October 24, 2016

During winter, over 35,000 waterbirds, along with tens of thousands of shorebirds and gulls, pack the surface waters of Tomales Bay. This extraordinary phenomenon led, in 2002, to global recognition of Tomales Bay as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

For three decades ACR has tracked the abundances of nearly 60 species of loons, grebes, cormorants, ducks and other waterbirds in the bay. These studies have revealed patterns of winter population growth and decline that are complicated enough to seem mysterious.

A magnet for herring spawning

Beneath the surface, tens of millions of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) also enter the bay each winter, to spawn in the vast, subtidal meadows of eelgrass. These events precipitate spectacular waterbird feeding...

October 06, 2016

ACR has advanced its mountain lion research and education project with its first collaring of an adult female mountain lion on a Sonoma Land Trust property in the Sonoma Valley last night. After outfitting the lion with a GPS collar, recording measurements and collecting blood, tissue and other biological samples, the research team released the mountain lion at the capture site. 

Named P1 (Puma 1) for our scientific records, the mountain lion is estimated to be approximately 8-10 years old, as indicated by her dental condition. The capture, led  by ACR Wildlife Ecologist and Principal Investigator for the project Dr. Quinton Martins, was attended by ACR staff, veterinarians Dr. Winston Vickers and Dr. Sophia Papageorgiou, and Tony Nelson of the Sonoma Land Trust.

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September 26, 2016

Many supporters and volunteers of ACR have reached out to us over the weekend, concerned about how Modini Mayacamas Preserves and our staff may be affected by the Sawmill fire in northeast Sonoma County.

As of Monday morning, Modini Mayacamas Preserves is not in the path of this fire, winds continue to push it in other directions. We remain vigilant, as things can always change.

Kudos to the Press Democrat for highlighting an important point in their most recent article.

Here’s the gist of what the firefighters on the ground were telling them: In high temperatures, steep terrain and drought-stressed vegetation, it is burn scars from recent fires that can stop...

September 08, 2016

Our Summer Superhero (a.k.a. summer intern) Jared Abramson heads back to school next week after crushing a mountain of projects we had in store for him!

Jared took on everything from teaching our Junipers about Stuart Creek, assisting with our new Twilight hiking program, managing Bouverie’s crayfish trapping project, working on trail maintenance, camera work, and office tasks to the mapping and removal of cape ivy at Martin Griffin Preserve and mapping and removal perennial pepperweed near Tomales Bay with our stewardship team.

As a final major assist, Jared accomplished the amazing feat of entering ALL of the accumulated data for the Bouverie Newt Count and our NestWatch Program. We will miss him as he returns for his sophomore year at U.C. Santa Barbara where he is...

August 12, 2016

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is renovating M.F.K. Fisher’s “Last House” on the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen into an exclusive destination honoring her legacy and celebrating her love of food, wine, literature and nature. Mary Frances, as she was known by her family and friends, wrote 13 books during 21 years of residence in Last House, which was built for her by architect David Pleydell-Bouverie.

She treasured her palazzino, which features a simple design and connection to the land. Its two large rooms are divided by a huge bathroom, with black tile floors throughout and built-in bookcases for over 2,000 books. One arched porch looks west to Sonoma Mountain and another looks east to the 535 acres of land protected by ACR.

Described by W. H. Auden as “America...

August 05, 2016

Mix equal parts heron & egret researcher with outdoor adventurers and you start to get a picture of Scott Jennings, one of ACR's key researchers based out of our Cypress Grove Research Center on Tomales Bay. Recently Claire Peaslee from the Point Reyes Light accompanied Scott on his rounds checking nesting sites near Bolinas. Read the full article >

July 20, 2016

ACR's Conservation Science staff was pleased to host Dr. Lee M. Panich, Santa Clara University, and Dr. Tsim D. Schneider, UC Santa Cruz, along with several undergrad and graduate students performing fieldwork in July. In cooperation with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Drs. Schneider and Panich are co-directing this archaeological project in Marin County examining social resiliency and change among mission-era (AD 1776-1830s) and post-mission Native American communities. The team's summer acheology fieldwork is focused on Toms Point, an ACR preserve. This is the second season of fieldwork for Tsim and Lee, this year working from July 5 - 24th.

During the time when Spanish missions operated in the San Francisco Bay area, research shows that California Indians found...

July 14, 2016

Inspired by the preponderance of highly competent female conservation scientist and educators on the ACR staff and the philanthropic support of Impact 100 Sonoma, a wholly women-founded and administered philanthropic organization, ACR’s education team designed and piloted a conservation science summer camp for young women in June 2016. ACR’s goal was to provide land-based conservation and stewardship training and theory to a diverse group of young women who express strong interest in science based environmental stewardship.

Led by ACR’s female conservation, stewardship, and education staff and based at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, CSI 2016 included a day trip to ACR’s 3,000 acre Modini Mayacamas Preserves near Healdsburg, and an overnight trip that included a visit to...

June 22, 2016

In the recently published five year review of the Forest Management Guide by the Ontario, Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, ACR science was used as the “subject expert” on subject of nesting herons. The Ministry solicited management recommendations from ACR's conservation science staff, then incorporated several recommendations for conserving biodiversity at the stand and site scales, including:

  • Use the most recent nest record data to refine (if necessary) the critical breeding period to reflect changes in nesting behavior as a result of climate change. Ensure that the defined period adequately reflects annual variation.
  • Reassess whether the coarse filter direction for aquatic features maintains key foraging habitats for herons.
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June 20, 2016

Bouverie Preserve stewardship staff recently partnered with a CalFire crew from ‪Glen Ellen‬ to implement a series of planned 1 meter-square controlled burns in its grasslands and oak woodlands to determine the best control methods for rosy sandcrocus (Romulea rosea). The first set of spring burns was completed in June. Additional test burns will be conducted this fall.

Rosy sandcrocus is an invasive forb with great potential for severe degradation of California open spaces and rangelands. Almost no information is available regarding management of this species in California, though many landowners in the Sonoma County region report its recent colonization.

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