A bonanza of white sedge!
Flowering culms of white sedge (Carex albida) at Pitkin Marsh have increased by more than 723 percent thanks to intensive management by staff and volunteers. In 2009, white sedge — a state and federally listed endangered plant species — was teetering on the brink of extinction with the only known population of approximately 300 flowering culms occurring at Pitkin Marsh. The 27-acre property was purchased in 2007 by Sonoma Land Trust to preserve the wetlands and associated treasure trove of rare plants. Since that time, mowing and hand removal of non-native perennial grasses have increased the sedge count to nearly 2,500 flowering culms!
Forestry conference a wild success
Earlier this month, Sonoma Land Trust and several partner groups convened the three-day North Coast Forest Conservation Conference at beautiful SRJC Shone Farm in Forestville. More than 150 people gathered to discuss the importance of keeping our forests ecologically and economically viable. The conference was a thought-provoking blend of foresters, landowners, economists and conservation professionals, all interested in protecting the way of life and resources in the Redwood Empire. There were also educational site visits to the Jenner Headlands, Gualala River Watershed, Mill Creek Watershed, Berry's Mill and Pepperwood Preserve. Much appreciation to our partners in the Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group, the California Northern Region Land Trust Council and our sponsors for their assistance and participation in developing and delivering the conference. For a complete list of our partners and sponsors, or to learn more about the conference, please visit our Web site and note that we will soon be posting all of the conference presentations there.
Sonoma Land Trust Web site
Martinez clan is leaving the Jenner Headlands
Shortly after Sonoma Land Trust purchased the Jenner Headlands at the end of 2009, our esteemed partner The Wildlands Conservancy sent a wonderful young couple to live on the property and help us manage it. Since then, Kristin and Jason Martinez have become an integral and beloved part of the Land Trust family. The effervescent Kristin developed and led the public hikes program that has gotten nearly 2,000 people out on the property in the last two-and-a-half years. And steady and thoughtful Jason, the silent man behind the scenes, has served as Ranger, patrolling the property, performing essential on-the-ground work, and helping develop needed infrastructure. If you've visited the Headlands, you've probably met this personable couple. Last summer, little Bradley joined their family, and babies change everything! Please join us in wishing the Martinez family all the best as they take advantage of an unexpected job opportunity in Michigan that will allow them to be near their family. They have been instrumental in the success of the Jenner Headlands Project. Many thanks and best wishes, Kristin and Jason!
Click here to send them a message if you wish
Enjoy open days at Glen Oaks Ranch
A happy Sonoma Land Trust member recently wrote, "Glen Oaks was so perfect Friday morning — cool sea breeze blowing well up into the chaparral — the place has quite a spirit and is so remarkably different from Bouverie. Thanks for being so welcoming!" More members and their guests are welcome to take advantage of open days at Glen Oaks Ranch, one place we can offer you access without a guide and you can bring however many guests you wish. Open days are the second and fourth Fridays through October. This year, we also have some open Saturdays. Click the link below for a complete listing of days and times. Note that on Saturday, June 30, volunteer hosts Linda and Gary Felt will tell star stories after dark and magnify the nearly full moon for you. And we plan a musical bonus that night as well!
Click here for more information about open days at Glen Oaks Ranch
A field day for the sheep
Thanks to an innovative partnership with a neighbor, sheep now graze portions of Pitkin Marsh with the aim of reducing competitive plants to promote native species and the rare and endangered plants that grow on the property. Pitkin Marsh has a long history of grazing, which may have been beneficial to the persistence of the rare plants there. At present, the grassy upland areas are dominated by non-native perennial grasses that are also invading wetland areas that host rare native species. Thus, while grazing may have been complicit in allowing non-native plants to expand, it is now also the most realistic means of reducing the invasives and encouraging the natives to persist. Interactions between grazing and the rare species are not well understood so grazing is being carefully reintroduced and responses will be scrupulously monitored. Five fields totaling six acres have been chosen for the grazing treatment — and the sheep get to decide where the grass is greener!
Citizen science in action
This spring marks the fourth year of an ongoing grassland monitoring project at the Estero Americano Preserve, undertaken in partnership between Sonoma State University, the California Native Plant Society and Sonoma Land Trust. A crew of a dozen students and volunteers underwent a grass identification training led by Dr. Caroline Christian of SSU and botanist Peter Warner, then used quadrats (a square used to isolate a sample) to measure the percent cover of all native and exotic plant species at 29 permanent plots throughout the preserve. Participants went from seeing a "field of green" to using scientific names of plants, estimating cover classes, and recording information to data sheets. This remarkable intern-based educational program allows SLT to manage the Estero property based on scientific information within an adaptive management framework — a project that is economically feasible thanks to all the fantastic intern and volunteer participation!
Learn more about the project and view plant specimens from the preserve
Local photographer Roger Marlowe captured these feathered species of special concern at the Jenner Headlands recently.
Experience the Russian Gulch watershed at the Jenner Headlands while helping get rid of French broom on three volunteer workdays this summer: Saturdays, June 23, July 28, August 11. We'll take the first steps toward floodplain restoration in the watershed, home to the federally listed steelhead trout and foothill yellow-legged frog. This sensitive ecosystem has been invaded by French broom seedlings and we need your help to remove these stubborn invaders.
Register online or contact us
Congrats to Ed Tunheim!
Forester Ed Tunheim and wife Merry Marsh are all smiles after Ed wins the "Forest Land Ethic Award" for demonstrating extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspiring other landowners by example and helping the public understand the vital role private landowners can and do play in forest conservation success.
Forestry fact sheet
As you know, it's long been our plan to grow the trees on Jenner Headlands older and bigger. For more information on how we're going to do that, read the new Jenner Headlands Restoration Forestry Goals Fact Sheet.
Thanks to Palm Drive
Many thanks to Sebastopol's Palm Drive Hospital for providing our staff and volunteers with the use of their conference room for our recent first aid and CPR classes. Appreciation to our intrepid instructor Ralph Johnson and his helpful wife Marcia, too!
In the News
Executive director Ralph Benson was quoted in the May 30 article about Greenbelt Alliance's report that Sonoma County has more land at risk than other Bay Area counties — because with nearly one million acres, ours is the largest county of them all. "It reminds everybody what's at risk and what we need to do," said Ralph.
Read it here
Trailhead blogger Greg Retsinas joined us on a recent Jenner Headlands hike and wrote about it. He took some lovely photos of the day, too. His is a great blog to read regularly if you enjoy hiking!
Find it here
Conservation easement manager Georgiana Hale was interviewed for KRCB’s North Bay Report about conservation easements and how we monitor them for compliance.
Listen to it here
Land Trust Alliance
Their national publication People and Places features an article about how Bohemia Ranch came to be protected.
Read it here
Raptor guide honored
Our tireless raptor hike leader and ID specialist Larry Broderick has received Madrone Audubon's Betty Burridge Award for his "promotion of citizen science in the areas of raptors and the environment" and for establishing a West County Hawk Watch. Congratulations, Larry!
Sonoma Land Trust has just become a member of the Sonoma County GoLocal Cooperative. GoLocal works to strengthen our local economy and preserve the unique character of our community by helping you "choose Main Street over Wall Street!" When it comes to land, giving to your local land trust means that your dollars recirculate in our own community as we use them to purchase stewardship materials, hire local experts and protect our local landscapes. When you give locally, your donation truly offers greater value.