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Old 11-18-2008, 03:12 PM
DeanWmTaylor DeanWmTaylor is offline
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I am going to come at the question from a different angle: concern over the adequacy of field survey for RTE plants is warranted, but needs qualification. A species list alone is not a very sharp instrument.

Theory [and a modest literature] dictates that no single person can locate ALL of the species in a given area; exactly which plants escape the attention of a given investigator has not been subject to direct investigation [save for one paper I have found, from Finland]. We all know that repeated visits to a given area will invariably document additional species, and that for the most part the species/effort curve for ordinary field work follows a diminishing-returns curve form.

If in fact we want to produce surveys with the highest probability of detection of rare plants, we ought to either resurrect and clone Jepson, or more realistically, opt for requirements other than professional certification [if certification is even possible under the California code]

That said, I pose an alternative: ‘single blind’ surveys. For major CEQA projects [dams, bullet trains, new towns etc.] botanical field surveys should be conducted by two DIFFERENT , independent botanists or teams of botanists whom do not share contact during the survey. The adequacy of the survey would be based on the comparison of the two result sets: a good comparison would indicate that the CEQA assessment might be robust. Differences between investigators could point the way to uncertainties of the assessment. Blind trials originated for expressly this bias. The observer effect alone [when awareness of being observed affects performance] would in my view be a very effective adjunct to aid effective botanical assessments for CEQA projects.
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