About Hopland Research and Extension Center
The Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) is the University of California's principal field research facility for agriculture and natural resources in the North Coast region. A diversity of soils, plant and animal communities, and elevations makes HREC representative of many parts of the Coast Range in northwestern California. It is one of nine Research and Extension Centers operated by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources unit of the University that is administratively separate from the UC campuses. Many researchers who use the Center hold faculty appointments at UC Davis or UC Berkeley or are Cooperative Extension advisors located in California counties.
In 1951, the University purchased the 4,630-acre Roy L. Pratt Ranch in Hopland, California to use as a site for long-term, controlled research on native rangelands, watersheds, and wildlife. Adjacent higher-elevation acreage was later acquired from the federal government. The Center now encompasses 5,358 acres.
Historically, the Center's educational mission has focused on animal science, rangeland management, wildlife, plant science, entomology, and public health. Techniques developed at HREC for managing North Coast rangelands by the introduction of subterranean clover and fertilization with essential nutrients have significantly increased forage productivity and quality. Other research has included plant response to grazing, fire, and other management strategies. The role of native hardwoods, especially oaks, has received recent attention, with emphasis on sustainable management of valley oak and blue oak stands. Plantings of wine grapes and pears provide opportunities for closely monitored variety trials, studies of plant productivity, and development of strategies for controlling insect pests and plant diseases.
The Center maintains a research sheep flock of 600 to 1,000 breeding ewes that graze the majority of the Center's rangelands. Lambing generally occurs between November and February, and shearing takes place in April. Many of the Center's sheep are involved in multiple animal science or veterinary research projects.
The native vegetation present throughout much of the acreage supports more than 180 species of wild birds, 40 mammals, 15 reptiles, and 12 amphibians. The Center's Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are one of the most intensively studied deer populations on the West Coast. Other species that have received significant research attention include meadow voles(Microtus californicus), deer mice(Peromyscus maniculatus), and coyotes (Canis latrans). The study of the ecology and behavior of predators receives continuing emphasis because of their impact on livestock. In addition, insect and other arthropods of medical and veterinary importance have been a main focus of field studies, with particular emphasis on mosquitoes and ticks and their epidemiological roles.
The Center's main office/laboratory complex houses a small library, a meeting room, and office space for staff and researchers. The all-purpose laboratory is equipped for a variety of standard soil and vegetative analytical tasks. A greenhouse and lysimeter complete plant science research. A series of weather stations monitor climate at different elevations. Livestock facilities include three sheep barns with working corrals, as well as feed storage facilities. Warehouses and mechanical, welding, and woodshops provide support for maintaining, constructing, and modifying facilities and equipment for research purposes.
Visiting researchers, technicians, and students may stay in a modern bunkhouse facility equipped with cooking and laundry facilities. In addition, seven permanent residences are maintained for lease by UC staff.
In addition to supporting a diversity of ongoing research projects, HREC is often the site of field trips, workshops, tours, and hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from UC campuses and elsewhere.
Directions to the Center
From downtown Hopland (intersection of Highways 101 and 175), take Highway 175 east toward Lakeport. Cross the Russian River and proceed through Old Hopland (East Hopland). Approximately 3 blocks past the center of Old Hopland, enter the traffic circle, exit onto Old River Road (also marked "Road 201"; formerly "East Side Road"). At the next opportunity, turn right onto University Road. Follow the paved road approximately 4 miles to reach the Center headquarters.
from UC Berkeley - 2.5 hours
from UC Davis - 2.75 hours
from San Francisco International Airport - 2.75 hours
from Santa Rosa - 1 hour