Jul-Sep 2008

 

Issue Content

Greenbelt Alliance Turns 50

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

The Warm Springs Unit, like many other relatively small protected areas throughout the region, may not look like much compared to the towering peaks of Yosemite or the plunging cliffs of Big Sur. But it is part of the Bay Area’s 1.15 million acres of protected open space. For this remarkable heritage, we owe hearty […]

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Marine Protected Areas

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Seaflow would like to see vessel no-traffic zones and ocean noise pollution regulations included in the redesign of the state’s marine protected areas (MPAs), a process that is nearing completion for the North Central Coast region. While noise reduction is not currently part of the plan, California is on track to have the world’s first […]

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Mole Crab Decline

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

On sandy beaches from Alaska to Baja, you’ve likely seen plovers, sanderlings, willets, and other shorebirds foraging for food in the swash zone, where waves perpetually cover and uncover the sand. One of the creatures the shorebirds are hunting is the mole crab, or sand crab, a vital part of the food web of this […]

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Monterey Birding Festival

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Summer in the Bay Area can last well into late September, but by then many birds that overwinter here have already arrived after migrating from the north. While walking through the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach early last fall, veteran birder Steve Gerow stopped to listen to the “slurred mournful whistle” […]

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Ocean Noise Pollution

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

We hadn’t yet reached the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, but we were far enough outside the Golden Gate that Angel Island looked like an extension of the Marin Headlands, an optical illusion that kept early explorers from discovering San Francisco Bay. Joining this maiden voyage of Seaflow’s Vessel Watch Project on a […]

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Warm Springs Unit Expansion

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

With no April showers, the largest vernal pool in the Warm Springs Unit of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont was nothing more than a small mud puddle by the first week of May. Curly dock and European grasses surrounded the dried and cracked mud rendered white and furry from […]

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Flocking to the Island of Angels

July 01, 2008 by Aleta George

Cut off from land for thousands of years, the Bay’s largest island is a natural and cultural gem just a ferry ride or paddle away from city life.

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Letter from the Publisher

July 01, 2008 by David Loeb

No one can accuse me of being an early adopter—the kind of person who rushes to embrace new technologies. I didn’t get my first computer until 1991, I don’t have an iPod, and social networking still means meeting colleagues face-to-face. So it’s no surprise that when I wanted to communicate my passion for nature, I […]

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Making a Strait Loop

July 01, 2008 by Sherida Bush

Thanks to a collaboration between the regional Bay and Ridge Trails, a new loop trail will soon link the north sides of the Carquinez Strait.

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One Good Tern Deserves Another

July 01, 2008 by John Muir Laws

Summer brings a diversity of terns and skimmers to San Francisco Bay.

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Once Stung, Twice Shy

July 01, 2008 by Alan Kaplan

Learn about some of our local stinging insects, from the familiar honeybee to the powerful velvet ant (watch out for that one!).

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Photosynthesis in leaves that aren’t green

July 01, 2008 by Michael Ellis

Q: How does photosynthesis occur in plants that are not obviously green, such as ornamental plum trees with deep purple-colored leaves? [Paul, Santa Cruz] A: Photosynthesis (which literally means “light put together”) is that very elegant chemical process that jump-started life as we know it some 4 billion years ago. So to answer your question, […]

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The Battle of the Bulge

July 01, 2008 by Kathleen M. Wong

Snakes are famous for the amount of food they can stuff inside their skinny bodies. It’s common for a snake digesting a mouse or other prey to have an unsightly bulge marking the location of the meal. A snake’s lack of a sternum allows its stomach to expand as far as muscle and skin will […]

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The Beach as Office

July 01, 2008 by Joe Cervelin

I go to the beach in January. Sometimes I bring a sweater and a hat. I go to the beach in June in work clothes and roll up the cuffs. It reminds me why I’m still in California, what my rent really includes, that I’m alive…

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The Keeper of the Waters

July 01, 2008 by Cindy Spring

Gayle Ciardi, the first woman to serve as a watershed keeper for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is the fourth-generation of her family to work on the SFPUC watershed.

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The Saved and the Dammed

July 01, 2008 by Sarah Sweedler

For better and worse, the upper reach of the Pilarcitos watershed on the Peninsula was dammed to supply water to San Francisco in the 1860s. The surrounding land has been protected and kept off-limits to the public ever since, allowing rare species to thrive here. That includes the marbled murrelet, which nests only in old-growth conifers, such as Douglas fir. But the dam and other impacts also leave less water in the creek for oceangoing steelhead. Now, a diverse group of stakeholders has come together to chart a brighter future for the fish and the creek.

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The Steelhead of Alameda Creek

July 01, 2008 by David Carroll

Across the Bay from Pilarcitos, in the Alameda Creek watershed, SFPUC finds itself involved in another steelhead restoration discussion, centered around the utility’s Calaveras Dam near Sunol Regional Wilderness. The reservoir created by the dam can hold about 97,000 acre-feet of water, but since it was declared seismically unsound in 2001, it has operated at […]

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View from the Ground

July 01, 2008 by Kathleen M. Wong

Most folks don’t think much of snakes unless they trip over them. It turns out that a remarkable diversity of serpents lives nearby, from beautiful red-bellied ring-necked snakes hiding under logs in damp woodlands to three- or four-foot rattlers sunning themselves on rocky slopes in Sunol Regional Wilderness. Able predators, many of our local snakes have evolved fascinating strategies for subduing their prey, whether rodents, amphibians, or even other snakes.

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Voyage of an Ancient Mariner

July 01, 2008 by Joy Lanzendorfer

The world’s largest turtle visits the Central California coast every summer.

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