From our blogs

14th Annual Going Native Garden Tour • April 9 - 10, 2016, 10am - 4pm

The California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Valley Chapter) in association with UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County present the 14th Annual Going Native Garden Tour.

  • Saturday April 9, 2016, 10am - 4pm: Northern Gardens (Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and San Mateo County)
  • Sunday April 10, 2016, 10am - 4pm: Southern Gardens (Cupertino, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and south)
  • Free admission
  • Plant sales and talks at select gardens
  • Register at www.gngt.org

Bay Area homeowners are making their gardens aesthetically pleasing, attractive to birds and butterflies, water-wise, and low maintenance by incorporating California native plants. Visit gardens landscaped with native plants on this free annual tour, now in its fourteenth year.

Garden information, maps and directions will become available to registrants the week of April 3. Registrations will be accepted until Sun, Apr 10, 2016, 3:00 pm. For information, visit www.gngt.org or email info@gngt.org To sponsor or support the tour, contact info@GoingNativeGardenTour.org.

Twilight Marsh Walk Celebrates 20-Year Anniversary

One of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge’s most popular programs celebrates twenty years this April. Volunteers Mary and Gene Bobik, the creators of the program back in 1996, never thought they would still be doing the walk two decades later.

Volunteers Mary and Gene Bobik conduct a Twilight Marsh Walk at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy Gene Bobik.

Volunteers Mary and Gene Bobik conduct a Twilight Marsh Walk at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy Gene Bobik.

Welcoming you to our Board of Directors

by Ceal Craig

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society has an open Board of Director position at this time and would welcome volunteers with an accounting, fund development, or legal background to apply.

SFBWS Board of Directors in December 2015. (From left to right): Dr. Chris Kitting, Cheryl Davis, Terry Smith, Varon Smith, Ceal Craig, John Bradley (FWS), Sue TenEyck. (Missing: Karen Natoli-Maxwell, Debra King.)

SFBWS Board of Directors in December 2015. (From left to right): Dr. Chris Kitting, Cheryl Davis, Terry Smith, Varon Smith, Ceal Craig, John Bradley (FWS), Sue TenEyck. (Missing: Karen Natoli-Maxwell, Debra King.)

We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) cooperating association, authorized by Congress to support the education, interpretation, and research activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Vernal Pool Tours at Warm Springs Unit on Don Edwards SF Bay NWR

Sign up to receive notification of when Vernal Pool Tours are available. These popular tours to view wildflowers and endangered plants occur in an area normally closed to the public due to the sensitivity of the habitat. Tours are free of charge.

You will learn about the unique features of a vernal pool grassland, and hopefully observe the pools in what will likely be a good rain year! Participants will see endangered Contra Costa goldfields (Lasthenia conjugens), Downingia pulchella, several Plagiobothrys, and other native vernal pool and upland species.

Volunteer at our Nature Stores and help us save Tideline magazine

by Ceal Craig

The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society Nature Stores opened in June at both the Environmental Education Center and the Fremont Visitor Center intermittently.

In order to keep the Nature Stores open on a regular basis, we need volunteers to supplement San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society staff to operate the Nature Stores at either location on weekends or during the week.

You can help your refuge by volunteering to staff a pop-up Nature Store for special events and at the help desks at both locations.

California Condors Achieve a Happy New Milestone

by Emily Silber, National Audubon Society

Female California Condor with her newly hatched chick. Photo courtesy Joseph Brandt / U.S. FWS

Female California Condor with her newly hatched chick. Photo courtesy Joseph Brandt / U.S. FWS.

After more than 35 years of flirting with extinction, the California Condor is finally due for a success story. This week the California Condor Recovery Program announced that 2015 was the first year in decades in which the number of chicks hatched and raised in the wild outweighed the number of wild condor deaths—14 births to 12 deaths: a sign that these pink-faced beauties are on a steady track to recovery.

Condors may be the largest birds in North America, but they were, and still are, scarce. The bird was among the first animals to be protected by the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s—thanks to pressure from Audubon members. But habitat loss, hunting, DDT contamination, and, above all, lead poisoning continued to plague the condor, and ultimately, the species was reduced to a mere 23 individuals by the 1980s.

That’s when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their partners decided they had to step in.

How Restoring Wetlands Will Prepare Us for Sea Level Rise

by Robin Meadows, Bay Area Monitor

Last October, an excavator breached an old levee at Sears Point to initiate restoration of farmland back to tidal marsh. Photo courtesy Sonoma Land Trust/Corby Hines.

Last October, an excavator breached an old levee at Sears Point to initiate restoration of farmland back to tidal marsh. Photo courtesy Sonoma Land Trust/Corby Hines.

After California’s worst drought in 500 years, we’re finally enjoying a rainy winter thanks to one of the strongest El Niños on record. Droughts interspersed with drenchings are nothing new for us — these extremes are part of our normal weather cycle — and periodic wet years are nothing we can’t handle. But that’s about to change. In coming decades, sea level rise will amplify the storm surges and ultra-high “king” tides that send waves crashing over levees.

Making matters worse, sea level rise will also weaken the Bay Area’s resilience to floods. Tidal marshes edging the bay take the oomph out of waves and soak up water like sponges. However, according to a 2015 State Coastal Conservancy-led report, we stand to lose most of this natural flood protection to rising seas. The cost of an extreme storm to the Bay Area is estimated at $10 billion.

Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2016

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2016 at the Environmental Education Center (Alviso, California).

If you have an interest in wildlife and their conservation, enjoy working with people, and are enthusiastic and dependable, the Environmental Education Center’s Volunteer Program is for you! As a volunteer, you’ll receive on-the- job training from staff and other volunteers in the project area you choose. Project areas are: restoration projects, information desk on weekends, interpretive programs, school field trips, and citizen science/community service.

Prior to volunteering at the Environmental Education Center, you must attend a Volunteer Orientation. You can also attend the orientation just to see what opportunities there are, and if it is the right fit for you.

Migratory Bird Treaty Celebrates 100 Years 1916-2016

This year we mark the centennial of the Convention between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds - also called the Migratory Bird Treaty - that was signed on Aug. 16, 1916. This  Migratory Bird Treaty (446.6KB), and three others that followed, form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve birds that migrate across international borders.

The treaty connects the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with our federal, state, private, non-government, tribal, and international partners who share a long, successful history of conserving, protecting, and managing migratory bird populations and their habitats. Celebrating the centennial of the first treaty allows us to bring together those who have contributed to its success, and to galvanize efforts to protect migratory birds for generations to come.

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