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Carrizo Plain wildflowers severely limited due to ongoing drought

Posted at 11:21 AM, May 10, 2022

A lack of rainfall across the Golden State and the Central Coast is limiting blooms and leaving some tourists disappointed about what's missing at Carrizo Plain National Monument.

Aside from increasing drought conditions, 2022 started off with the driest first three months of the year in the last century, limiting the number of wildflowers able to germinate.

Gabriel Garcia, the Bureau of Land Management Director for the Carrizo Plain, sat down with KSBY meteorologist Vivian Rennie to chat about what we can expect this year. He said, "We aren't expecting a very good flower season this year or really any flower season within the BLM-managed lands within Central California."

Lisa Mcinally, a hiker from Ventura California said it simply, "There aren't any."

This lack of blooms is not only due to the dry start to 2022 but also a buildup of several years of drought.

Mcinally wasn't expecting to see many flowers at all.

"We don't have any rainfall; we have a drought season so we weren't expecting a lot of wildflowers," she said.

"Unfortunately, this is the second year of really extreme or severe drought for the area, and we did not really get any wintertime rain when we kind of needed to produce the wildflower blooms that we've seen in the past," Garcia explained.

At the Carrizo Plain National Monument, a common blossom viewing area has only received 1.3 inches of rain so far this year. In 2019, the same area received 13.22 inches of rain.

"We really haven't seen any blooms in Carrizo," Garcia continued. "I think there's maybe a couple of small patches of poppies at some of the locations, but there's nothing, nothing, nothing real to speak of."

Even though there are little to no blooms this year, if we have more rain this upcoming winter there is a chance of more blooms in the future.

"I am going to try for next year," Mcinally said. "You do your research. It is a beautiful drive just through this area."

The Bureau of Land Management is asking wildflower enthusiasts to "know before you go" and plan ahead, but also for the public to keep other drought risks in mind.

"This year, we are predicting that wildfire season will come on a little bit sooner than the normal. Probably it's going to be, we're anticipating probably a month ahead of time," Garcia said.

The BLM is asking Central Coast residents to prepare for a longer fire season, especially for those living on the urban-wildland interface.

For information on where to find the few wildflowers in bloom, you can follow BLM California on Facebook and Twitter.