After 130 years of tough times, the Carmel River is finally catching a break from a few big restoration projects.
Proponents of the Yolo Bypass Floodplain Fishery Enhancement Project are starting small but thinking big. During the first year of the pilot project, scientists will test whether raising juvenile chinook salmon on flooded rice fields in the Yolo Bypass will help the fish get stronger and bigger before being flushed down to San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific.
With the clock ticking toward a February deadline, the nonprofit Solano Land Trust is working to purchase 1,500 acres of land known as Rockville Trails in Solano County. Recently, a lawsuit put a stop to development plans and allowed the land trust to buy 330 acres of the property, with an option to purchase the remaining 1,170 acres for $15.5 million by February 28, 2012.
The Bay Area program of the California Coastal Conservancy has been protecting critical open space landscapes and wetlands around the region for 15 years now. However, the program’s anniversary is bittersweet: The sense of accomplishment from having played a central role in conserving 80,500 acres of valuable habitats and recreational open space is tempered by the knowledge that the program could soon run out of money.
Thornewood Open Space Preserve above the town of Woodside isn’t easy to find–unless you’re a weed. This area is the only site in California where the plant has been found, but this invasive perennial bunchgrass native to Eurasia and North Africa has infested 10,000 acres in Oregon. A project from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District aims to make sure that doesn’t happen here.
In late August, environmental scientist Laura Rogers-Bennett was driving back to Bodega Bay after conducting ocean surveys in Mendocino when she saw “dark-coffee-colored water” north of Salt Point State Park. Within days, dead sea stars, abalones, urchins, and chitons were piling up on area beaches.
Bay Nature mourns the untimely passing of David Yearsley, the founder and executive director of the Friends of the Petaluma River, in September 2011.
The Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art is honoring California landscape painter William Keith a century after his death with 150 paintings from the college’s permanent collection. “The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute,” on view through December 18, 2011, includes dozens of Bay Area views, from Pacheco Pass to San Anselmo. Some are startlingly familiar. Others are lost to roads and subdivisions. All will help you see local nature with new eyes.
A new report on the state of bird populations shows mixed results for Bay Area populations. People continue to be the biggest threat, with habitat loss and other pressures, and the biggest hope, in the form of major and minor restoration projects all around the Bay.
Researchers plan to head out this winter looking for micro-plastic in the Bay. Their first-ever trawl last winter turned up concentrations that actually weren’t as bad as some recorded in other waterways. But that might just mean we’re sending more plastic to the Pacific.