How do kayakers influence marine mammal and bird behavior?
Observations to determine whether recreational visitors influence behavior of resident animals; results could lead to management recommendations.
What is the intensity of mudflat harvesting, and what are the effects?
Intensity could easily be assessed by visiting common clamming sites in lower Slough; effects would require controlled expert with fenced take and no-take zones.
FRESHWATER AND RIPARIAN HABITATS
THREATENED AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES
What mosquito control treatment is best at decreasing mosquito populations while supporting threatened amphibians, and the aquatic arthropods they eat?
Compare Bt, mosquitofish, native predators as control mechanisms in 18 Reserve water tanks (guzzlers).
What are the patterns of habitat use by southwestern pond turtles in the Elkhorn watershed?
Explore aquatic habitats and adjacent areas on the Reserve to locate nesting/breeding sites, count numbers of adults, and track their movements.
What strategies can improve water quality in Reserve freshwater wetlands?
Bioretention pits or heavy mulch to improve quality of freshwater inputs coming from adjacent agricultural fields? Annual dry down and removal of sediments? Bubbling stations to increase dissolved oxygen?
How are the links between groundwater and surface water?
Have past changes to the Slough’s tidal prism (e.g., return of tidal exchange to Parsons complex) affected local groundwater (saltwater intrusion)? How would future changes to the tidal prism of different wetlands (moderate decreases at Parsons, slight increases at South Azevedo, etc.) affect adjacent groundwater? Does surface impoundment of freshwater (e.g. in Moro Cojo area wetlands) help to restore groundwater and decrease saltwater intrusion?
GRAZING AND OTHER RESTORATION TECHNIQUES
What tools are effective for increasing native biodiversity in a very degraded grassland?
Compare various techniques (variants of grazing, mowing, planting, etc.) on the highly invaded Reserve grasslands, and determine effects on key targets (native grasses, annual forbs, perennial forbs).
Which native grasses should be planted on what parts of the Reserve?
Fieldwork to permit GIS mapping of soil types and microclimates; match to different plant optima; native grass should be better at resisting invasion if planted in ideal physical conditions.
What is the effect of species diversity on invasibility?
Do grassland restoration with multiple species, singly and in combinations, to look at whether species mixes are more effective than single species at preventing invasion by non-native species.
What is the effect of patch size on restoration success?
Plant natives in degraded grasslands in patches of varying sizes to determine whether bigger areas resist invasion better than do smaller ones.
SPATIAL PATTERNS OF PRAIRIE DISTRIBUTION
Where are remaining stands of intact coastal prairie, and what do they correlate with?
Fieldwork to find remaining native grasses stands, and GIS work to determine whether land use history, slope, surrounding vegetation type, proximity to wetlands, etc. explain distribution.
What is the distribution and habitat use of the listed Salinas Harvest Mouse and Salt Marsh Ornate Shrew?
These species are endemic to a small area around Elkhorn Slough, and haven’t been studied since the 1950s; their taxonomy and ecology should be revisited so that their small populations can be wisely managed.
How does poison hemlock influence community composition?
Examine diversity and abundance of some native plants or animals (e.g., songbirds; grasshoppers in areas with hemlock and areas where hemlock has been removed.
Which large predators occur in Elkhorn grasslands and surrounding landscape?
Which large predators are present? Are their populations viable? What movement pathways are they using, and how large is their range?
Explore the value of conservation easements and model effectiveness of mitigation banking strategies.
Map current conservation easements, document their past and present condition, and evaluate their ecological value. Help design baseline characterization and monitoring programs for chaparral easements. Or, evaluate the benefits of a maritime chaparral mitigation banking program in the watershed.
Carry out experiments to test treatments to improve Manzanita recruitment.
Alteration of the natural disturbance regime (lack of burning) has lead to decline in recruitment by Manzanita and other key chaparral species, and a trend towards gradual conversion of chaparral to oak woodland. Small scale alternatives to burning (soil scrapes, mulching, shading, etc.) could be attempted in controlled experiments to increase recruitment.
