Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley
University of California
Center for Forestry at UC Berkeley

Russell Research Station



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 is 115 hectares (283 acres) of 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") with a range of 610-1870mm (23 - 74").  Summer temperatures range from 14°-C to 27° C (57°-80° degrees F) and winter temperatures from 0 C °to 14° C (32°-57° degrees F).

Russell Map


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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 30 minutes away from the main University of California campus.

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Russell Past Research

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4927 Happy Valley Road
Lafayette, CA 94549

Take State Highway 24 to the Acalanes/ Upper Happy Valley Road Off-Ramp. Head to the north part of the interchange; and turn right on El Nido Ranch Road. Turn Left onto Upper Happy Valley Road. Continue to the intersection of Upper Happy Valley Road and Happy Valley Road; turn left onto Happy Valley Road. Continue up and over the ridge, and continue descending along Happy Valley until the only 180 degree hairpin turn; the entrance to the facility is at the apex of the hairpin turn. The gate is to remained locked at all times.

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Selected links for Russell Research Station Co-operators:

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