by Shanti Edwards
When I recently interviewed CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Marshall Turbeville about lessons learned from the 2017 fires, he said “We have to go back to what works: loud sirens and neighbors contacting neighbors.” Marshall advises us that community level, neighbor-to-neighbor planning will be essential in the years to come because extreme fire weather seems to be the future in California.
“We are good at putting out average fires, but we are trending toward catastrophic events driven by weather conditions. History did repeat itself and will again,” he warns. “The large fires of 1964 and 1978 are just one generation away and people forget — but we can’t forget.”
We took Marshall’s guidance to heart and recently convened a gathering to connect with Cazadero neighbors who live near Sonoma Land Trust’s Little Black Mountain and Pole Mountain Preserves. This was a rare opportunity to share a conversation as a group about emergency notification systems, potential evacuation routes, fuel reduction strategies and all things relevant to our rural mountain community. Marshall was in attendance to provide expert advice for defensible space and emergency response planning, and Jeff Schreiber of Sonoma RCD introduced landowner assistance programs for fuel reduction and road improvement.
by Trevor George
Weed populations on Sonoma Land Trust’s preserves appeared blackened and devastated after the fire, along with everything else. Fire burns without prejudice, and will clear out native and invasive species alike. However, just as the native species respond and regrow, so do the invasive species we work hard to manage. In some cases, the fire has given us an advantage against these species, while making it more difficult in others.
Some invasive species are well adapted to fire and even flourish with it. Harding grass (Phalaris aquatica), pictured below, has deep roots and was one of the first grasses to bounce back after the fire. This plant got a head start and is likely to continue outcompeting other native grasses.
by Corby Hines
Nature has a way of slowing us down.
There’s something about the aroma of spring flowers, bird song on the breeze and wide open vistas that encourage us to stop in our tracks and take it all in.
On a recent On the Land hike across more than 10 miles of protected land, there were many such moments — moments in which we couldn’t take another step until we got our fill of the wild beauty spread out before us. From the highest point on the Sonoma Coast, Pole Mountain, to the expansive wild lands of the Jenner Headlands, here are some moments where nature stopped time.
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.