COAST LIVE OAK
HABITAT VALUE RELATIVE TO EUCALYPTUS
How do ecosystem processes differ in oak woodlands vs. eucalyptus groves?
For instance, how does water usage differ between the two tree species? How does nutrient cycling differ?
What is the value of oak vs. eucalyptus groves for native bird species?
Preliminary work has shown similar bird species composition in oak vs. eucalyptus groves. It would be interesting to track fitness parameters (nesting success, survival, etc.) to see whether the two woodland types are different or equivalent for particular bird species.
Under what conditions do planted acorns do best?
Experiments evaluating various types of protection from predation and various water and soil parameters to figure out how oak restoration can best be accomplished.
How can invasive Cape Ivy best be controlled?
Experiments to determine optimum treatment times and methods to resolve conflicts in literature (e.g., whether to spray before or after flowering has commenced).
How can native oak understory be enhanced?
Experiments with various methods to initially remove and then to discourage re-establishment of non-natives. Include comparison of areas with varying canopy cover and proximity to edge to determine where long-term success is most likely.
What are the effects of providing nestboxes to cavity nesters?
We have 150 nestboxes used mostly by chestnut-backed chickadees (CBCH). Does providing nestboxes increase CBCH densities? (can compare woodlots with and without nestboxes). Does providing nestboxes increase CBCH reproductive success (have to find natural nests in cavities to make this comparison). Does neotropical migrant density correlate with CBCH density (it has been suggested that neotropical migrants are attracted to CBCH and preferentially flock with them).
Elkhorn Slough Core/Buffer Areas
California Department of Fish & Game Outreach Messages
1STATE OF CALIFORNIA - THE RESOURCES AGENCY ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
1416 NINTH ST, ROOM 117, SACRAMENTO, CA 95814
(916) 653 - 6420
DFG Outreach Messages
DFG management objectives:
Safe Human/Wildlife Interaction
Conservation and Protection
of Wildlife and Habitat
Why resource management matters:
Valuing Our Natural Heritage
The Importance of Biodiversity
Promote fishing, hunting, and wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities to
connect Californians to the most diverse natural resource heritage in the nation.
Provide sustainable opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and other
recreational uses of habitat as part of managing for viable, healthy populations.
DFG wildlife areas, ecological reserves, and marine protected areas offer
opportunities for different kinds of wildlife-dependent recreation.
A variety of conservation and recreation groups continue to play an important role in
ensuring the protection of habitats and associated recreational opportunities.
Compliance with fish and wildlife laws is an essential component of natural resource
Safe Human / Wildlife Interaction
Promote co-existence with California’s wildlife. This includes expanding awareness
about responsible behaviors for the safety of the public and health of wildlife.
Educate the public about use of fish and wildlife management strategies that
recognize all species (including humans) live interdependently.
People are part of nature. What we do in our cities, towns, and rural areas affects
wildlife habitats no matter where we live and work.
Citizens need to know about what to do and what not to do to co-exist with
California wildlife. This requires an understanding of wildlife behaviors including the
need for movement and migration patterns.
Conservation and Protection of Wildlife and Habitat
Maintain native fish, wildlife, plant species and natural communities through a broad
range of activities such as: scientific monitoring of native and introduced species;
enforcement of laws regarding the taking of wildlife; management of lands and
facilities; technical assistance on resource management to landowners; review of
streambed alteration and timber harvest plans; and rapid response to oil spills.
Conserve critical habitat areas to safeguard terrestrial, fresh water aquatic and
marine ecosystems. This includes protection of wildlife corridors connecting areas
of viable habitat and critical for providing access to food, water, shelter.
Maintain ecological reserves and marine protected areas intended to conserve
unique, fragile habitat
s and which can function to protect and restore rare and
threatened native species.
Californians only protect fish and wildlife resources they know about and value.
