John (Jack) Cronin

GFI Fellow - Class of 2017

Undergraduate Student, Environmental Engineering
UC Merced


Managed Grazing in Vernal Pool Ecosystems


Managed grazing in vernal pool ecosystems has been found to increase cover of native plant species, increase the inundation period of vernal pools and increase the abundance of vernal-pool endemic plant species. Eastern Merced County is home to one of the largest continuous expanses of vernal pools left in California. Much of Eastern Merced County is utilized as rangelands for grazing. It is important to understand proper stocking rates, grazing timing and grazing intensities to maximize vegetation utilization and health of the vernal pool ecosystems.

Jack will work with the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve to conduct research and obtain data that will be used by rangeland managers to better understand health and production in Central Valley ecosystems. His project will help to communicate scientific research in rangeland management to the public. Jack’s project will host a grazing workshop that is specific to the needs of ranchers in vernal pool ecosystems, benefiting the ranchers and the vernal pool ecosystem, and engaging UC Merced with the agricultural community. The most recent research, ideas and technology in rangeland management will be shared at this workshop.