Plant Communities of Austin Creek SRA
The open meadows, comprised primarily of perennial grasses, are most prolific on exposed southerly hillsides. Golden ripples wave across the landscape as winds blow their dry stalks in summer and fall, while winter transforms then into striking green-carpeted hillsides. In the spring, stunning wildflower displays dust the grasses with color.
Fringing on the grasslands are short trees and tall shrubs that comprise the chaparral plant community. These thick, twiggy evergreens are able to tolerate drought conditions by resting during the dry heat of summer and fall and sprouting in winter and late spring. A variety of blooms and berries bring seasonal color to the native vegetation which includes manzanita, coyote bush, western azalea, and toyon- the state shrub of California.
Oak Woodlands and Conifers
The forests that beautify the hills of Austin Creek are primarily oak woodlands and conifers. These trees are well adapted to the dry summers of Northern California and thrive on the more moist and sheltered northeast slopes, in canyons where water collects in the valley floor, and in terrain affected by the channels of fog that are common to this area. The coast live oak, California black oak, Oregon white oak, and interior live oak are joined by broadleaf trees such as the big leaf maple, California bay, Oregon ash, California buckeye, red alder, mountain mahogany, and madrone. The stately conifers include a few remaining coast redwoods, Douglas fir, and sargent cypress.