Education of a citizenry to the mission of DFG and the breadth of its work is an
important means to gain the public support needed to achieve many objectives.
Individual personal actions in partnership with local community and combined
agency efforts are critical to the long-term maintenance and survival of wildlife and
the habitats upon which they depend.
The needs of a growing human population can be balanced with those of wildlife.
Use of the land, waterways, and living resources should be planned and
implemented to minimize the impact on wildlife and ensure long-term sustainability
Why resource management matters:
California’s wildlife and habitat represent critical resources maintained in public trust
for future generations.
People and wildlife share a common need for clean water, clean air, and a habitable
place to live.
Each of us shares the responsibility to conserve and protect California’s natural heritage.
Public and private partnership effort to sustain natural resource viability within the
matrix of California landscapes invites the growth of a stewardship ethic. The
balance of ecological, economic, recreational, and aesthetic values to be gained is
a long-term benefit to our quality of life.
Why resource management matters:
The Importance of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is a measure of the biological richness of an area. California is one of
the top ‘hotspots’ for biodiversity in the world (ref. DFG Biodiversity Atlas).
[Numerous areas in California are considered biologically irreplaceable (significant for
conservation of biodiversity) having relatively high concentrations of rare species found nowhere else.]
For a regional landscape or entire state:
biodiversity is the diversity of species, habitats, and vegetation types.
For a habitat or vegetation type:
biodiversity is the diversity of life forms within it.
For a species:
biodiversity is the genetic variation within a population or among populations.
Living organisms, including humans, survive interdependently in the “web of life”.
High biodiversity, or a complex web, is generally considered more stable because it
is more adaptable to change.
Biodiversity is being lost due to destruction of habitat by an expanding range of
human activities and competition from introduced species.
Maintaining a rich biodiversity is important on many different levels. In California,
biodiversity is an incentive for job growth and greater economic prosperity.
California’s living resources have much future potential including value in the fields
of medicine, energy, tourism, and others.
The following are some examples of how these messages could be applied:
Practice responsible outdoor recreation.
* Conserve our wild heritage now, and enjoy it always.
* Take no more than what you can use in a reasonably short period of time,
but never more than your limit when fishing or hunting. You don’t always
have to take your limit.
Safe Human / Wildlife Interaction—
Wild animals are naturally wary of people. Let’s keep it that way.
* Humans can unintentionally attract wildlife and change them to become dependent on humans.
* It’s humans that can change their actions. Educate others to wildlife awareness.
Conservation and Protection of Wildlife and Habitat—
We All Live in a Watershed
And California’s native fish & wildlife are part of our community
Yet, did you know…
The #1 threat to California fish, plants, and wildlife is
loss of their habitats
Natural areas can become fragmented and unable
to support healthy native plant and animal populations
~ Human needs CAN be balanced with those of wildlife ~
* Wildlife corridors are critical for providing access to food, water, shelter,
and play an important role in wildlife migration.
* Maintaining protected and linked networks of terrestrial and aquatic habitat with clean air and clean water is essential to building sustainable communities for wildlife and people.
Find out about local opportunities to enhance and restore habitat…
…because California’s fish and wildlife are depending on you.
Valuing Our Natural Heritage—
Your Home...is Bigger Than you Think…
* Most Californians share a desire to protect the environment. And their
attitudes affect what they do: such as, avoiding the use of toxic products where
possible and making certain that soaps, paints, and oil don’t wash into street
gutters and storm drains.
* Keep creeks and other wild habitats clean and healthy places for fish, wildlife, and people.
* We hold in “public trust” California’s natural heritage of fish and wildlife.
The Importance of Biodiversity—
When the rich web of life is cut back, we are all poorer for it.
* California is one of the top ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity identified worldwide…but that diversity is being lost.
* Do your part to protect wildlife habitat and prevent the spread of invasive and non-native species that threaten California’s natural heritage.
* Maintenance of California’s rich biological diversity requires careful land use planning so that plants, fish, and wildlife resources may be sustained for future generations.