August 29, 2018


Shorebirds are returning to the Bay Area for the winter, having spent the spring and summer nesting season as far north as the Arctic. Here Least Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope forage in the wetland habitat at ACR’s Toms Point Preserve. Tomales Bay is designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Every...
August 17, 2018

Support Living with Lions, a community conservation project studying mountain lion populations in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties. Donate now >

August 07, 2018

We are very pleased to announce the hiring of Jared Childress as ACR’s prescribed fire specialist, effective August 13, 2018. As a member of ACR’s science and stewardship staff, Jared will identify and assess units for prescribed fire or other vegetation management treatments on ACR lands and on the lands of our partner agencies and land owners/managers. He will work with our current staff to write burn plans, and interface with fire agencies, the air quality management districts, and our neighbors and community members.

Director of Stewardship Jeanne Wirka expresses our collective delight at filling this much-needed staff position, “Jared is joining ACR at a super-exciting time. The ACR stewardship staff at all of our preserves are looking forward to working with him to...

July 30, 2018

The Living with Lions team is sad to announce that P6, a sub-adult mountain lion collared as part of our study was killed in Kenwood by a landowner who requested a depredation permit from California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The depredation or “take” permit was issued by CDFW after the lion killed one of a handful of goats kept on the vineyard property. This marks the second lion in nine months to be removed from the ecosystem by request from a landowner for destroying livestock.

P6, born on March 27, 2017, became an local celeb as one of three kittens born to her mom, P1, the project’s first research subject. The ten-day-old triplets, incredibly well hidden in Pampas grass less than a hundred yards from a home in Glen Ellen, provided our community with a heart-warming...

June 11, 2018

As any field researcher knows, failed attempts are just part of the work flow for most projects! We try, we fail, we adjust methods, we try again. After a spring season of several near misses—and a couple of face-plants in the salt marsh muck—trying to capture additional Great Egrets for our GPS study, we are very excited to report to you that our team recently has captured two adults, both with breeding plumage, at Toms Point, Tomales Bay. The captures and tagging went very smoothly. After release, the birds took off and flew out of view toward the Walker Creek delta, their lightweight solar GPS backpacks collecting a range of movement and behavioral data.

June 04, 2018

Our guest naturalist, Len Blumin, posts about a recent expedition to find and photograph dragonflies along Pine Flat Road, Healdsburg.

I recently heard about the Black Petaltail, an unusual dragonfly found by [fellow naturalist] Alan Wight in a restoration area along upper Pine Flat Road, above ACR's Modini Mayacamas Preserves. The species has a wide range in the Pacific Northwest, as far south as Sonoma, but is nowhere common. A cool weather forecast convinced me to give it a try.

Driving up Pine Flat I was distracted by the plethora of wildflowers in bloom. Along the roadside I slowed to talk to a couple that was peering into a wet roadside gully. They asked if I was interested dragonflies. I was! The pair was none other than Kathy and Dave Biggs—well-known teachers and...

May 14, 2018

Since late February, Living with Lions team has captured six lions spanning the southern Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain area. Two of these lions were study subjects recaptured to replace failing GPS collar batteries and check overall health. Four others are new lions in our study and their movements are already giving us a better understanding of the lion landscape.

P6, who is the surviving offspring from P1's 2017 litter of three, was captured weeks prior to her dispersal from mom. Since leaving 'home,' P6, now 13 months old, has proven to be a good hunter as indicated by the remains of a couple of large does cached at one of her feeding sites.

P8 and P9, daughter and mom, were spotted by quick thinking Taylor Mountain Regional Park personnel. Working together, our team...

May 11, 2018

Every May for the past eight years, school children at Lincoln Elementary School have traded their pencils for birding scopes in their quest to get a close-up view of a large heron and egret heronry located on West Ninth Street in Santa Rosa. As fourth grader Pablo Flores said, "I like seeing the birds because they’re part of nature and nature is beautiful.”

Press Democrat reporter Hannah Beausang dropped by to capture the fun > 

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April 30, 2018

ACR’s Living with Lions project has formed a new partnership with Dr. Justin Brashares and the Brashares Lab of UC Berkeley.

“Collaborating with one of the top research groups and universities in conservation science will allow us to enrich our unique skill sets,” said John Petersen, ACR’s executive director.

The joint operation expands the study area of ACR’s Living with Lions from 1,000 square miles of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma and Napa Counties to expand into Mendocino County and include the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, site of the Lab’s deer behavior and collaring program. “We’re excited about opportunities to broaden our knowledge of the regional lion population, research effective mitigating measures to protect livestock against predators, as...

April 15, 2018

In California, mountain lions are at the top of the food chain and play critical roles in the maintenance and functioning of their ecosystems. In our region, mountain lions’ preferred prey are deer. Disruptions in the population of this key predator can affect deer behavior and populations, causing a number of impacts in the system.

Yet mountain lions themselves live a fragile existence as more of us choose to live and play in wild places. Although human and lion confrontations have been infinitely small, protecting pets and livestock from being attacked remains a challenge. Although livestock form a small percentage of their diet, lions are opportunists when it comes to attacking unsecured pets or stock.

Such conflict may result in a depredation permit issued to have the...

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