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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Laguna de Santa Rosa Observations

Do you think about that body of water you cross over on the Hwy. 12 bridge on your way into or out of Sebastopol? You should, as it is a very important and unique natural resource to our area. Stretching 14 miles from its beginning in Cotati, to where it empties into the Russian River in Forestville, the Laguna is a wetland complex that is very important to wildlife and humans alike.

Home to river otter, bald eagle, bobcat, coyote, steelhead trout and more than 200 species of birds, the Laguna is a nationally recognized biodiversity “hot spot,” and a key stop for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. But it is our home, too! Sonoma County residents benefit not only from the wildlife it sustains but from the flood control it provides and the green vistas it weaves between our cities.

The Laguna ecosystem has been heavily impacted by human use, especially in the last 150 years. Riparian (streamside) forests have been cleared, channels have been straightened, waters have been polluted and invasive species have gained significant toeholds. The Laguna Foundation was founded in 1989 with the mission of preserving, protecting, restoring and educating the public about this magnificent resource.

I’ll be writing this column seasonally to let you know what is going on in the natural world of the Laguna as well as to tell you activities that we at the Foundation are doing that you might like to be involved in. This has been a great winter for the Laguna! The rainfall we have had, combined with when it fell, has kept water levels in the Laguna at nice, high, but not flood, levels. I have been out there several times on kayaks and seen river otter, big carp, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, osprey, white pelicans, and, unheard of for this area, a black hawk (native to the desert southwest) that has taken up residence in the Laguna.

You can get out and see some of this natural beauty by joining one of our outings or volunteer events. See our web site for regular updates but May 1st we will be having docent led walks at Santa Rosa’s Delta Pond to see a very productive great egret, double crested cormorant, and great blue heron rookery. On June 19th we’ll be doing a Santa Rosa Plain bike and hike in conjunction with Landpaths. And on May 8th we’ll be having a volunteer work day along the eastern bank of the Laguna removing irrigation hardware from a planting we did on the Balletto conservation easement three years ago.

Love the Laguna and like what the Laguna Foundation does? Become a member by visiting!

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