|Loch Lomond Vernal Pool|
|Location||Southern Lake County, California|
|Nearest city||Lower Lake, California|
|Area||8 acres (32,000 m2)|
|Governing body||California Department of Fish and Game|
The Loch Lomond Vernal Pool Ecological Reserve is a nature reserve of 8.22 acres (33,300 m2) in the community of Loch Lomond in Lake County, California. It is one of 119 ecological reserves managed by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). The ecological reserve system was authorized by the state legislature in 1968 for the purpose of conservation and protection of rare plants, animals and habitats.
The vernal pool provides habitat for the rare and endangered Loch Lomond button celery (Eryngium constancei) (also called coyote-thistle and Constance's coyote-thistle). The button celery was first collected in the vernal pool in 1941, and not until the late 1990s was there another discovery at two other locations in Lake County and one location in Sonoma County.
The southern portion of Lake County is in the Mayacamas Mountains of the California Coast Ranges. Nearby Cobb Mountain (4,722 ft) is the highest peak. Although extensively logged in the past, this area still has Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and Douglas fir, as well as black oak, with an underbrush of manzanita, ground rose, coffeeberry, and California lilac.
The Loch Lomond button celery was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1985 as an emergency measure due to the threat of habitat destruction from proposed dredging and filling of the vernal pool. The land was purchased by the CDFG on March 28, 1988 for $46,000 with funds provided by the State Public Works Board and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. A post and rail fence was installed by CDGF to limit access.
Historically, the area was used as a recreation field for baseball games, horseback riding, ice-skating, volleyball and cycling and was adjacent to the Loch Lomond Lodge, a popular resort until destroyed by fire on August 14, 1967.
The many-flowered navarretia is state (1979) and federal (1997) listed as endangered. It grows in wetland habitats near Ponderosa pine woodlands. An annual wildflower of the Phlox family (Polemoniaceae) that has only been found in the California counties of Lake, Sonoma and Napa. The plant form is a prostrate mat, flowers are clusters of white or blue with the bloom period in May through June. Identification is difficult as the many-flowered navarretia closely resembles the few-flowered navarretia and Baker's navarrettia and will hybridize with few-flowered navarretia.
The few-flowered navarretia is state (1990) and federal (1997) listed as endangered. Very similar to many-flowered navarretia, differences include smaller white or blue flowers and the plant stems are white with purple streaks. The species account from US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento reports that only Napa County has a population of few-flowered navarretia remaining. Historically, there were populations at the Loch Lomond reserve, Boggs Lake reserve, and in Sonoma County.