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Jan-Mar 2010

Our winter 2010 issue looks beyond the media hype and into the long-range migrations of great white sharks, examines the Concord Naval Weapons Station’s wildlife and landscape as well as its development and preservation possibilities, looks at an artist’s vision of educating San Franciscans about local endangered species while promoting public transit, explores the unusual rock formations and abundant plant and animal life of Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and elucidates the awesome phenomenon of huge wintertime aggregations (rafts) of ducks in San Francisco and Tomales bays. Cover photo by Jason Bradley/Green Stock Media, greenstockmedia.com.


Climbing the Waves at Castle Rock State Park

January 01, 2010 by Paul McHugh

The high ridges and sandstone outcrops at Castle Rock have fascinated adventurers from explorer George Vancouver to the pioneers of modern rock climbing. Prolific wildflowers, great views, and an 80-foot waterfall add to the allure.

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Development Threats in Los Medanos Hills

January 01, 2010 by Dan Rademacher

The hills above the Concord Naval Weapons Station are part of a property proposed for development by local builder Albert Seeno’s Discovery Builders. But local open space advocates are hoping to negotiate protections for this vital greenbelt between Concord and Pittsburg.

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Ballot Measure to Save State Parks

January 01, 2010 by Aleta George

Park advocates aim for a ballot measure in November 2010.

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Environmental Education Off the Grid

January 01, 2010 by Aleta George

San Francisco’s first fully off-the-grid building comes to Bayview-Hunters Point, thanks to the nonprofit Literacy for Environmental Justice. The new EcoCenter is a working model of sustainability in a neighborhood that knows firsthand the costs of conventional waste management and power generation.

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Getting Closer to the Water in Petaluma

January 01, 2010 by Aleta George

River advocate David Yearsley continues his quest to connect people of all ages to the Petaluma River, now with a Petaluma River Heritage Center that focuses on boating, boatbuilding, and wetland restoration.

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Restoring Two Creeks for Coho

January 01, 2010 by Aleta George

Restoration work along Marin County’s Redwood Creek is making this watershed more habitable for the state’s southernmost run of coho salmon, while activists push for new protections in the Lagunitas watershed, home to California’s largest remaining runs of these once-plentiful fish.

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Studying Underwater Mountains in Monterey Bay

January 01, 2010 by Aleta George

The remarkable Davidson Sea Mount has gained new protections as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This and other nearby seamounts attract spectacularly diverse sea life.

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Hunger Shrike

January 01, 2010 by John Muir Laws

Turns out this little songbird is a little fiercer than most: Loggerhead shrikes eat mostly grasshoppers and other insects in summer, but in winter they go after larger prey, including other birds. But they lack the sharp talons of raptors, so they use thorns or the barbs on barbed wire to finish the job.

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Letter from the Publisher

January 01, 2010 by David Loeb

Celebrating, and studying, the cycles of life in the Bay Area is part of our work here at Bay Nature. It’s also a great way to notice changes in local ecosystems. Explaining those changes is not so easy…

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Petaluma’s Teenage Fish Force

January 01, 2010 by Daniel McGlynn

At first glance the tan building blends into the rest of Petaluma’s Casa Grande High School. It’s nondescript from the outside, but it houses a rare kind of conservation organization, the United Anglers of Casa Grande. The high school students in the club run their own hatchery, and learn more about salmon than most folks ever know…

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Public Transit and Other Endangered Species

January 01, 2010 by Todd Gilens

Might the streets we travel have once been migratory corridors for other species, now displaced and threatened by our urban ways? Did butterflies pass by this way, looking for mates, or did salmon swim up a creek long since buried? Could we once again share this landscape and these corridors with other species, if our own daily migrations became more communal–a few buses in place of a swarm of cars, a single train where SUVs now reign?

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Rafting Time for Diving Ducks

January 01, 2010 by Joe Eaton

The great rafts of ducks on San Francisco and Tomales bays, mostly surf scoter, greater and lesser scaup, and canvasback, are a wintertime spectacle. Scoter flocks can range from many hundreds to a few thousand birds. Why do they form these aggregations?


At Home Under the Log

January 01, 2010 by David Herlocker

A world awaits discovery under almost any humble log in winter, whether it’s in your backyard or deep in the woods. Lift that log and make some new discoveries. Just be sure to put that log back carefully…


What’s the deal with pelicans’ weird bills?

January 01, 2010 by Michael Ellis

Can a pelican really hold a week’s worth of food in its bill?

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Beyond Jaws

January 01, 2010 by Glen Martin

Fast, silent, and deadly, the great white shark has long evoked both fear and awe among those who live, work, and play along the California coast. Yet for all its press–both good and bad–we’ve known remarkably little about the life of this iconic creature. But recent scientific studies using pioneering tracking techniques are finally giving us a better look at the white shark’s wide-ranging haunts and habits.


Worth the Wait

January 01, 2010 by John Hart

Fenced off in plain sight for decades, the Concord Naval Weapons Station is the largest piece of undeveloped, unprotected land in Contra Costa County. Now, after years of debate and planning, a large portion of the former base is poised to become a major new regional park, as well as a critical open space link and wildlife corridor stretching from the summit of Mount Diablo to the shores of Suisun Bay.

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