Russell Research Station (RRS) is a 115 hectare (283 acre) research facility of the University of California's Center for Forestry, located in the coastal hills of Contra Costa County, California. Since 1961 it has provided a location for wildland and forestry research, and as a teaching locus for the University of California, Berkeley.
The Russell Research Station is nestled next to the East Bay Regional Parks Briones Regional Park, and the cities of Lafayette and Orinda, in the coastal hills of Contra Costa County, California. This station is only 25 minutes from the University of California main campus, and is commonly used for research in forest genetics, forest pathology, tree physiology, fire ecology, silviculture, and vegetation ecology. Outdoor space for teaching, forestry demonstrations, and university-sponsored events are available by prior arrangement.
This facility offers a range of vegetation including Coastal Woodland, Scrublands, Oak Woodlands, Grasslands, Riparian areas and conifer plantations. Elevation ranges from 215 m to 388 m (705 ft to 1272 ft). Over 200 species of plants on the property provide habitat for 75 species of animals.
Four major soil types are found within Russell Research Station. The soils are derived from Miocene Rodeo Shale, Hambre Sandstone, and Pleistocene alluvial fans and fluvial materials. Lodo clay loams, and Milsholm Loams cover the hillsides in varying depths, and are interspersed with Miocene rock outcrops. Tierra Loam forms a deep soil layer in the bottomlands. A small tributary of Bear Creek forms a narrow riparian area through the Station.
Weather data is available from nearby RAWS automated recording stations, and NOAA sites. Annual precipitation averages 690 mm (26.3 inches) with a range of 610 to 1870mm (23 to 74 inches). Summer temperatures range from 14 to 27 degrees C (57 to 80 degrees F) and winter temperatures from 0 to 14 degrees C (32 to 57 degrees F).
Russell Research Station is on the unceded territory of the Miwok and Ohlone (Costanoan) tribes. These peoples stewarded this area for thousands of years prior to violent removal and displacement through the land grant process. The Miwok and Ohlone have cared for this land since time immemorial - gathering acorns, cultivating native plant species, and burning the grasses for increased production. Indigenous tribes and nations throughout California have persisted through a legacy of violence, disease, and systemic discrimination.
Berkeley Forests exists as a resource to the larger community and acknowledges the violence that has been and continues to be perpetrated against Indigenous nations and tribal groups. We hope to honor and support the persistence of local tribal groups through incorporating cultural knowledge, creating educational partnerships, and prioritizing cultural stewardship goals in research and management. Recognizing the history of the land and all stakeholders involved is a first step towards decolonization of forest management. Current conditions of many lands in California are the result of oppressing Indigenous knowledge and land rights for centuries.
As a land-grant university, the University of California as a whole has continually benefited from the violent seizure of native lands. Berkeley Forests takes ownership of this legacy and is working to move forward through education, collaboration and work that can benefit all Californians. Read more about UC Berkeley’s legacy and the history of land-grant institutions in the US here.
The Russell Research Station forms a part of the East Bay regions largest greenbelt, and is home to a unique suite of forest plantations and native vegetation communities, as well as a rich wildlife population. The property adjoins Briones Regional Park and the East Bay Municipal Utility District's (EBMUD) Briones Reservoir; Watershed, as well as the cities of Lafayette and Orinda. The Russell Research Station is a uniquely rural opportunity for research, and is only 25 minutes away from the main University of California campus.
Next to the East Bay Regional Parks Briones Regional Park, and the cities of Lafayette and Orinda, in the coastal hills of Contra Costa County, California (25 minutes east of the Berkeley campus).
4927 Happy Valley Road
Lafayette, CA 94549
There are no facilities at Russell, but the Cal Forestry Club's Logging Sports team has a practice site here. There is an RV hookup with power available. No water or irrigation system.
283 acres (115 hectares)
215 to 388 m (705 to 1272 ft)
Summer: 14C to 27C (57F to 80F)
Winter: 0C to 14C (32F to 57F)
Average precipitation: 690 mm (26 inches)
Low: 610 mm (23 inches)
High: 1870 mm (74 inches)
Average snowfall: none
Coastal Woodland, Scrublands, Oak Woodlands, Grasslands, Riparian areas and conifer plantations.
Miocene Rodeo Shale, Hambre Sandstone, and Pleistocene alluvial fans and fluvial materials. Lodo clay loams, and Milsholm Loams cover the hillsides in varying depths, and are interspersed with Miocene rock outcrops. Tierra Loam forms a deep soil layer in the bottomlands.
A small tributary of Bear Creek forms a narrow riparian area through the property. The property forms a complete watershed, so all precipitation the slopes receive flows to the valley floor.