The western pond turtle (Emys marmorata) is a native species found on the Bufferlands and throughout the Sacramento Valley. In recent years, other turtle species have been observed using the Bufferlands wetland habitats. These introduced species include the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Both of these species are sold as pets and are readily available at local pet shops. There has been much speculation that these turtles may be out-competing our native turtles for resources.
Our Bufferlands provide excellent habitat for one of the Central Valley’s most charming birds, the burrowing owl. Since 1991, Regional San’s natural resources experts have carefully monitored burrowing owl habitat on District lands while pioneering innovative techniques for increasing owl populations. Through hands-on research, Bufferlands staff have successfully developed a way to build artificial nesting mounds for the threatened birds.
On Saturday, July 27, wildlife biologists from the Bufferlands staff captured five burrowing owls along Sims Rd. This work is part of an ongoing project to place leg bands on every owl in our population. The owls were captured using various traps created for this event. The traps and trapping methods were all crafted with an emphasis on safety for the burrowing owls. Two adult owls and three chicks were trapped and safely released back into their burrows.
The historic loss of riparian forest in central California is dramatic, and manipulation of river flows has left few areas open to natural regeneration. However, the last 20 years have seen widespread attempts to replace riparian corridors. Motivation for such restoration varies, from hopes for greater wildlife habitat to impetus for naturally-occurring flood control and water filtration. Riparian areas have been shown to contribute to such “ecosystem services.”