April 12, 2022
Marsh near Toms Point with spartina

Since 2001, Audubon Canyon Ranch has collaborated with the Invasive Spartina Project to monitor and remove the non-native, invasive cordgrass, Spartina densiflora, from Tomales Bay.

A lesser-known invasive Spartina that impacts San Francisco Bay and the nearby coast, S. densiflora, grows in expanding clumps that threaten wetlands by eliminating open areas used for foraging, particularly by birds. These dense clusters of cordgrass can alter marsh elevation, especially along the edges of channels and sloughs, by slowing water flow and trapping sediments.

Toms Point, an early Spartina hotspot

ACR’s Toms Point preserve, at the north end of Tomales Bay, was one of the first Spartina hotspots identified along the outer coast. Tomales Bay is an important wintering...

March 23, 2022
Eric and Bob changing batteries on a wildlife camera

This blog is part of our Choose Nature series, where we offer behind-the-scenes content that explores a central question in conservation: why did “choosing nature” feel like the fulfilling and right thing to do? All footage and interviews were conducted by Kate Remsen.

At Audubon Canyon Ranch, we are grateful to Bob and Eric for their dedication to the land and community.

Meet Bob Hasenick: Retired engineer turned super volunteer

“Let me make sure I’m not sliding down the hill,” Bob Hasenick says as Kate Remsen adjusts the camera. After some shuffling, he...

March 09, 2022
Map of P24 and P25 during a one-month period in 2021

In early 2021, Living with Lions principal investigator Dr. Quinton Martins collared four male mountain lions (P24, P25, P30 and P31) in western and northern Sonoma County near Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Cazadero and Geyserville after each was implicated in the killing of a sheep or goat. In each case the landowner invited Martins to conduct the capture to aid in a better understanding of mountain lion behavior and ecology in our area. For more details, review this article about the benefits of collaring mountain lions responsible for killing livestock. 

Since then we’ve been following the lions, and collecting data, to in part, provide a more informed view...

February 17, 2022

This blog is part of our Choose Nature series, where we offer behind-the-scenes content that explores a central question in conservation: why did “choosing nature” feel like the fulfilling and right thing to do? All footage and interviews were conducted by Kate Remsen.

Thank you, Thea, for your dedication to the land and community.

 

Meet Thea Maria Carlson: Earth steward and intentional community member

Farmer. Facilitator....

February 09, 2022
Soft orange light at sunset reflects on water and cypress trees, as well as a red barn, on the shoreline of Tomales Bay.

“Living shorelines connect the land and water to stabilize shorelines, reduce erosion, and provide valuable habitat that enhances coastal resilience.” –NOAA Restoration Center

Living shoreline projects are nature-based approaches that provide shoreline protection services (e.g., long-term mitigation of shoreline erosion) while at the same time enhancing and protecting existing habitats and providing co-benefits such as sequestering carbon (e.g., blue carbon in eelgrass meadows) and promoting native oyster restoration.

What is a living shoreline project?

Unlike a concrete seawall or other hard structure, which impede the growth of plants and animals, living shorelines grow over time.

They are an innovative and cost-effective...

February 04, 2022
Fred Bassett with a drip torch executing a prescribed burn

Winter is an important time to assess, prepare, and lead prescribed fires, for members of ACR's Fire Forward team and the Good Fire Alliance. This late January, Fred Bassett and Catherine Conner reached out to us to train their Sebastopol neighborhood on essential principles of safe, prescribed burns that occur in winter. A video towards the end of this article includes footage from this recent winter burn. 

Why winter burns?

Winter offers an opportunity to help our neighbors learn how to manage fuels, and use good fire under low-risk conditions. Weather and soil tend to be more wet in winter, especially for Sonoma and Marin County, where members of Fire Forward and Good Fire Alliance act most often.

Typically, long, damp nights and green meadows are two factors...

January 26, 2022

Director of Conservation Science Nils Warnock and Avian Ecologists David Lumpkin and Scott Jennings have been shorebird trapping at Walker Creek Delta on Tomales Bay since November. So far, they have deployed 16 tracking tags on Dunlin, an Arctic breeding shorebird that migrates to and from Tomales Bay throughout their lifespan.

Since November, ACR scientists have been “listening in” to pings from these tags that are automatically recorded by our Toms Point and Cypress Grove Motus receiving towers. In the photo above by David Lumpkin, a CTT Hybrid Tag is attached by harness to a Dunlin. The hybrid tags combine battery and solar power for a lightweight tag, with the potential to last a year or more.

David also recently met near Colusa in the Central Valley with ACR...

January 26, 2022
Zoom screenshot of a 3x4 grid showing faces of conservation scientists and students

Mark your calendars for an incredible opportunity for young women who are interested in conservation science. Applications are open for our CSI program! Audubon Canyon Ranch's Conservation Science Intensive (CSI) brings together selected participants for a five-day virtual conservation experience.

Our CSI program centers on the feminine, which includes those who are socialized as, or identify with, the terms girl/young women, as well as those who transcend our inherited gender binaries. We are committed to creating safe, inclusive, and accessible spaces for all participants.

We encourage all applicants to learn more by reading this post, sharing with anyone...

January 12, 2022

Seven months of research may suggest how diet reflects seasonally-available food

True Wild, ACR’s research partner for the Living with Lions program, has connected with the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS) and since last May, employed graduate student Jake Harvey to find and record mountain lion prey cache sites. Cache sites are what researchers call “kill clusters” and refer to areas where lions drag or relocate their food. To locate the sites, we look for a grouping of GPS pings from collared lions and then head into the field—or more often, the poison oak covered hillsides—to investigate.

The preliminary data collected so far points to an interesting pattern of prey tied...

January 12, 2022

ACR releases new research about egret foraging behavior in Tomales Bay

ACR researchers recently published results on December 31, 2021, from our study of GPS-tagged Great Egrets foraging on Tomales Bay. “Great egret (Ardea alba) habitat selection and foraging behavior in a temperate estuary: comparing natural wetlands to areas with shellfish aquaculture,” co-authored by Scott Jennings, David Lumpkin, Nils Warnock, T. Emiko Condeso, and John P. Kelly, appears in “PLOS One.”

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