Park Wavelengths - August 2008


August 29, 2008

This fall, the Seashore will be focusing on contraceptive methods to control the non-native deer population. The park's ambitious deer contraception program will involve veterinarians and wildlife contraception experts and utilize the most advanced techniques to ensure that the remaining deer herd is safely and humanely controlled. Park biologists and wildlife experts have determined that application of fertility control methods to the estimated 100 - 150 remaining deer over the next 5 years will likely result in a non-reproductive remnant herd. Therefore, there will not be the need for any culling of non-native deer this coming year. The non-native deer will not reproduce and will live out their natural lives within the Seashore over the next 10-15 years. The park has successfully treated about 80 fallow deer to date with non-invasive surgical techniques and a new long-lasting, experimental contraceptive injection, both with no observed side effects. The Seashore's contraception program is one of the largest studies ever attempted with free-ranging wild deer.

Non-native deer, originally from the San Francisco zoo, were introduced to the Point Reyes area by a local landowner in the 1940s and 1950s, before establishment of the Seashore. By 2007, there were an estimated 900-1,100 non-native deer within National Park Service boundaries. Park scientists have found that the non-native deer have several serious impacts on Seashore ecosystems. For more information on the deer and the park's management program, go to the park's Non-Native Deer Management Plan page.

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August 26, 2008

Very High FIRE Danger for Marin County through Friday, August 29th. Double check on whether Mount Vision Road will be open and if beach fires are permitted. Fire danger rating is calculated from air temperature, projected wind, and fuel moisture (dryness of grass and ground vegetation). Stinson Beach continues closed through August 29 due to a reported shark sighting Monday.

A new moon rises on Saturday, August 30, with higher than usual tides from 5.4 to 5.7 feet high, the beaches will seem smaller in mid-day!

A very high tide mid-day (5.7 at 1:05 pm) will make visiting the annual Sand Sculpture contest on Sunday, August 31st best early in the day. Registration for this event begins at 9:00 am and judges will be on Drakes Beach at 12:30 sharp.

The berry season is being followed by the development of tree nuts - look for bright yellow-green "mini-lemons" on the California Bay Trees; the outer covering will dry off to reveal a brown shelled round edible nut. Coast Miwok fire roast and eat the nuts. Buckeye trees are dropping their leaves along with brilliant yellow Big Leaf maples; gray squirrels are chewing up fir and pine cones to get at the seeds - all signs of the approaching autumn.

The tule elk rut continues - volunteer docents are on hand weekends with spotting scopes and have reported watching a dominant male with a 30 cow harem under his care; bachelor herds lingering around! Sparring and boxing elk may be seen during this busy time.

Permits have been issued for picnics at Bear Valley on Saturday, August 30; parking congestion expected. All park visitor centers are open on Monday, September 1st, Labor Day holiday. Coast and Sky Camps close September 2-11 for rehabilitation.

The ocean film series continues with a double feature on Thursday, August 28 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm - Restoring Balance: Removing the Black Rat from Anacapa island and Returning Home:Bringing the Common Murre back to Devils Slide Rock. Free and open to the public, bring your own popcorn.

Photographer Robert Campbell will be showing slides of his new book of aerial photographs on Saturday, August 30th at 12:30 pm at Bear Valley Visitor Center. Free!

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August 22, 2008

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths subscribers - a little late due to vacations

What’s Happening at the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project This Week (Week of August 18 – 22, 2008):

Construction contractors continued to remove portions of the Giacomini Ranch levee system during the sixth full week of construction. At some of the southernmost areas, levees have been completely removed, but in the middle and northern portions of the ranch, a small amount of outer levee material is being retained as a berm to maintain dry working conditions through late October. At this time, most of the East Pasture levee material is being used to fill drainage ditches, with some being used at the Dairy Mesa to restore the natural topography of the Mesa. Levee material being excavated from the West Pasture is being hauled to the quarries, although some was used to repair three breaches that occurred in the levee system during recent flood events. Construction has been requiring careful coordination and interaction with Park Service and contractor biologists to ensure that no special status species occur in the work zones.

Ongoing (Started the week of August 11), construction contractors began working on creation of some of the tidal channels and sloughs and high tide refugia for rails in the northern portion of the East Pasture. In addition, the final section of levee in the northernmost portion of the East Pasture was excavated to leave a small berm, and the culvert and tidegate on the diked East Pasture Old Slough will be removed. In the West Pasture, the main activity will be continued hauling of excavated sediment to the quarries. Hauling is being conducted with biodiesel-fueled trucks.

