Enhancing and Caring for the Laguna
The Laguna de Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County California, is a biologically rich freshwater wetland complex which has retained much of its wildland character even as its surrounding neighborhoods have been converted to agriculture, commerce and housing. The Laguna has remained relatively strong and resilient in the face of severe pressures from habitat fragmentation, water pollution, floodplain encroachment, and urban development. Meanwhile, the general public perception of the area as a “wetlands jewel” has resulted in a widespread outpouring of public sentiment in support of its protection and restoration.
But a deeper look at the wetlands reveals a long list of ecological imbalances that portend a darker future. And the need for enhancing the Laguna becomes clearer when the historical record is examined—most notably the record of the land’s great fertility and its former abundance of wildlife and diversity of plant life. When compared to today’s remaining, simpler, less-diverse, plant and animal communities, the contrast is sharp—and a sanguine outlook for the future is not expected by simply sticking to the status quo.
Enhancing the Laguna
Enhancing the Laguna, by removing invasive plants, by planting native plants, by recontouring man-made water channels, and by reducing water pollutants, is a fundamental goal of the area’s citizens. Caring for the Laguna, by monitoring for changes, by wisely stewarding the land, by educating our children, by studying the ecological processes of the Laguna, and by enacting public policy, goes hand-in-hand with enhancement activities. Restoring and managing the Laguna—or Enhancing and Caring for the Laguna—are complementary sets of activities that together will strengthen the Laguna’s ability to reach a balanced state of flux and resiliency.
The entire management plan is available on the Laguna Knowledgebase as a series of downloadable PDF documents. This two volume report is also available for sale at the Laguna Store. If you prefer to pay by check, please download or print this order form brochure.
A Comprehensive Look
The need for a comprehensive look at the physical and biological functioning of the Laguna de Santa Rosa was defined in 2003 by the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, shortly after its publication—with the Sonoma Land Trust—of the Laguna Resource Atlas and Protection Plan. That publication represented a snapshot of the watershed’s then-existing data pertaining to endangered species, flooding, land use planning, and open space protection. The Atlas, in turn, had its genesis in an earlier publication, the Laguna Coordinated Resource Management Plan, prepared in 1995.
The latest look at the Laguna, by design, is intended to leverage the existing body of work, and to extend it through the concerted efforts of the Laguna’s broad community of stakeholders. This report, Enhancing and Caring for the Laguna, represents the findings and recommended courses of action to be taken towards the preservation, restoration, management and long-term monitoring of the Laguna’s natural resources, as defined by the stakeholder community.
This new look represents a different approach—a more active, ongoing, community-oriented approach—a way of making good decisions, based in science, balanced with the human needs of the citizenry, and most importantly, always forward-thinking.
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