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Volume 37, No. 3

Winter 2011 Newsletter The Cedars Preserving the rarest ecosystem in Sonoma County

Help secure $50,000 in matching funds

by Sheri Cardo

December 31 deadline

Longtime Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma County’s Cedars region is one of the few places in the world where the earth’s mantle has pushed through the surface, creating a geological wonder on par with national monuments. Photos by Scott Hess Photography.

Concealed deep within the heart of Sonoma County, out of sight and

hard to find, is the Cedars — a mysterious, unearthly region largely forgotten until just a few decades ago, and still known to only a few. Even now, the Cedars, located north of Cazadero, is largely inaccessible, requiring seven dicey creek crossings in a high clearance vehicle. But with risk comes reward and this journey brings the sojourner to an unexpected new world — a world of deep serpentine canyons, strange mineralized formations, moonscape-like terrain, and rare and unusual plants. A world where the mantle, usually miles below, has been pushed through the surface of the earth. Conservation of the Cedars, a geologically and botanically unique ecosystem that is arguably the most extraordinary natural feature of our county, has been a priority for the Sonoma Land Trust for the past several years. In (Continued on page 3)

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donors Pete and Patty Mattson have pledged to match all year-end gifts when made by December 31, up to a total of $50,000. Their generous pledge and your gift will propel our efforts to protect forever the wild and beautiful lands of Sonoma County. “Sonoma Land Trust helps us be part of ensuring that Sonoma County will always be the beautiful and special place that we love. We are confident that our gift will add important acreage to Sonoma County’s protected landscapes for future generations to enjoy.” — Pete and Patty Mattson Please use the enclosed envelope or go to www.sonomalandtrust.org to make your special year-end gift. To make a stock donation, please call (707) 526-6930, ext. 108 or email beverly@sonomalandtrust.org.

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A note from the Executive Director

Who we are Board of Directors

Denny Van Ness, chair, Robert Brent, Neal Fishman, Mark Jacobsen, Kirsten Lindquist, Pete Mattson, Darren Peterie, Harry Richardson, Maggie Salenger, Allison Sanford, Wendy Smit, Margaret Spaulding, Carol Williams

Staff

Ralph Benson, Executive Director Kristine Acquino, Acquisitions Project Associate Karen Arrington, Development Manager Sheri Cardo, Director of Communications Dale Carroll, Accounting Assistant Amy Chesnut, Acquisitions Director Paul DeMarco, Director of Finance & Administration Kara Doolin, Stewardship Assistant Project Manager Brook Edwards, Jenner Headlands Project Manager Wendy Eliot, Conservation Director Georgiana Hale, Conservation Easement Stewardship Manager Julie Jehly, Acquisitions Project Assistant Joseph Kinyon, GIS Manager Reta Lockert, Donor Relations Director Sheri Lubin, Director of Public Programs & Education Julian Meisler, Baylands Program Manager Bob Neale, Stewardship Director Tony Nelson, Stewardship Project Manager Elizabeth Newton, Office Manager Beverly Scottland, Development Director Shanti Wright, Stewardship Project Manager

SLT Mission

The Sonoma Land Trust protects the scenic, natural, agricultural and open landscapes of Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations by: • Developing long-term land protection strategies; • Promoting private and public funding for land and conservation; • Acquiring land and conservation easements; • Practicing stewardship, including the restoration of conservation properties; and • Promoting a sense of place and a land ethic through activities, education and outreach.

Contact

Sheri Cardo, Managing Editor Sonoma Land Trust 966 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (707) 526-6930 Fax (707) 526-3001 info@sonomalandtrust.org www.SonomaLandTrust.org

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Winter 2011 • Volume 37, No. 3

Preserve forever what you love about Sonoma County While our focus in recent years has been on connecting large landscapes — on the Bay, on the Sonoma Coast and in the Mayacamas — there are treasures in small places to include in the legacy we hope to pass on to future generations. One such place is Pitkin Marsh. One hardly notices the unplanted land to the east of Highway 116 on the way into Forestville from the south, but it is home to a rare white sedge that grows nowhere else. Another amazing place, larger in scale, is the remarkable Cedars region to the north of Cazadero, a Shangri La for botanists and geologists. Sonoma Land Trust is carrying out long-term protection strategies for both of these jewels, as described in this issue of our newsletter. Not just State Parks, but all of Sonoma County’s parks have been on our mind. Sonoma Land Trust is now the second largest landowner in the County. We hold our land for the benefit of the public — much of it is scheduled to be transferred to public agencies — and long-term stewardship is a serious concern. There is no immediate prospect for more public funding, so we will need to innovate and draw on volunteers and private resources. In the meantime, we helped initiate the Parks Alliance for Sonoma County to provide a forum for the many creative, volunteer efforts underway to keep our State Parks open. Sonoma County is a statewide leader and I’m convinced our parks will stay open. We need them to thrive. In 2012, you will be hearing more about two of our long-term efforts that have been chugging along. The multi-year environmental impact report for our thousand-acre tidal wetlands restoration at Sears Point is almost complete and we expect to begin construction of the new levies next summer; and the massive Integrated Resource Management Plan for the Jenner Headlands is out for technical review. It will guide our opening of the land to multiple public uses next year in partnership with The Wildlands Conservancy. Thank you for your continuing support of Sonoma Land Trust. Together, we can preserve forever what we all love about Sonoma County. On to 2012!