Starting the week of August 18, a separate set of contractors are expected to begin removal of non-native Eucalyptus trees on the Giacomini Ranch property near the Martinelli Ranch, which is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Thanks to a donation by a local member of the Point Reyes community, more than 200 small- and medium-sized Eucalyptus trees (mostly saplings) will be felled and, when possible, chipped and evenly redistributed within the work area. The chips decompose very rapidly and help to suppress establishment of other non-native species, including French broom. This removal of these invasive non-native trees will begin the process of restoring more than 0.6 acre of mesic coastal scrub and oak woodland/savannah habitat. It will also contribute to improving conditions for riparian habitat along the current Tomasini Creek channel by decreasing the amount of groundwater and surface water uptaken by Eucalyptus trees, which are heavy water users, according to Jordan Reeser of the Seashore’s Fire Management, who is heading the project.

On Saturday, August 23, Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) and the Seashore will be hosting the first of four field seminars on the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project. Saturday’s seminar will focus on construction methods and challenges in constructing wetland restoration projects and will be presented by Mark Cederborg, Project Manager for Hanford ARC for the Giacomini and Coastal Watershed Restoration Projects. In addition, there will be an update on status of the Giacomini construction project. All of the seminars will be open to the public at no cost. The workshops and seminars will meet at 10 a.m. at the corner of 5th and C Streets in Point Reyes Station.

Other Field Seminar Topics include:

  • Saturday, September 27: Challenges and opportunities in restoring estuarine wetlands and changes expected with the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project (Lorraine Parsons, Project Manager/Wetland Ecologist, Seashore);
  • Saturday, October 25: Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project: Dynamics of bird use (Jules Evens, Principal, Avocet Research Associates);
  • Saturday, November 22: Changing flow patterns and fish use in the Giacomini Restoration Area (Brannon Ketcham, Hydrologist/Water Resources Chief; Michael Reichmuth, Fisheries Biologist, Seashore).

Don Neubacher
Point Reyes National Seashore

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August 12, 2008

The full moon rises on Saturday, August 16 - the "Collect Food for Winter Moon" for the Haida of the Pacific north coast. A few daylight low tides arrive just before sunrise:

Saturday, August 16 5:21 am -0.3 feet sunrise at 6:27 am
Sunday, August 17 6:06 am -0.2 feet sunrise at 6:28 am
Monday, August 18 6:23 am 0.1 feet sunrise at 6:28 am

The best window for tidepooling is an hour before and an hour after the low.

It is a great time for all species to be collecting berries for immediate consumption, jams and pies, et al. Berries of all colors sizes and shapes are ripe! Not for humans - Snowberries (solid white) and clear pink jelly berries from the Honeysuckle vine are excellent bird snacks. Humans have huckleberries and various blackberries to pick - the tiny native California Blackberry; the larger Cut leaf and Armenian (formerly called the Himalaya berry) blackberries are all ripening along trails and roadsides.

The first signs of seasonal changes are here- brilliant splashes of scarlet Poison Oak vines along roadsides and the beginning of the Tule Elk rut at Tomales Point - bulls bugling and thrashing vegetation; large groups of females —harems—have formed.

Activity continues in the Muddy Hollow Trail area; biologists are netting fish from the ponds in anticipation of the dam removal; historically these ponds were maintained as animal watering holes and stocked with bass.

A busy calendar of free events in the park over the next few weeks:

Curious about the Giacomini wetlands project? The contractor from Hanford will be on hand at 5th and C streets at 10:00 a.m. on August 23rd to answer questions and lead a short walk through the site to explain the current state of the project. This talk is the first in a series that will continue in the fall covering birds, fish, wetlands ecology, etc. Large amounts of levee removal debris is stockpiled off Sir Francis Drake Highway on the west side of the marsh; awaiting removal to quarry sites in the park.

A special book signing and lecture on marine photography is scheduled for Saturday, August 16th at 12:30 p.m. at Bear Valley Visitor Center by Marc Shargel who will showing slides and signing copies of his new book "Wonders of the Sea, North Central California's Living Marine Riches."

Also on tap the Fall 2008 Ocean Film and Lecture Series begins on Thursday, August 21st with "Papa Tortuga" a film about one persons efforts in Veracruz Mexico to help save endangered Lora Sea turtles. It will be shown between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Red Barn Classroom at park headquarters.

Permits have been issued for a wedding at Limantour Beach on August 20th between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and also on August 23 between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Both are 50 or less people so no parking congestion is anticipated.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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