July 23, 2019

(Note: use the play/pause button as need to read longer passages)

With a keen eye toward climate change and potential impacts on preserve ecology and infrastructure, ACR contracted with Laurel Collins of Watershed Services and Jason Pearson of Lotic Environmental Services to conduct a preliminary geomorphic assessment of the four watersheds in the Martin Griffin Preserve (MGP).  Project objectives included:

  • Provide a watershed level understanding of the current and long-term processes that affect flow, sediment sources, and sedimentation in the lower alluvial fans adjacent to...
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’ cooperative...

May 17, 2019

Report spurred by nesting disruptions shows Cormorant recovery

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....

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.

Fire Forward: A major contributor

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

March 26, 2019

Welcome, Egret 11

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.

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.

January 15, 2019

Dr. Quinton Martins and the Living with Lions team expanded the scope of our project last week with the capture and GPS-collaring of mountain lion P14 in the West County area of Sonoma County.

His capture and collaring was preceded by his predation of 2 adult llamas owned by ranch owners Paul Matthews and Maria Cardemone. Rather than seeking a depredation permit against this lion, Paul and Maria called us and agreed to allow us, as per our recent California Department of Fish and Wildlife permits, to collar this animal and learn more about its behavior.

Expressing the complex turn of events, Maria and Paul said, "So sad for us and our llamas and so exciting to be part of the ongoing exploration of the big cats and how they move thru our landscape. Always, we are on the...

December 19, 2018

Greetings from the field,

On December 13 we captured young adult male, P13, in the southern Sonoma Mountain area, west of El Verano. P13 was the first male lion to go into the smaller version of my walk-through traps. This is the standard Tru-Catch height and width that P5 kept going around, but that we had caught females in. My other traps are 4” higher and wider and have worked for males and females. Will be interesting to watch this young male, who is living within the territorial range of P5. Will he remain under the radar, avoiding conflict, will he try to leave the range, or will he confront P5 in coming months?

Updates about several of the collared lions and their offspring:

P12, the young female is...