Ralph Benson Printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks.


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2007, we purchased 45 acres at the gateway to the region with private funds donated by two of our members, and in 2009, we published a comprehensive conservation plan for the Cedars. Fortunately, the extraordinary 500-acre main canyon of the Cedars was purchased for conservation some years ago by renowned botanists Roger Raiche and David McCrory, who generously made the property available for scientific research. Recently, implementation of SLT’s Cedars Conservation Plan took a giant step forward. In collaboration with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the California Coastal Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League facilitated the transfer of the Raiche-McCrory “Main Canyon” property to the Bureau of Land Management for permanent protection. The Bureau of Land Management, which already owns an

adjacent 1,500 acres in the Cedars, will designate the property as an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern,” BLM’s highest level of protection. Currently, with funding provided by Resources Legacy Fund through its Bay Area Conservation Initiative, negotiations are underway for the purchase of a conservation easement over another 160 acres in the ecological transition zone surrounding the core serpentine canyons. Over the years, we hope to work with surrounding landowners to ensure the permanent protection of the entire Cedars region. While the Cedars is too fragile, remote and difficult to access to support unbridled public recreation, Microbial resources in the high-alkaline waters of the Core Serpentine Zone are being studied Sonoma Land Trust is planning to by NASA scientists because they may mimick the beginnings of life on our planet. offer guided tours starting in 2012. For more information and photographs of the Cedars, please visit Sheri Cardo is SLT’s communications www.sonomalandtrust.org. director.

Roger Raiche, former co-owner of Main Canyon and passionate advocate for protecting the Cedars, was recently honored as the 2011 California Native Plant Society Fellow, the highest recognition awarded by CNPS.

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Raptors bring together hikers and hawk watchers at the Jenner Headlands by Sheri Cardo

Ferruginous Hawks, like this unusual dark-morph FEHA, travel to the Jenner Headlands from the Northern Plains to spend the winter. Photo by Roger Marlowe.

A little boy who raised chickens in

his Sonoma County backyard and watched the resident hawks grab a few each year grew up with a fascination for the crafty birds of prey. Now, 30 years later, he works hard at keeping these astonishing birds in his sight and holding audiences “rapt” with all he has learned about

them. The Sonoma Land Trust is lucky to have Larry Broderick as our volunteer raptor magnet and interpretive specialist. Larry and his team of hawk watchers have been stationed at the Jenner Headlands Overlook for the last two fall seasons counting raptors migrating through. During the peak of the

Raptor magnet Larry Broderick identifies migrating hawks for awestruck hikers. Photo by Scott Hess Photography.

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migration, more than 90 raptors flew by per hour! No one knew for sure that the migrating birds flew right through the Headlands until SLT began its biological studies upon acquiring the 5,630-acre property in 2009 — but many people had long suspected the Headlands was a raptor thoroughfare and itched to gain access so they could document them. Larry was one of them. “Wildlife viewing and monitoring requires protected lands, so saving the Jenner Headlands was a watershed event,” says Larry. “It’s so massive that it provides homes and food for a number of species, including the birds of prey and the animals they depend on. There’s a whole wild web of life out here that is benefiting from this property being protected.” A series of fall raptor hikes for Sonoma Land Trust members and the general public awed a couple hundred happy skywatchers who can now tell a FEHA from a NOHA and an RT. (For those of you who missed

A Ferruginous Hawk captured in flight by Jenner Hawk Watch photographer Zach Dautrich.


out, that’s hawk talk for Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Harrier and Redtailed Hawk!) All humor aside, hawk watching at the Jenner Headlands is serious business. The Hawk Watch team follows the protocols established by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in the Marin Headlands. Additionally, they’re planning year-round studies of the resident RTs and over-wintering FEHAs. The latter is particularly significant because Ferruginous Hawks travel to

this area from the Northern Plains states where they are impacted by natural resource extraction. Data from the Jenner Headlands over time may show just how much this species of special concern is being affected. Speaking personally, now that I’ve spent a few afternoons at the Headlands and can identify a few birds, I want to learn more! If you do, too, Larry recommends the following books: Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guides by Brian K. Wheeler, A Photographic

Guide to North American Raptors by Brian K. Wheeler and William S. Clark, Hawks From Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors in Flight by Jerry Liguori and Hawks in Flight by Clay Sutton, Peter Dunne and David Sibley. The holidays are coming — you might want to ask for a pair of really good binoculars! Sheri Cardo is SLT’s communications director.

