May 26, 2022

Audubon Canyon Ranch has been awarded a $2 million grant from CAL FIRE. The largest share of the funding will be directed to its Fire Forward program, a prescribed fire training program that focuses on building capacity for prescribed burning across the San Francisco Bay Area. A prescribed burn, also called a controlled burn, is the intentional application of fire to vegetation for the purpose of land and resource stewardship.

Local solutions to overcome California’s prescribed fire workforce deficit

The four-year grant will launch a workforce development program, the Fire Forward Intensive, which will train five new full-time prescribed burn leaders each year. Participants will complete a range of formal wildland fire training courses and informal...

May 03, 2022
A GPS tagged Great Egret roosting between foraging trips. The antenna for the GPS tag is visible on the bird’s back, and the uniquely-numbered leg band is also visible.

New collaborative research shows how Great Egrets adjust daily flight patterns to feed their growing families.

By David Lumpkin and Scott Jennings, Avian Ecologists

Conservation science works best when practiced as a team sport. When we share ideas, data, methods, and information, we can learn so much more about the natural systems we’re trying to protect, compared to if we work in isolation. A new paper published in the scientific journal Waterbirds is the most recent example of how scientists at ACR’s Cypress Grove Research Center collaborate with researchers from across the country—and for the benefit of stronger, more impactful research.

The complete article is “Seasonal...

April 19, 2022

P37 Update: Day and Night Footage from Audubon Canyon Ranch on Vimeo.

In early March, mountain lion P37 joined the rank of tracked animals that scientists are studying as part of Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Living with Lions program. P37, is a young dispersal male mountain lion. Tracking these young cats provides valuable data on whether there is connectivity in the landscape for wildlife.

Dispersal movement occur when mountain lions...

April 12, 2022
Marsh near Toms Point with spartina

Since 2001, Audubon Canyon Ranch has collaborated with the Invasive Spartina Project to monitor and remove the non-native, invasive cordgrass, Spartina densiflora, from Tomales Bay.

A lesser-known invasive Spartina that impacts San Francisco Bay and the nearby coast, S. densiflora, grows in expanding clumps that threaten wetlands by eliminating open areas used for foraging, particularly by birds. These dense clusters of cordgrass can alter marsh elevation, especially along the edges of channels and sloughs, by slowing water flow and trapping sediments.

Toms Point, an early Spartina hotspot

ACR’s Toms Point preserve, at the north end of Tomales Bay, was one of the first Spartina hotspots identified along the outer coast. Tomales Bay is an important wintering...

March 23, 2022
Eric and Bob changing batteries on a wildlife camera

This blog is part of our Choose Nature series, where we offer behind-the-scenes content that explores a central question in conservation: why did “choosing nature” feel like the fulfilling and right thing to do? All footage and interviews were conducted by Kate Remsen.

At Audubon Canyon Ranch, we are grateful to Bob and Eric for their dedication to the land and community.

Meet Bob Hasenick: Retired engineer turned super volunteer

“Let me make sure I’m not sliding down the hill,” Bob Hasenick says as Kate Remsen adjusts the camera. After some shuffling, he...

March 09, 2022
Map of P24 and P25 during a one-month period in 2021

In early 2021, Living with Lions principal investigator Dr. Quinton Martins collared four male mountain lions (P24, P25, P30 and P31) in western and northern Sonoma County near Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Cazadero and Geyserville after each was implicated in the killing of a sheep or goat. In each case the landowner invited Martins to conduct the capture to aid in a better understanding of mountain lion behavior and ecology in our area. For more details, review this article about the benefits of collaring mountain lions responsible for killing livestock. 

Since then we’ve been following the lions, and collecting data, to in part, provide a more informed view...

February 17, 2022

This blog is part of our Choose Nature series, where we offer behind-the-scenes content that explores a central question in conservation: why did “choosing nature” feel like the fulfilling and right thing to do? All footage and interviews were conducted by Kate Remsen.

Thank you, Thea, for your dedication to the land and community.

 

Meet Thea Maria Carlson: Earth steward and intentional community member

Farmer. Facilitator....

February 09, 2022
Soft orange light at sunset reflects on water and cypress trees, as well as a red barn, on the shoreline of Tomales Bay.

“Living shorelines connect the land and water to stabilize shorelines, reduce erosion, and provide valuable habitat that enhances coastal resilience.” –NOAA Restoration Center

Living shoreline projects are nature-based approaches that provide shoreline protection services (e.g., long-term mitigation of shoreline erosion) while at the same time enhancing and protecting existing habitats and providing co-benefits such as sequestering carbon (e.g., blue carbon in eelgrass meadows) and promoting native oyster restoration.

What is a living shoreline project?

Unlike a concrete seawall or other hard structure, which impede the growth of plants and animals, living shorelines grow over time.

They are an innovative and cost-effective...

February 04, 2022
Fred Bassett with a drip torch executing a prescribed burn

Winter is an important time to assess, prepare, and lead prescribed fires, for members of ACR's Fire Forward team and the Good Fire Alliance. This late January, Fred Bassett and Catherine Conner reached out to us to train their Sebastopol neighborhood on essential principles of safe, prescribed burns that occur in winter. A video towards the end of this article includes footage from this recent winter burn. 

Why winter burns?

Winter offers an opportunity to help our neighbors learn how to manage fuels, and use good fire under low-risk conditions. Weather and soil tend to be more wet in winter, especially for Sonoma and Marin County, where members of Fire Forward and Good Fire Alliance act most often.

Typically, long, damp nights and green meadows are two factors...

January 26, 2022

Director of Conservation Science Nils Warnock and Avian Ecologists David Lumpkin and Scott Jennings have been shorebird trapping at Walker Creek Delta on Tomales Bay since November. So far, they have deployed 16 tracking tags on Dunlin, an Arctic breeding shorebird that migrates to and from Tomales Bay throughout their lifespan.

Since November, ACR scientists have been “listening in” to pings from these tags that are automatically recorded by our Toms Point and Cypress Grove Motus receiving towers. In the photo above by David Lumpkin, a CTT Hybrid Tag is attached by harness to a Dunlin. The hybrid tags combine battery and solar power for a lightweight tag, with the potential to last a year or more.

David also recently met near Colusa in the Central Valley with ACR...

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