Young Ranch Invasive Plant Control

Strategic control of invasive plant species to protect valuable serpentine grasslands that provide critical habitat

Young Ranch on Coyote Ridge in Santa Clara County is a 2,200-acre ranch, including large expanses of serpentine grassland home to listed species such as the Bay checkerspot butterfly, Santa Clara Valley dudleya, fragrant fritillary, Metcalf Canyon jewelflower, and most beautiful jewelflower. Other covered species at the site include California red legged frog, California tiger salamander, and burrowing owl. WRA has conducted a range of biological studies at the site, including the development of several GIS-based models used to develop invasive plant management plans.

Using these plans, WRA Landscape Restoration staff began strategically controlling over 15 acres of artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus) and 10 acres of barbed goatgrass (Aegilops triuncialis) in 2020. Staff locate, identify, and selectively apply herbicide to control targeted invasive plants to avoid harm to native species. They also collect and report on field data including invasive plant population mapping, plant phenology, plant cover, and photo-monitoring, using the cell phone-based Avensa Maps application paired with Bluetooth GPS receivers.


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