June 20, 2019

ACR’s Fire Forward program on Saturday conducted a 27-acre controlled burn of annual grassland and oak savannah at Bouverie Preserve near Glen Ellen. Ecological objectives for this event were timed to reduce non-native and invasive plants, promote native bunchgrasses and native wildflowers and to offer a ‘live fire’...

May 17, 2019

From the latest edition of Marine Ornithology: In the Bay Area, the Double-crested Cormorant population has recovered from significant declines to reach population sizes comparable to those from the late 19th century, when only one colony offshore at the Farallon Islands was known. We were especially elated to observe that on the colony at Hog Island on Tomales Bay, formed in 2001, has become the largest in the study area since 2011.

ACR was pleased to co-author this report on the changes in abundance and distribution of nesting Double-crested Cormorants in the SF Bay Area from 1975-2017. The report was spurred by severe nesting disruptions observed during the construction of the new Bay Bridge. Download the full report from...

May 13, 2019

Listen to the recent interview on VoiceAmerica's Our Wild World program as host Eli Wiess interviews Dr. Quinton Martins about his deep commitment to conservation and how iconic species can ignite the interest of local communities. Dr. Martins leads ACR's Living with Lions.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/115007/living-with-lions-with-dr-quinton-martins

May 10, 2019

Over the past three decades, a great deal of research has been gathered on snags and their role in forest and wetland ecosystems. Snags, better known as dead trees or logs, play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity in a number of habitats including oak woodlands, pine forests and riparian zones. In California alone, snags are home to over 160 different species, which is why government land managers have designated them as “special habitat elements.”

Forest ecologist Jerry Franklin states, “A dead tree is more alive than a live tree.” Dead trees are a vital part of nutrient cycling within forests. Logs, in particular, contribute to the nutrient reserves and chemical and physical characteristics of forest soils or waterways.

According to Sally Duncan of the U.S....

April 18, 2019

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. -Chinese proverb

Audubon Canyon Ranch is proud to join its five partners in the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative (SVWC) as recipients of a one million dollar grant from CAL FIRE. Together, this group of public agencies and private landowners manages property totaling over 18,000 acres in the Sonoma Valley. Funding will support partner efforts on fuels reduction and vegetation management, including the use of prescribed fire, to enhance ecological health, reduce the risk of wildfire, and protect our communities.

ACR will be a major contributor to this effort due to the strength of our Fire Forward program. Recent financial support from the Farley Family Charitable Foundation and the...

April 09, 2019

In the natural world, once you start to see a thing, you cannot stop seeing it. I first realized this fact as a child, while learning to forage for chanterelles in the East Bay hills. At the time, I called it “mushroom eye,” referring to how anything bright orange in the woods would immediately snap my attention to it, even while traveling at 35 mph on country roads.

“Mushroom eye” is a positive attribute. Unfortunately, the same visual attribute can apply to invasive species, such as the ever-present yellow blooms of French broom or aggressive seedlings of Douglas fir. While zigzagging down country roads, I find my thoughts constantly distracted by invasive species.

At this point, you might be thinking Douglas fir trees are native, not invasive. True, they are native,...

March 26, 2019

We were not 20 minutes in to this year's Great Egret tagging season when the team welcomed Egret 11, a splendid member of the ardeid family and a top predator who enjoys foraging near ACR's research center on the edge of Tomales Bay.

We will now follow GREG 11 via a small solar-powered GPS backpack. GREG 11 joins ten other birds we have tracked as far south as Mexico as part of the first study of its kind in the Western U.S. Some of the birds who traveled to the Central Valley during the winter have returned to the West Marin area. Great Egrets are at the very beginning of the nesting season right now, and are just starting to prospect nesting sites within Bay Area colonies and begin nest construction.

Follow this project as, together, we learn about how these iconic...

March 18, 2019

Audubon Canyon Ranch has joined with other conservation organizations and public land managers to form the Sonoma Valley Fire and Vegetation Management Collaborative. Here's an overview of The Collaborative and the work we will undertake.

Who are we? We manage 18,000 acres of protected Sonoma Valley lands.

We are a group of six conservation organizations and land management agencies that began working together in the wake of the devastating Nuns Fire of October 2017. Collaborative members have agreed to coordinate fire and vegetation management with each other and with CAL FIRE’s Sonoma Lake Napa Unit (LNU) in the Sonoma Valley region.

Members of the Collaborative are Audubon Canyon Ranch, California State Parks, Sonoma County Ag + Open Space,...

March 12, 2019

Our Living with Lions team this week shared the exciting news that two mountain lion kittens were born at Trione-Annadel State Park in early February to a female mountain lion being tracked by ACR’s research study.

This marks the first litter delivered by a 3.5-year-old mama cat (named P11 for the study), who in September was captured and fitted with a GPS-tracking collar just outside the park’s boundary.

“This news underscores the critical importance of Trione-Annadel State Park’s habitat for local wildlife populations. In managing our State Parks, we strive every day to balance preservation of natural resources with recreational access,” said Cyndy Shafer, Natural Resource Program Manager for the Bay Area District.

In general, mountain lion kittens have a 50%...

February 12, 2019

We greatly regret to report that mountain lion P15 (called Jupiter) was shot February 9, 2019, four days after he was collared as part of Living with Lions, a CDFW-permitted study trying to understand the movement and behavior of these top carnivores of the North Bay region.

P15 was a 13-month-old male lion recently dispersed from his mom, who is most likely P4, a female big cat also being tracked by the study. On February 4, the uncollared cat attacked an unsecured goat in the Mt. Veeder area of Napa County. After connecting with CDFW, law enforcement and wildlife rescue organizations, the landowner contacted ACR to have the cat collared for research instead of killed under a depredation permit.

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