Imagine that California's golden rolling hills were covered with different-looking grasses when the settlers first arrived.
Bunch grasses, the taller lumps of grass in front of you, are what the native Americans and animals used for food for thousands of years. The fields of smaller annual grasses are invasives from the Mediterranean, and have taken over where wildflowers and bunch grasses once dominated.
The Reserve was covered with these bunch grasses when explorers first arrived, and the surrounding area was Joshua trees and Juniper. The Reserve area may have been burned by the Indians to maintain healthy grasslands for food.
A solution to returning the habitat to native grasses is not easy. Controlled burns have not had consistent results, sheep brought in to control the non-native grasses were found to prefer poppies over grass, and mowing destroys the native wildflowers too. We are working on finding a solution to reduce invasive grasses while preserving our native bunch grasses.