Wednesday, November 19, 2014


When we first got to Point Reyes We gathered to listen to a Ranger Wild life biologist Dave. He was very supportive of the research and restoration that was happening at point Reyes and he was a key part in making it all happen. The ranger began our discussion by talking about the Elk and about how he became wildlife biologist. He also talked briefly about Elk exposure experiment that they are currently doing. The ranger grew up in the area and did his undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz. He really enjoyed the Santa Cruz Field Classes and began to do Elephant seal monitoring. He then got involved with a wild life team monitoring seals and he began examining salon bearing. His team and himself would traverse rivers counting salon and trout. He then applied and attended UC Davis for a masters ecology program. This program was fairly routed in marine biology. He worked with another member of the UC Davis team and listed endangered species and dealt with  Any wildlife issues that floated his way. Some of these issues had to do with spotted owls and establishing long-term wild life survey systems with cameras to record information on them and watch their long-term trends over time. 
            He then talked to us about the  repopulation of Tollie elk that was initially
one heard of 10 left. Tollie Elk is a subspecies of elk and is endemic to California. The Tollie Elk subspecies was thought to be extinct but a remnant heard survived the gold rush. There were 10 surviving Tollie Elk that were found on private property. The state then worked with ecologists to protect Tollie elk and made it illegal to hunt them until there were 2000 alive. Complimentary language was passed in congress to provide federal aid for potential restoration sites to reintegrate the elk. Pont rays was a chosen location to protect the heard. The Heard is contained with a 26,000 acres space and kept in with tall elk fencing,

 In this class we learned allot about the landscape, this history of point Reys, and some of the key issues that the park service is currently facing when dealing with  Elk population. Dave also talked in ddepth about how successful the Elk reintroduction has been. The Elk population has risen so drastically that contraceptive techniques were used to slow down their exponential growth. It has been determined that the Tomales point can hold roughly 480 Elk which was more than originally expected.

One of the most significant things we learned about was an experiment that was initially abandoned but has been brought back to life by Sonoma State Grad students. The experiment fenced off sections of land to find out what the landscape would be like if there wasn't any elk grazing on it. This study gathered information on the impacts of the Tule Elk on the landscape, and animals and plant populations within i. 

Ranger Dave talked about how important it is for elk antlers to be deteriorated and the nutrients returned back into the ecosystem. He told us that people come out the preserve to collect the Antlers
that have fallen off elk. Dave told us this has negative impacts on the ecosystem because so much nutrients go into the development of the antlers  that these nutrients need to be returned back to the soil. To make sure no one steals antlers the rangers collect them run them through a wood shipper and spread them out through the preserve.












one heard of 24 left. Tollie Elk is a subspecies of elk and is endemic to California. The Tollie Elk subspecies was thought to be extinct but a remnant heard survived the gold rush. There were 10 surviving Tollie Elk that were found on private property. The state then worked with ecologists to protect Tollie elk and made it illegal to hunt them until there were 2000 alive. Complimentary language was passed in congress to provide federal aid for potential restoration sites to reintegrate the elk. Pont rays was a chosen location to protect the heard. The Heard is contained with a 26,000 acres space and kept in with tall elk fencing,

Tomales Point

Friday November 7th, 2014

Field Trip to Tomales Point By Kylie Carpenter, 


On November 7th, 2014, Sonoma State University's Restoration Ecology and Ecology class combined for a field trip to the Tomales Point Elk Exclosure Experiments.  These experiments look at the consequences of the tule elk reintroduction for plant invasions and community composition in costal grasslands.




ENSP 423 Restoration Ecology and BIOL 333 Ecology students at the top of Tule Elk Preserve at Tomales Point 
Outside Elk Exclosure

Elk Exclosure 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sear's Point Bayland Field Trip By Sarina Healey, Kelly Kehoe, and Chelsea Garbarino

On October 3rd, 2014 the restoration ecology students at Sonoma State went to the Sear's Point Baylands located by the San Pablo Bay off of Highway 37. Julian Meisler, the Baylands program manager showed us around the site and explained what the restoration project was and how much progress they have made so far.
Old ranch building now renovated

In 2005 the Sonoma Land Trust obtained Sears Point, which is 2,327 acres. The site was originally an old ranch building which was renovated and completed in 2011. It was constructed by an architect from San Francisco for free, and made of reclaimed barn wood.It was supposed to be the location of our newest entertainment the Graton Casino! However the land was previously a tidal marsh and it was determined to be an unfit location by consultants and the Native American tribe.

Currently, Julian is working on the Sear's Point wetland and watershed restoration project, where he is trying to obtain 1000 acres to return to the tidal marsh. He will also be working closely with the agricultural workers and establish good relationships with them. The area is dominated with Italian vine grass, and they hope the farmers will help to desiccate the grass. 



Julian Meisler and classmate Vita holding a map of the Baylands


This photo is showing the storm water pump to help keep the water clear. The pumps are quite expensive running approximately $700,000 and they can pump 11,000 gallons per minute.















