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Desert Natural Resources

Chris Mc Donald

In January 2010 I began my position as the UC Cooperative Extension (CE) Desert Natural Resource Advisor for San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties. In the intervening 9 months I have begun to meet clientele, discuss what natural resource issues they are faced with and determine how CE can provide a useful education and research program. The natural resource needs in this region are diverse, but clientele generally focus on invasive plants, wildland fire and land use and management.


I have completed several accomplishments related to invasive plant extension and education. There are numerous federal, state, county and non-governmental organizations that manage land in San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties. I am getting a natural resources program started by meeting many clientele, attending numerous meetings and field trips that provide me with ample time to discuss how the University can help land managers and begin to assess the needs of clients.


Advances in Desert Weeds Conference

I organized, moderated and gave a talk at the first Advances in Desert Weeds Conference at the UCR campus in Palm Desert. The event was a success with 113 people attending representing all six counties in southern California as well as participants from Nevada and Arizona. Attendees were employed by a wide variety of federal, state and local government agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations, consultants and producers.


The conference received great reviews. The vast majority of people, 90%, rated the conference four or more points, out of five. Nearly 80% percent of participants said their knowledge of weeds improved as a result of the conference and 56% were going to incorporate at least one piece of information learned in this event to improve their job.


Weed Ecology Research

I have also begun the large task of familiarizing myself with the weeds and native plants and management priorities in San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties. The number of species in these areas is large, but my knowledge is growing. This research is ongoing and is constantly used when I discuss wildland plant issues with clients. In the future this knowledge base will enable me to provide programs to clientele that can be tailored to their specific locations and problem species.


Wildland Fire

Wildland fire is a seasonal and complicated topic in the desert; invasive plants produce the fuel necessary to carry fire, but only if precipitation is adequate. This year the number of wildfires were small, thus I focused on meeting clientele. I hope to begin a wildfire research program if and when conditions permit.


For additional information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at cjmcdonald@ucdavis.edu


Desert Natural Resource Advisor San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties UC Cooperative Extension ANR 777 E. Rialto Ave. San Bernardino, CA 92415-0730 (909) 387-2242