In 1984, Alameda County approved Oliver de Silva, Inc.’s plans to build a hard rock quarry at Apperson Ridge, east of Sunol Valley. Twenty years later, de Silva has yet to begin construction. Now, though the company denies having a specific schedule, Jeff Miller of the Alameda Creek Alliance (ACA) reports that local officials expect […]
Archive | History
Land management changes are also on the table for the Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County. Beginning in the 1880s, logging, road-building, and grazing around this 1,100-acre tidal estuary introduced tremendous amounts of silt to the lagoon’s mudflats and marshlands. The increased sedimentation has reduced the amount of water flowing in from the ocean, which has […]
On May 1, the California Academy of Sciences will open its new (temporary) doors at 875 Howard Street in downtown San Francisco. As it rebuilds its Golden Gate Park location, more than 85 percent of the animals from the permanent site, as well as 18 million specimens from its research collection, will be relocated to […]
The Mount Diablo Audubon Society’s 51st annual Christmas Bird Count, which took place on December 14, 2003, benefited from sunnier weather and better visibility than the previous year. About 60 volunteer bird counters spotted more than 51,000 birds representing 148 species; among the sightings was a violet-green swallow, a species previously unrecorded by Diablo Audubon. […]
Birds will again be studied—and celebrated—at the International Migratory Bird Day festival at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, May 8, in Alviso (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The free event will include naturalist-led bird walks, bird banding demonstrations, arts and crafts, and beginning bird-watching for children. An adults-only twilight […]
In May of 2002, Magna Entertainment Corporation, owner of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack, adjacent to Berkeley and Albany, proposed a development project totaling more than 1 million square feet, in place of the existing racetrack. In February of 2004, Magna withdrew its proposal after Albany residents and representatives of the Citizens for Eastshore State […]
The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association is also encouraging folks from coastal California to participate in several last-chance review planning sessions for the Gulf of the Farallones, Monterey Bay, and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Since 2001, the sanctuaries have convened working groups consisting of advisory councils, local agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public […]
As you celebrate Mother’s Day this spring, think beyond the family unit. In fact, why not commemorate Mother’s Day for All Species this year at Elkhorn Slough, one of the most important estuarine systems in Northern California (see Bay Nature, July-September 2003). On May 9, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Elkhorn Slough […]
When Spanish explorers first saw the San Francisco Bay in 1769, they found a land cloaked largely in perennial grasses. But the extirpation of the native elk herds that grazed the land, the introduction of cattle, and the incursion of European annual grasses abruptly and dramatically transformed the landscape into the familiar green hillside carpets that turn into brown thickets in summer. Today's grasslands, altered as they are, still produce some beautiful wildflowers, lots of wildlife, and if we look closely, remnants of the native bunchgrasses of yore, which can be enhanced with careful management. The parks of the East Bay hills are a good place to start looking for that mix of the grasslands of yesterday and today.
Botany | History
When two hikers complained to state park rangers recently about an area severely trampled by grazing cows, they drew on a strong current of suspicion that many people feel toward ranchers. And why not? Past ranching and range-management practices, even if undertaken with the latest research and the best intentions, have sometimes done significant damage […]
Farming and Ranching
It turns out that some of the Bay Area's showiest wildflowers are also parasites that draw water and nutrients from their neighbors.
Three summers ago, in late June, I took a hike at Purissima Redwoods on the Peninsula, a reserve managed by the Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD). While the redwoods there aren’t old growth, they are tall and deep enough to provide not only shade on a warm summer day, but also that sense of […]
Tucked into less than a square mile of land next to a freeway, the Peninsula's Edgewood Park is a showcase for stunning wildflower diversity, all the result of our region's unique geology.
All around the Bay Area in spring, herons and egrets begin their annual transformation from mostly solitary top predators to birds gathered in crowded breeding colonies. Local photographer Philip Greene has spent years following the whole subtle and spectacular process by which these large birds break down their resistance to social communion: the changing color of bills and legs, the growth of flowing nuptial plumage, and the complex gestures and dances that make up the fine art of getting to know one another.
In the January-March 2004 issue of Bay Nature, Ear to the Ground covered the deaths of hundreds of raptors each year at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Livermore. In response to the large numbers of bird kills in east Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sent an appeal […]