Ecology Blog | Sonoma Ecology Center
SEC Relaunches Its Post-Fire Watershed Protection Program

SEC Relaunches Its Post-Fire Watershed Protection Program

In 2017, wildfire left behind dozens of burned structures—a hazardous situation should rainwater wash their toxins into nearby streams. To prevent that from happening, Sonoma Ecology Center created its Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which mobilized...

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In Our Divided Post-Election World, Nature Still Holds the Key

In Our Divided Post-Election World, Nature Still Holds the Key

By Richard Dale While on a morning walk following this week’s Presidential Election, I found it hard not to feel overwhelmed and anxious over the outcome. Still, nature, as it often does, soon crept into my worried, looping mental soundtrack, suggesting that there are...

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How Wild Animals Cope with Wildfire

How Wild Animals Cope with Wildfire

Some Species Fare Well, Some Don’t—but Overall, Populations Appear to Rebound Humans fled by the tens of thousands in Sonoma and Napa counties this summer as the Glass Fire bore down on their communities. But other species’ homes and communities were threatened too,...

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Red Barn Remembrance

Red Barn Remembrance

‘It served as habitat for our feathered and furry friends, a cool refuge for hikers on hot or rainy days, and a picturesque backdrop for the occasional photographer’ Venerable barns are special places, Breck Parkman says, with special meanings for those who know them....

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SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

SEC’s Sugarloaf Operators Reassess Following Glass Fire

With Red Barn Gone and Revenues Down, Valley’s Beloved State Park Must Regrow and Rebuild Park operators from Sonoma Ecology Center are still taking stock of the damage at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park following the Glass Fire. And even though an estimated three-quarters...

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A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

A Call for Landowners in the Upper Nathanson Creek Watershed

Are you a landowner in the upper Nathanson Creek Watershed? If so we’d love to talk with you about stormwater—specifically, about potential stormwater projects that can help us better manage water when it finally arrives. (Click map to enlarge.) Fire season ends when...

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Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Glass Fire Frays Nerves, Blankets Valley in Smoke

Dear Friends, We’re now on day five of the Glass Fire, which began in the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 27 and has since grown to more than 60,000 acres across Napa and Sonoma counties, jumping valleys and firebreaks, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and...

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SEC Researchers Sound Alarm over Dry Sonoma Valley Waterways

SEC Researchers Sound Alarm over Dry Sonoma Valley Waterways

Lack of Rainfall, Continued Pumping Cause Sonoma Creek and Its Tributaries to Run Dry “Try to give the creeks a break for the rest of this year.” That’s the message from Sonoma Ecology Center’s Senior Scientist and Research Program Manager Steven Lee, speaking...

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How to Fight Wildfires Before They Start

How to Fight Wildfires Before They Start

Forestland Tended by Sonoma Ecology Center Is Helping to Protect Pacific Union College With smoke filling the skies around California, and wildfires burning out of control in Sonoma and Napa counties, Jason Mills is more convinced than ever that the restoration...

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Emergency Information You Can Use — 2020 Edition

Emergency Information You Can Use — 2020 Edition

An unprecedented lightning storm has kicked off Sonoma County's fire season even earlier than usual this year, forcing everyone to pay closer attention to fire, weather, air quality and other conditions in order to stay informed and stay safe. That's why we're posting...

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Removing Our Region’s Worst Invasive Weed

Removing Our Region’s Worst Invasive Weed

Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) is the most noxious weed in western North America, covering more area here than any other invasive species. It is rampant throughout Sonoma County, degrading our native grassland habitats, ruining local ranchlands (cattle...

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SURVEY: With School Starting, What’s the Best Path Forward?

SURVEY: With School Starting, What’s the Best Path Forward?

[Español abajo] As we work on ways to teach kids safely in the time of coronavirus, we’re asking parents, guardians and other members of the community for input. Please fill out our brief online survey and tell us what you think. Online? Outdoor? Other? Both online...

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Research Team Monitors Stream Temps

Research Team Monitors Stream Temps

This past month, our Research team expanded on a system to monitor water temperatures throughout Sonoma Creek and its tributaries, giving us important new data on the watershed’s overall health. Responding to a need for more complete data on temperatures in the...

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Mobile Kilns Bring Biochar Production to Forest, Farm and Ranch

Mobile Kilns Bring Biochar Production to Forest, Farm and Ranch

As the planet heats up, so does interest in practical, affordable and scalable methods for drawing carbon out of the atmosphere. This helps explain the growing popularity of biochar, a “super charcoal” that improves soil, conserves water and sequesters carbon all at...

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Valley Succotash

Valley Succotash

Sonoma Ecology Center Victory Gardens are now yielding summer squash, peas, and beans in gardens throughout Sonoma Valley. We asked our friends at Valley Bar + Bottle to create a recipe using these ingredients. Indigenous farming traditions across America and Mexico...

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Pollinator Week Brings Local Enthusiasts to Sonoma Garden Park

Pollinator Week Brings Local Enthusiasts to Sonoma Garden Park

Did you know that last week, June 22-28, was Pollinator Week? As noted by scientists, naturalists and wildlife officials, pollinators—a diverse group of species including insects, birds and mammals—are responsible for pollinating three quarters of our flowering plants...

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Sugarloaf Campground Reopens with New Guidelines

Sugarloaf Campground Reopens with New Guidelines

Campsites at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park are reopening on Monday, June 21, meaning all public resources at the park are available to the public again. That includes Sugarloaf’s parking lots, trails, restrooms, Visitor Center and Robert Ferguson Observatory. However,...

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