Saturday, April 5, 2014
Cuesta Grade sites
Picked up Ashlyn at CCBER and drove to San Luis Obispo to check on reported newt localities near Cuesta Grade. A clear day, high about 70 F, no wind. Went first to Reservoir (Brizziolari) Canyon, an eastern tributary of San Luis Obispo Creek accessible via a short road off hwy 101 a half mile NE of San Luis Obispo. There is a parking area and a trail starting at a large serpentine outcrop that was once the core of a dam, now washed away. Started here and walked upstream in and along the creek, which was flowing at ca. 4-5 cfs in a narrow riparian corridor with steep chaparral slopes to the S and open serpentine grassland on the N. Went upstream about ¾ mile without seeing any newts or egg masses. The stream looks good but is small and shallow, with relatively few refuge pools. Ashlyn found a Batrachoseps nigriventris under a small log, though in general the leaf litter was too dry.