We have the opportunity to decide as a community to restore the Laguna together. We hope you will be as inspired by the Laguna as we are and become involved.
A Starting Point - Laguna Restoration & Management Plan
The Foundation has completed the Laguna Ecosystem Restoration & Management Plan which frames the Foundation’s vision and provides a "blueprint" for improving the Laguna’s ecological function and wildlife habitat. In 2007 we began fine-tuning and implementing the plan.
Healthy Streams And Riparian Forests - Preparing For Climate Change
The consensus of Bay Area scientists and environmental experts at the 2009 State of the Laguna Conference was that enhancing the function of our creeks and waterways and restoring riparian forests throughout Sonoma County is one of the most important things we can do to minimize the predicted impacts of climate change and the associated increase in floods, droughts and species extinctions. We now know that restoring the Laguna is not just something we would like to do, it is something we must do! Restoring riparian forests along the Laguna and Sonoma County creek channels will help decrease erosion, increase water quality, and enhance habitat connectivity to facilitate wildlife movement under changing conditions.
Why We Are Restoring Oak Woodlands
The Laguna de Santa Rosa, like most areas of California, has lost a very large percentage of its oak woodlands and the benefits they provide. Oaks are a keystone species in the Laguna, offering wildlife nesting, feeding, hiding and hunting sites. They also host the largest species diversity of any habitat in California. At least 100 bird species use oaks for food and domicile, and mammals use oak habitat for shelter and food. More than 80 species of reptiles and amphibians are found in oak communities, many using the rich leaf litter to stay concealed or find prey.
A typical valley oak lives about 300 years. They take up to 50 years to reach reproductive maturity, and slowly die over the last 100 years of their life. Many of the oaks in the Laguna are in their last 100 years, but alterations in flood regimes and surrounding land uses have limited their reproduction. The result is hundreds of majestic old trees dying without offspring. If we want oaks in the future, we must plant more now.
Oaks are also good carbon sinks because they live a long time, become massive, and each tree can produce many more trees with acorns which are transported by birds, mammals and floodwater to new locations. Oak woodlands slow floodwaters, and their root systems help recharge groundwater. As a result, planting oaks is a way to mitigate climate change.
The Big Ludwigia Problem We Need To Solve
A serious mosquito abatement challenge and threat to wildlife habitat is posed by the non-native invasive water primrose, also known as Ludwigia. This aquatic plant, which originates from South America, grows mainly along shallow areas of the Laguna’s main channel and tributary creeks. Large mats of this plant pose a barrier to migrating steelhead and other fish, and its bacterial decomposition threatens oxygen-dependent wildlife in the water. The Foundation is working with USDA-ARS researchers and local agencies to find a long-term solution to the problem.
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