Fall 2011 migration—final tally

Turkey Vulture Osprey White Kite Northern Harrier Sharp-shinned Hawk Cooper’s Hawk Red-shouldered Hawk Broad-winged Hawk Red-tailed Hawk Ferruginous Hawk Golden Eagle American Kestrel Merlin Peregrine Falcon Prairie Falcon

Key volunteers from this year’s Hawk Watch Team, led by Larry Broderick, included Becky Olsen, Ken Wilson, Diane Hichwa, David Barry, Zach Dautrich, Deyea Harper, Ken Magoon and Kathy Mugele. Photo by Pat Smith.

954 4 70 210 84 91 17 1 934 73 3 194 14 13 2

A Peregrine Falcon cruises through the Jenner Headlands. Photo by Roger Marlowe.

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In Celebration

From May 1, 2011 through November 15, 2011, Land Trust friends made gifts in honor of these exceptional friends and events.

In Memory

The singer lasts a season long while the song remains forever. In memory of Cornelia Adams: Chambers D. Adams In memory of Robert C. Anderson: Elaine Anderson In memory of Dale Missimer: Anonymous In memory of Les and Audrey Ayers: Lauren Ayers In memory of Sam Ridall: Gordon and Tamara Boultbee In memory of E. Rae Hudspeth: Dianne Brinson In memory of Grandma Emma Cerniglia: Robert Cerniglia In memory of Dr. Rae Hudspeth: Roberta Cronquist In memory of Ruth Camilli: Charles and Jana Denegri In memory of Pierre Joske: Ted and Pat Eliot In memory of Elinor Howenstine: Donald Frediani and Renata Gasperi In memory of Don Nolan: Robert J. Henry In memory of Joan Cochran: Marilyn Lonon In memory of Margery Foote Meyer: L. Bruce Meyer

In memory of Ed Miranda: Kathleen Mugele In memory of Sam, The Best Dog Ever: Kathleen Mugele In memory of Yo-Yo: Kathleen Mugele In memory of Sam Lee: Charles Murray In memory of Joyce Liva: Greg and Gail Ralston In memory of Nancy Heyneman Friedlander: Dick Reinhardt In memory of William Geary: Harry and Dee Richardson In memory of Boz Wiliams: Beth Robinson In memory of Matthew Guerrieri: Martha and James Sanford In memory of Betty Brown: Hans and Gay Stern In memory of Howard O’Brien: Madelaine E. Stiver In memory of Kenneth M. Stocking: Stephen and Linda Stocking In memory of Ralph Benson, Sr., Chief of the Fire: John P. Strebel In memory of Mickey Boyden: Peter Wiggin In memory of Kay Wheeler: Shana Woodfield

In Honor

In honor of Carol Vellutini: Janet Bosshard In honor of Will Bucklin’s birthday: Rebecca Butler In honor of Tom and Cora Wright: Sandra Curtis In honor of Anne Teller’s birthday: Mary and Dick Hafner

In honor of Cathie and Pitch Johnson: Henry and Emily Evers In honor of Mr. and Mrs. William Drapers III: Henry and Emily Evers In honor of Mary Hafner: Parke and Sarah Hafner In honor of Meg Beeler: Carole Harbard In honor of Richard W. Woodman: Mia James In honor of Kit Williams and Eric Flanagan: John Leahy In honor of Lucy Kortum: Peter and Olivia Leveque In honor of Dr. Bethann Palermo: Kathleen Mugele In honor of Dale Carroll: Corinne Neuman In honor of Maurine Olson on her special day In honor of Ted Ponseti: Harry and Dee Richardson In honor of Laura Bofferding: Wayne and Sue Rutherford In honor of Bert Drews: Don Seaver In honor of Krista Rogerson and Bryan Almquist: Renee Sharp In honor of Pat and Ted Eliot’s 60th wedding anniversary: Judith and Philip Temko In honor of Eda Conner: Debra R. Verdi In honor of Dee and Verlin Yamamoto: Keith and Kathleen Yamamoto

