are in identifying and modeling linkages between physical processes and biological systems. This line of research improves our knowledge and ability to manage and protect river basins, water supplies, and riverine ecosystems, and thus forms an important basis for new public policy, urban development, and engineering designs. His research is not focused on one subject, but it examines the connection and interaction of different components that form a natural system.

His interests include surface and ground water processes and the interface between these two major systems — the hyporheic zone. In subsurface hydrology, he has investigated solute transport in heterogeneous formations with a stochastic approach. In surface waters, he is interested in sediment transport, river morphology response to disturbances and their effect on solute mixing and the aquatic habitat. He is particularly interested in surface-subsurface water interaction and its implications for ecosystems and water quality. He has been investigating how these interactions affect nutrient cycles, in-stream self-cleaning processes, both of which address engineering needs and answer ecological questions on how to manage and protect water resources. He is interested in defining the importance of hyporheic flow in different environments and under changing conditions. He is currently collaborating on the evaluation of a new airborne green lidar technology for surveying both terrestrial and aquatic systems (EAARL systems). This tool will provide extremely accurate topographic data of river networks and their surrounding riparian and floodplain zones and will support new research in river network evolution and structure, aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and surface processes.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Nitrification/denitrification, temperature and dissolved Oxygen changes within the hyporheic zone and emissions of greenhouse gases.

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as Daniele Tonina, Ph.D., P.E., gives his presentation titled, Nitrification/denitrification, temperature and dissolved Oxygen changes within the hyporheic zone and emissions of greenhouse gases.

John Buffington, Ph.D.

John Buffington, Ph.D., Research Geomorphologist, U.S. Forest Service

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John Buffington is a Research Geomorphologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise, Idaho.  He graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1988 with a B.A. in geology and from the University of Washington in 1995 and 1998 with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geomorphology. 

He was a National Research Council Scholar from 1998-2000, a professor in the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho from 2000-2004, editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface from 2015-2018 and has been an editorial board member of Hydrological Processes since 2015.  His research focuses on fluvial and hillslope geomorphology of mountain basins, biophysical interactions, and the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on aquatic habitat.  He has been a member of the Program’s Science Advisory Board since 2010.  

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Stability of channel morphology and aquatic habitat in a changing climate: Implications for management of regulated rivers.

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as John Buffington, Ph.D., Research Geomorphologist, U.S. Forest Service gives his presentation titled, “Stability of channel morphology and aquatic habitat in a changing climate: Implications for management of regulated rivers.”

Todd Buxton, Ph.D.

Todd Buxton, Ph.D., Hydrologist/Geomorphologist, Trinity River Restoration Program

Todd works on flow and sediment issues on the Trinity River for the TRRP and is currently investigating flow effects on temperature stratification in river pools, development of an acoustic technique for bedload monitoring, and evolution of Rush and Indian creek deltas and their capacity for rearing juvenile Chinook salmon. Todd completed a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard before starting his career in river and salmon restoration in 1994. His work has mainly focused on interties between sediment transport dynamics, streamflow, and biological populations in rivers in the Western U.S., Alaska, New York, and Costa Rica.

Todd has earned a B.S. in Watershed analyses and restoration and an M.S. in Watershed Management from Humboldt State University and a Ph.D. in Water Resources from the University of Idaho. His academic research included developing and testing an equation that predicts entrainment of waterlogged wood in rivers, streambed packing effects on sediment mobility, relative stability of salmon redds and ambient streambed areas, and salmon spawning effects on hyporheic (groundwater) flow and marine nutrients from salmon in streams. Todd’s free time is preferably spent building wood structures of any kind and caring for the land where he lives along Browns Creek.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

History of fine sediment and its impacts on physical processes and biologic populations in the Trinity River.

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as Todd Buxton, Ph.D., Hydrologist/Geomorphologist, Trinity River Restoration Program gives his presentation titled, “History of fine sediment and its impacts on physical processes and biologic populations in the Trinity River”.

Dave Gaeuman, Ph.D.

David Gaeuman, Ph.D., Senior Geomorphologist, Yurok Tribe, Design and Technical Services Program

David Gaeuman joined the Yurok Tribe Fisheries Department in 2019 after 13 years as a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation employee in the Weaverville TRRP office. Prior to arriving in Weaverville in 2006, he spent 3 years conducting sediment transport research in the Missouri River with the U.S. Geological Survey and worked in stream monitoring and restoration throughout the mountain west while earning a master’s degree in stream geomorphology at the University of Montana and a Ph.D. from Utah State University.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

A decade of tracking coarse sediment augmentations: where has all the gravel gone?

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as David Gaeuman, Ph.D., Senior Geomorphologist, Yurok Tribe, Design and Technical Services Program presents, “A decade of tracking coarse sediment augmentations: where has all the gravel gone?”

Scott McBain

Scott McBain, Fluvial Geomorphologist, McBain & Associates/Applied River Sciences, Consultant to Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Department

Scott McBain is a fluvial geomorphologist at McBain Associates and has been a consultant for the Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Department since 1989. He was one of many authors of the Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study, with his focus on the high flow and sediment management components. His discussion will focus on the evolution of the coarse sediment management strategy described in the Flow Study and ROD, and potential future coarse sediment management strategy considerations.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Background of sediment management as recommended in the Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study, and considerations for future coarse sediment management.

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as Scott McBain, Fluvial Geomorphologist, McBain & Associates/Applied River Sciences, Consultant to Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Department gives his presentation titled, “Background of sediment management as recommended in the Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study, and considerations for future coarse sediment management.

James Lee, M.S.

James Lee, M.S., Implementation Branch Chief, Trinity River Restoration Program

James Lee is the Implementation Branch Chief at TRRP and is employed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. His current role focuses on stream habitat restoration projects on a dam-regulated river, with a special emphasis on increasing native runs of Pacific salmon. James has worked for the program since 2012 as the staff Riparian Ecologist (employed by the Hoopa Valley Tribe) and then Science Coordinator.

Prior to his time at TRRP, he worked at an environmental consulting company, served the public as a wildlife biologist at a state natural resource trustee agency, and studied the ecology of several native desert fish species from a university in the southwestern U.S. He earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of California, Davis, and a M.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as James Lee, M.S., Implementation Branch Chief, Trinity River Restoration Program gives his presentation titled,  “Implications of variable summer baseflows to riparian vegetation in the Trinity River riparian corridor.

Conor Shea, Ph.D., P.E.

Conor Shea, Ph.D., P.E., Civil Engineer: Hydraulics and Geomorphology, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata

Conor Shea specializes in the application of fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, and hydraulic analysis to develop aquatic habitat restoration projects. He has worked for government agencies, private consulting firms, and in academic settings. He provides technical assistance to a variety of partners that includes local and state government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners. His work includes all phases of restoration project development from site assessment, monitoring, and concept development to preparing full construction plans and supervising construction.

Conor earned a B.S. in Forest Engineering and M.S. in Water Resources Engineering from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Ph.D. in Fluvial Geomorphology from the Johns Hopkins University. Conor has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2003.

2024 Science Symposium Presentation

Evolving Paradigms of Trinity River Channel Form

Day 3 of the Trinity River Restoration Program Science Symposium covered Physical Channel Form. Listen in as Conor Shea, Ph.D., P.E., Civil Engineer in Hydraulics and Geomorphology for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata gives his presentation titled, “Evolving Paradigms of Trinity River Channel Form”