Latest Articles

Western Monarch Population Hanging On

February 18, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

Monarch butterfly populations in California’s coastal overwintering sites showed a slight -- and surprising -- rebound in 2013 after more than a decade of dwindling numbers.

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Preparing a Mountaintop to Welcome Back Birds — and People

February 12, 2014 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

After years of demolition and cleanup, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District installed nesting boxes for rare purple martins at the top of Mount Umunhum. Preparing the summit for the martins marks a special moment in the restoration process -- of the completion of the demolition phase and a celebration of the summit’s rebirth as a habitat and natural wonder.

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The Beauty of an Atmospheric River

February 07, 2014 by Eric Simons

The forecast calls for big rain this weekend from an "atmospheric river," a plume of moisture stretching thousands of miles across the Pacific and splashing onto land right smack on the Northern California coast.

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Richardson Bay Sets Winter Bird Count Record

February 06, 2014 by Rachel Diaz-Bastin

At 23,000 birds, the tally in Richardson Bay this December was higher than any year since the surveys began in fall 2006 -- much higher. The previous high was 13,000 birds.

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What’s Causing the Dry Weather — And When Will It End?

January 31, 2014 by Elizabeth Devitt

In the 150-plus years that we’ve been tracking rainfall in Northern California, it’s never been this dry. It was the ...

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A Botanist, a Bay Area Island and a Big Surprise

January 28, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

In the mid 90s, botanist Mike Wood was contracted by the U.S. Navy to undertake a rare plant survey of Yerba Buena Island as the military prepared to leave the base. At the time he didn't think the island would be of much botanical interest. But two decades later, he's still going back.

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Helping Restore Hamilton Wetland from the Ground Up

January 24, 2014 by Eric Simons

Several thousand of the 60,000 plants intended to ultimately go into the ground at the Hamilton Wetland restoration site will arrive there via the hands of young Marin residents as part of the Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed Program.

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Naturalist’s Notebook: SF Bay Skimmers

January 15, 2014 by John Muir Laws

Black skimmers frequent the waters at the Radio Road ponds in Redwood Shores.

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Radio Road: A Place for the Birds — and Birders

January 15, 2014 by Alessandra Bergamin

The wastewater treatment ponds of Radio Road in Redwood Shores attract a wide range of birds species by the thousands and with them, come the birders.

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Fish Forecast: Swimming Upstream Against Climate Change

January 14, 2014 by Jacoba Charles

The survey research that Peter Moyle started decades ago now has a dual purpose: It offers evidence for the free fall of native fish populations, but it also may ultimately contribute to one of the best opportunities to soften this decline.

3 Comments

Orcas of the California Coast: Deciphering the Culture of Killer Whales

January 13, 2014 by Sarah Allen

Our growing understanding of orca ecotypes — bolstered by recent advances in research technology and protocols — has been a major key to unlocking the mystery of the killer whales of the eastern North Pacific.

6 Comments

Oasis on Mount Diablo: Perkins Canyon’s Trial By Fire

January 13, 2014 by Joan Hamilton

The Morgan Fire transformed more than 3,100 acres of meadow, chaparral, and woodland on Mount Diablo’s south and east sides, including Perkins Canyon. “It was a once-in-
a-generation event,” says Seth Adams — the biggest fire on the mountain since 1977.

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Map Sense: From Topos to Tablets at the East Bay Regional Parks

January 13, 2014 by John Hart

Every map tells a story -- about the world, and about the person who made it.

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The Versatile Bulb: The Many Uses of Soaproot

January 13, 2014 by Sue Rosenthal

Food seems an unusual use for a plant called soaproot. In fact, food is just one of many traditional California Indian uses for the plant, some apparently contradictory. Soap, food, glue, medicine, poison, and more — all from a hairy, fist-size underground bulb.

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