From our blogs

13th Annual Going Native Garden Tour • April 18 - 19, 2015, 10am - 4pm

The California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Valley Chapter) in association with UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County present the 13th Annual Going Native Garden Tour.

  • Saturday April 18, 2015, 10am - 4pm: Southern Gardens (Cupertino, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and south)
  • Sunday April 19, 2015, 10am - 4pm: Northern Gardens (Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and San Mateo County)
  • 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 thirteenth year.

Garden information, maps and directions will become available to registrants the week of April 7. Registrations will be accepted until Sun, Apr 19, 2015, 3:00 pm. For information, visit www.gngt.org or email info@gngt.org To sponsor or support the tour, contact info@GoingNativeGardenTour.org.

Vernal Pool Wildflower Tour • April 17 and 18, 2015

Sign up for a special tour at the Warm Springs Unit to see wildflower blooms in some of the last intact vernal pools in the East Bay. This unit of the Don Edwards Refuge is normally closed to the public.

Visitors will enjoy learning about the unique features of vernal pool grasslands and about the endangered species supported by this habitat.

  • Venue: Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont
  • Dates: April 17 and 18, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. on both days

Space is extremely limited and reservations are required. Register at http://DonEdwardsWarmSpring.eventbrite.com or call 510-792-0222 ext. 135 and ask for Scott. Directions will be emailed after registration.

Grebes, Cormorants and Terns, Oh My!

Talk by Carmen Minch at the Mountain View Public Library. Birds of SF Bay NWR.

Come learn about a few of the 227 species of birds you can find at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

About the Refuge

The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is truly an "wildlife island in an urban sea." Sprawled over 30,000 acres in 3 counties and nine cities, the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for migratory birds, endangered species, and other wildlife.

It is home to the endangered Ridgway's Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. Common birds sited on the refuge are egrets, red-tailed hawks, mallards, teals, and grebes. It is currently involved with the largest tidal wetland restoration west of the Mississippi River.

NOAA expands two national marine sanctuaries off the Bay Area coast

Map of expanded Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Credit: NOAA

Map of expanded Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Credit: NOAA

- via a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California will both more than double in size following a final rule released today by NOAA. The expansion will help to protect the region's marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, will expand from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will expand from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters.

"We are thrilled to announce the expansion of two of our sanctuaries in California," said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., acting assistant secretary of conservation and management and NOAA's deputy administrator. "It's important to conserve these special places that encourage partnerships in science, education, technology, management and community."

Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Opportunities: Spring 2015 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.

California Senators Introduce Bill to Help Restore San Francisco Bay

- via a press release from the Washington DC office of Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator.

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today introduced the San Francisco Bay Restoration Act, which seeks to implement wetlands and habitat restoration projects to improve the water quality in the San Francisco Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast.

The bill amends the Clean Water Act and authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award grant funding for activities and studies such as wetlands restoration projects and habitat improvement initiatives.

"By authorizing the necessary resources, this bill will help restore tidal wetlands and improve the quality of the Bay Area’s water," said Senator Feinstein. "The San Francisco Bay is so important to our state’s economy and ecology that restoration deserves renewed attention."

"San Francisco Bay is so important to the economy and the environment of the whole region," said Senator Boxer. "I am proud to work with Senator Feinstein on this plan to protect and restore the health of the Bay."

The legislation would require EPA to consult with local and state government, the San Francisco Bay Estuary Partnership and other stakeholders to develop an annual priority list for funding restoration projects, all of which will be consistent with the San Francisco Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Program, the long term plan for bay restoration.

Moving from a Cooperating Association to a Friends organization

The San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex and the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society (SFBWS) have a long-term partnership relationship dating back to 1987.

Beginning with a bookstore and financial support for projects like remodeling the Fremont pump house into a classroom, SFBWS over the decades continued to fund activities like summer camps and outfit environmental education programs with microscopes, binoculars, and publications at both the Environmental Education Center (EEC) and Fremont Headquarters. We spearheaded a fund raising campaign to build the EEC Boardwalk and worked with Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on many more projects, notably funding the Refuge Complex’s quarterly newsletter Tideline since its inception. Since 1992, SFBWS has managed employees that support the Watershed Watchers Program funded by the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program and the Living Wetlands Program funded by the City of San Jose.

Public comments requested on South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study Environmental Impact Report

The South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study would provide flood protection to Alviso and the San Jose water pollution control plant via 15-foot levees and gently sloping terrain, restore Bay wetlands on about 3,000 acres of former salt ponds, and create public trails. It is a partnership of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State Coastal Conservancy and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, with landowning partners the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of San José.

The draft document incorporates the draft plan for the project, as well as an environmental impact statement/report that looks at potential environmental impacts of the project.

The deadline to submit public comments on the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study draft feasibility study and environmental impact statement/report is 5 PM PST on February 23, 2015.

The draft document is available on www.valleywater.org.

Comments on the draft document are welcomed. They can be submitted by email or post.

By email to: ShorelineEnvironment@usace.army.mil

Or by mail to: Bill DeJager, USACE, 1455 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Substance spill threatens seabirds in San Francisco Bay

Photo by Cheryl Reynolds. Photo courtesy International Bird Rescue.

Bufflehead coated with pale goo at the International Bird Rescue center in Fairfield, CA. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds. Photo courtesy International Bird Rescue.

Dozens of seabirds were found covered in a pale goo late Friday January 16 on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay by East Bay Regional Park District staff. The birds were transported to the Fairfield office of International Bird Rescue, a non-profit that specializes in the rehabilitation of seabirds. At least 25 birds died of dehydration and hypothermia. The substance contaminating the birds and the circumstances in which it spilled into the bay waters is under investigation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

By late Monday night, over 240 birds had been picked up from the San Leandro Marina, Hayward Regional Shoreline, Crab Cove in Alameda and Bay Farm Island Shoreline Trail in Alameda. The affected species are common goldeneye, eared grebe, surf scoter and bufflehead. They are all migratory waterbirds that winter in the coastal waters of the San Francisco Bay. They are excellent swimmers and dive under the water to eat crustaceans and molluscs.

Seven Things You May Not Have Known About the Refuges in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly was the subject of poachers in the early 1990s. Photo by Susan Euing. Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lange’s Metalmark Butterfly was the subject of poachers in the early 1990s. Photo by Susan Euing. Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service.

  1. Three poachers were convicted in 1993 for poaching endangered insects including the Lange’s metalmark butterflies at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. The trio received a combination of monetary fines, hundreds of hours of community service, months of in-house imprisonment, and years of probation.
  2. Two films, the 1971 cult classic Harold and Maude and a 1999 independent film Dumbarton Bridge, was partially filmed on what is now the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Familiar scenes of salt ponds are used as backdrop for the films.

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