Holiday gifts that make a difference

What do you give friends, co-workers and family members if you want to make a lasting impression? How about an annual membership to the Sonoma Land Trust? Simply use the enclosed envelope to notify us of the people you wish to honor with a gift membership. Once received, we will send a 6 Winter 2011 • Volume 37, No. 3

note to let your special person know about your thoughtful gift and let them know some of what they can look forward to as a member, such as: • Advance notice for hikes on spectacular properties not usually open to the public. • Invitations to special events,

including our annual holiday open house. • Newsletters that will keep them informed. Remember, you can also donate in honor or memory of a special person, or even a beloved pet, while supporting the Sonoma Land Trust. Let us know whether the gift is a memorial or an honorarium and, as always, please let us know where to send the acknowledgement. What better way to celebrate the holidays!


Protecting land on a scale greater than ever by Beverly Scottland

The Sonoma Land Trust is a non-

profit, non-governmental organization that relies primarily on donations to fuel its work. We are sometimes confused with our friends at the Open Space District. We coordinate very closely with the District and leverage their tax-generated funds, but the District operates on sales tax revenues and we operate on donations. Our effectiveness depends on the continued support of our donors. Virtually everywhere you go in Sonoma County, you look out on scenic and habitat-rich land protected forever by the Sonoma Land Trust. More than 34,000 acres along the southern end of the county will remain in open space forever. Thousands of acres on the Sonoma Coast strung like jewels from Bodega to Gualala are protected and will be open to the public. And this year, in response to the threatened closure of

State Parks, we took the lead by initiating the Parks Alliance for Sonoma County to keep parks open. We are protecting land on a scale greater than ever, amidst threats greater than ever. Climate change, pressure to develop rural landscapes and California’s fiscal catastrophe — leading to threatened park closures — are just some of the challenges we face. We are here so that all of us today and for generations to come can experience nature close to home along with the beauty we now enjoy. Please consider making a generous year-end gift to ensure that we can add additional acreage to Sonoma County’s protected landscapes. There is so much more to do. Beverly Scottland is SLT’s development director.

Put your IRA to work saving land in Sonoma County Charitable IRA rollover: deadline is December 31 Good news! Congress extended the IRA charitable rollover legislation through 2011. This means that a person who is 70-1/2 or older may donate any amount up to $100,000 from an IRA to qualified charities, such as the Sonoma Land Trust. • This

amount will count toward the required minimum distribution for the year and it will not be treated as taxable income.

• The

donation must come directly from an IRA or a Roth IRA and be completed by December 31, 2011. Checks should be made payable to the Sonoma Land Trust.

• Please

pass this information on to a friend or family member who may be interested in this opportunity.

We are always happy to answer any questions you have regarding your philanthropic options. For more information, please contact Beverly Scottland at (707) 5266930, ext. 108 or beverly@sonomalandtrust.org.

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Season’s Greetings! Rare white sedge population expands at Pitkin Marsh by Kara Doolin

SLT’s Tony Nelson (left) and Bob Neale search for the elusive white sedge. Photo by Kara Doolin.

This year, the number of flowering stalks of white sedge at the Pitkin Marsh Preserve rose by more than 300 percent over the amount found in 2010! Other factors play a role in flower production, but we believe our management activities at the preserve are helping this endangered plant thrive. The Sonoma Land Trust purchased the Pitkin Marsh Preserve near Forestville in 2007. There, a complex interaction of soil structure and chemistry, surface water, ground water, and scattered seeps and springs creates unusual conditions that support the only known population of white sedge (Carex albida) in T O

the world. Unfortunately, land uses within the watershed have degraded the marsh’s habitat over the years, so SLT has been working to improve site conditions. Recently, staff and several knowledgeable volunteers completed the third year of white sedge monitoring, which consists of systematic habitatwide searches for the species and then counting the number of flowering stalks. Along with the 300 percent increase in the size of the white sedge population preserve-wide, we were intrigued to find that at one particular wetland where crews had removed aggressive non-native competitors by hand, the white

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sedge counts increased by 2,240 percent. In adjacent untreated areas, the increase was only 690 percent. With such seemingly positive results, we will continue to pursue the strategies outlined in our Lower Pitkin Marsh Management and Restoration Plan, which means that, next year, we will begin grazing with sheep in select locations to reduce invasive plants, encourage native plant growth and promote conditions that favor the rare plant. We’ll need a few more monitoring years before we can conclude that there is a positive interaction between our management activities and white sedge, but this response encourages us to continue with what we believe to be beneficial strategies. Kara Doolin is a stewardship assistant project manager.

White sedge.

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Sonoma Land Trust Winter 2011 Newsletter