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Drought proves thorn in side of seeding project: County Parks Foundation shifting focus to Bicycle Sunday effort
February 03, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

The all-apparent lack of rain has put a thorn in the side of the county’s planned reseeding of the endangered thornmint plant at Edgewood Park.

Using an innovative governmental crowdfunding site, parks officials and supporters were recently able to make donations pour into its thornmint seeding project. Mother Nature, however, has been a lot more stingy.

Although some precipitation is predicted, it will likely be too little too late for the plants to complete a normal life cycle, wrote Julia Bott, San Mateo County Parks Foundation director, and Stuart B. Weiss and Christal Niederer, of the Creekside Center for Earth Observation, in a letter to “thornmint lovers.”

The seeding has now been postponed until next year and the $5,400 raised through Citizinvestor will be placed in a special foundation fund earmarked only for this project, according to Bott.

Bott said the foundation considered supplemental irrigation but doing so is logistically tough because it would be the primary source of water rather than just a helping hand.

The thornmint is an annual plant standing 2 to 4 inches high with white and purple flowers and some thorns. The plant, which is on both the federal and state endangered species lists, was only ever identified in San Mateo County and now is only in a secret location in Edgewood Park. This single population has been on the decline for years, with an estimate of more than 53,000 plants in 1994 dropping to only 249 individuals counted in 2008. That year, the restoration project began and, by May 2011, the population hit 3,450. But without seeding the last few years, the number of plants again plummeted and advocates had hoped the December 2013 planting window would result in springtime blooms.

The county’s parks have no dedicated source of funding and are often first on the budgetary chopping block which is why wish list projects like this are often in the hands of public generosity.

The county Parks Foundation turned to Citizinvestor late last year to fund the thornmint planting along with proposals to replace the fire rings at Memorial Park and three months worth of funding for the Bicycle Sunday program, the closure of Cañada Road for non-motorized activity. Donors could pledge any amount but were not charged unless the given project reached 100 percent of its funding goal before the deadline ends.

The fire ring idea never really caught on and fell short of its $27,540 goal. The foundation finally pulled the project and instead extended the Bicycle Sunday investment. The funding window for that project closes in a week and Bott said it still needs to raise a little more than $4,300. The total could be met by a few big gifts and lots of little contributions, Bott said.

For more information and to donate, visit

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: project, thornmint, foundation, funding, parks, county,

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