Other key components of the Sears Point wetland and watershed restoration project is to bring back species and open up the Baylands as a trail for public use. Julian talked to us about recreating habitat for the California red legged frog, as there are already some present in the watershed. He hopes to eventually establish breeding grounds and colonize the area for them.
California red legged frog. We hope to see more in the Baylands!

Classmate Amanda holding Pickleweed!
Lastly, we learned that the Baylands needed sediment to be brought in to increase elevation levels, but now the sediment has a deficit due to sea level rise. The increase in sediment has caused dominant plants such as pickle weed and cord grass to grow If sea level rises too quickly, it won't be considered a marsh and will be a levy. Julian and his team members will be working on how to mitigate these potential environmental changes and we hope to see the Baylands project complete in upcoming years!










We end our blog with some miscellaneous pictures from the field trip, such as the salt marshes some of the grass fields, etc!


















Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Laguna de Santa Rosa Field Trip 2014

On October 31st we made a trip with our class to "Meadowlark Field" in Sebastopol that belongs to the Laguna de Santa Rosa Middle Reach Restoration Project. As a curious note, I found out later that the name "Meadowlark" is the translation into English of the word "whitsé la holma noma" of the Mishewal-Wappo language and is the way that native americans used to call the Santa Rosa area.




That day two hard working volunteers from ENSP class are singing in the rain!!!! and pulling irrigation lines from Meadowlark Field!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blackberry Blog 9-19-14

Copeland Creek Restoration Grant Proposal Blog
Blackberry Day 1 & 2
Cameron Keyser, Nicole Bickham & Amanda Sanfilippo
9/19/14
This was the first day in the field of our restoration project at Copeland Creek. We started the day by having a pre-game talk about past restoration on Copeland Creek and the treatments that were used.  The main concern for this project was the removal and reduction of the exotic invasive Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) along certain areas of Copeland Creek.  We observed plots along the creek that were previously treated, and we collected data on the invasive and native species composition and richness. We did this by counting and recording the invasive species in a given plot. There were 9 different areas, 36 plots that were 3m x 3m, and 4 different treatments used.
The photo above is the target site on 9/19/14. There is no water in the creek. We saw many invasive species that lined the borders of this creek. This is a picture looking downstream, or toward Snyder Lane.

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This is our teacher’s assistant Meghan showing off her best corny nature t-shirt. We had a contest of who had the best nature shirt, and there were some good ones. I don’t believe we ever declared a winner though! (Photos Above)

In this picture, we are all standing on the pathway next to Rancho Cotati High School and we are discussing how to determine which invasive species are in the plots.
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Here, we are listening to our great teacher, Caroline Christian, discuss invasive species at the creek. There were many bikers on this path, so Ruben yelled “biker!” at least 20 times.

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Our instructions were to collect 10 different plant species along the creek to identify. Here, Kevin G. (top) is taken aback by the vast number of invasive species present, and bottom photo, students get their bags of plant species carefully identified by Caroline.
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As Caroline talked to us about the different plant species, we kept a field journal and examples of specimens to compare to the species located in the plots. The non-native Lactuca serriola (seen in bottom photo) is one of the more abundant species in this area of Copeland Creek.

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Here, (top) is an example of one of the plots that we worked with. The PVC pipe is the center, while the pink flags are the four corners of the plot. The above right photo shows a group of students working on a plot that is has much higher plant species richness and composition than the above left picture. As you can see, Kevin H. is pretty thrilled about identifying all of those plant species! (bottom)
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Syd, Melina, and Chelsea (top) and Cameron (bottom) are all working hard to correctly identify all of the plant species present in their plot!

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Some of the restorationists working in the field (top).
This was the data sheet that we filled out the species composition for each plot. One of the target plots is in the background (bottom).

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Caroline Christian (top) wraps up the day with a summary and discussion of the work that we accomplished. Also (bottom) some of your blackberry bloggers hard at work in the field; they are showing off their impressively accurate data sheets and thorough notes (not to mention dashing good looks).

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 7, 2012 PLD Plot Data Day

The following documentation presented to you by: Nick Darst, Todd Harney, Kolaan Busbice, and Matty Gillan.

In order to reduce redundancy, see post titled Himalayan Blackberry Control Experiment by Kolaan Busbice for a detailed description of the day.
Dr. Caroline Christian with the pregame speech to pump up the team of restorationists.  Apparently a few did not have their coffee that morning. 

Going over materials before setting out for data collection.

In order to get consistent data everyone needed to be on the same page from the get-go

Watch out for the bike!
The materials for the day. Each group was given clipboard with appropriate data sheets,  tape measure, flags, a compass, a densiometer, a three-meter pvc equipped with a meter tape, and some skotch tape.
Ingenuity at its finest.
After initial data was collected, the treatment of clipping was applied.

A fully clipped plot.
The bloggers diligently bringing you this here information.
Meanwhile, a little more south of our study site, one student was acting as an exotic (maybe invasive?) species.