by Trevor George
There’s a wealth of human history in all shapes and forms on Sonoma Land Trust properties. From native tribes to early ranchers to the present, humankind has been intimately connected to the land for a very long time. In addition to sensitive ecosystems and biodiversity, I think the history of our presence and interaction with the land is worth saving, too.
The barn at Laufenburg Ranch, also known as Sonoma County Historic Site #72, provides a particularly special window into the past. Built in 1883 by Louis McLane, it stands tall with original beams and planks made of old-growth redwood.
by Corby Hines
"I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned."
– Luther Burbank, 1875
Well, Luther, I agree with you — Sonoma County is a natural paradise. There are miles of unspoiled coastline, pastoral orchards and farms, old-growth redwood forests, scenic rivers and streams, and even a few rugged mountains. One thing I’d always felt that Sonoma County lacked, though, was the possibility for a backcountry experience. After living in Montana and working as a backcountry trail worker in Yosemite, the wilderness seemed far away when I moved to Sonoma County over a decade ago.
by Julian Meisler
These days, when we think of Sears Point, the tidal wetland restoration comes to mind. But the uplands at Sears Point — the land above the historic edge of San Pablo Bay and north of Highway 37 — hold some incredible resources and opportunities as well. There, we’ve been working on a variety of enhancement and restoration projects for years.
In her blog post a few weeks ago, Nicole Na wrote about the burrowing owls using the artificial burrows that we installed in these uplands. Although we haven’t yet seen the owls breeding there, we still remain hopeful.
Burrowing owls are not the only species we hope to lure back to the site for breeding. A few years ago, we built three seasonal ponds designed specifically to serve as breeding sites for threatened California red-legged frogs (Rana draytonii). When designing the ponds, we took into account some basic life history of red-legged frogs and one of their primary competitors and predators — non-native American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus). The gist is this: Both bullfrogs and red-legged frogs lay eggs in winter, but bullfrog tadpoles generally require an entire year before transforming from tadpole to frog. Red-legged frogs, on the other hand, transform in the same year. Therefore, for a bullfrog tadpole to survive to adulthood, the pond must stay permanently inundated.
by Jen Stanfield
In the fall of 2013, Sonoma Land Trust began to use infrared cameras to monitor underpasses along Highway 12 and Arnold Drive in Sonoma Valley. The cameras were left in place for about two years, gathering information about the types and number of species crossing under busy roads in Sonoma Valley. Additionally, staff completed periodic roadkill surveys in the same area, hoping to diagnose trouble spots on the road where animals are routinely killed in vehicle collisions — spots that present a hazard to both animals and motorists.
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.