Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 18, 2020

How To Understand Natural Disasters In A Climate Change Age 

The  FiveThirtyEight reports on

climate scientists what they think the headlines get wrong or leave out. They offered four tips for thinking about natural disasters and climate change — tips they say can make the difference between feeling hopeless about the future and finding ways to change it.

Read story at  How To Understand Natural Disasters In A Climate Change Age | FiveThirtyEight

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2020

Henry Coe Wildflower Update 1/7/20

Henry Coe State Park has early January wildflowers in bloom. See what is currently flowering at the Pine Ridge Association website with photos and a list of flowers now in bloom at: Henry W. Coe – Wildflower Guide.



Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2020

What is a Tree Worth?


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2020

Winners of the 2019 Wiki Loves Earth photo contest

See the excellent photos fo the winners of the 2019 Wiki Loves Earth photo contest at Imagination becomes reality in the winners of the 2019 Wiki Loves Earth photo contest – Wikimedia Foundation

The Guardian reports

New Zealand’s famous kiwi birds are suffering from dehydration as drought affects many northern areas of the country, with conservationists warning chicks may soon perish too.

There are 68,000 kiwi left in New Zealand but their number is declining at a rate of 2% a year. A century ago there were millions but attacks by dogs, cats, possums, stoats and rats have led to a huge decline.

Read full article at  New Zealand’s drought and record-breaking hot summers putting kiwi birds at risk | World news | The Guardian

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 17, 2020

Stomach illness outbreak in Yosemite impacts 170 people

The SF Chronicle reports

An outbreak of a stomach illness continues to impact visitors and employees at Yosemite, and on Thursday the national park said it has received reports from 170 people who experienced gastrointestinal issues.

While there have been only two confirmed cases of norovirus, the park said in a statement, “The overwhelming majority of the reported cases are consistent with norovirus.”

Read full article at Stomach illness outbreak in Yosemite impacts 170 people – SFGate

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2020

More on Drones: New Federal Recreation Drone Laws

New Changes to Recreational Drone Flying in the United States

There’s a new law (PDF) that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Register your drone, mark it on the outside with the registration number (PDF), and carry proof of registration with you.
  2. Fly only for recreational purposes.
  3. Follow the safety guidelines of a community based organization.
  4. Fly your drone at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled or “Class G” airspace. This is airspace where the FAA is not controlling manned air traffic. To determine what type of airspace you are in, refer to the mobile application that operates your drone (if so equipped) and/or use other drone-related mobile applications. Knowing your location and what airspace you’re in will also help you avoid interfering with other aircraft.
  5. Do NOT fly in controlled airspace (around and above many airports) unless:
    1. You receive an airspace authorization for operations in controlled airspace through LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), before you fly. Learn more about approved LAANC UAS Service Suppliersfor recreational flyers.
    2. You are flying at a recreational flyer fixed site that has a written agreement with the FAA. The FAA has posted a list of approved sites (MS Excel) and has depicted them as blue dots on a map. Each fixed site is limited to the altitude shown on this map, which varies by location. Read More…
Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2020

Updated Anza-Borrego Wildflowers App

 Anza-Borrego Wildflowers Guide – Home announced

We released the updated Anza-Borrego Flower App for android V 1.90 build 2020_01_07.


  • Close to 1000 plant.
  • Many new photos, description and keys.
  • Fixed bugs.

Get app at

See sample at  Anza-Borrego Wildflowers Guide – Home


Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2020

 Great Backyard Bird Contest Photo 2019 Winners and enter for 2020

See the winners of the 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count Photo Contest and entry information for 2020 at  2019 Contest | GBBC

Tips for Great Bird Photos

To get primed to submit award-winning photos for GBBC 2020, we’re passing along some tips from an expert. According to nature photographer and naturalist Liron Gertsman, taking great photos and advancing bird conservation can go hand-in-hand. Take a look at his tips and photos on the Birds Canada blog.

Audubon also has some excellent photography tips to share. Get your cameras ready for a picturesque GBBC!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 16, 2020

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Plan to Frack, Drill California Public Lands

Center for Biological Diversity News Release

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Plan to Frack, Drill 1 Million Acres of California Public Lands, Minerals

LOS ANGELES— Conservation groups sued the Trump administration today challenging the last step in the administration’s plan to allow oil drilling and fracking on more than 1 million acres of public lands and minerals in Central California.

Today’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, says the Bureau of Land Management violated federal law by failing to consider fracking’s potential harm to public health and recreation in the region, as well as harm to the climate and possible groundwater and air pollution. The suit also notes the potential for oil-industry-induced earthquakes.

The BLM plan would allow drilling and fracking on public lands across eight counties in California’s Central Valley and Central Coast: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2020

Drone Policies for Public Lands

East Bay Regional Parks
The East Bay Regional Park District reminds park visitors that drones – motorized, remote-controlled aircraft – are illegal in all parks and open space areas in the District.

San Francisco Drone Policy

Under the SFRPD Drone Policy, the Department may use drones for the following purposes only: (1) construction management; (2) environmental monitoring and documentation; (3) inspections; (4) emergency response; (5) search and rescue; (6) disaster response and recovery; (7) marketing; and (8) mapping and surveying.

Marin County Parks
AVIATION DEVICES: No model airplanes, drones, or any self-propelled crafts are allowed on District lands.

Unmanned Aircraft in California State Parks
Drones are currently allowed in State Parks, State Beaches, State Historic Parks, State Recreational Areas, and State Vehicular Recreation Areas except where prohibited by a District Superintendent’s posted order. Posted orders may prohibit drones for numerous reasons, including: protection of threatened species; threats to cultural and natural resources; high fire danger; public safety; recreational conflicts; impacts upon visitor experience privacy; and park unit classification. Therefore, drone users should always check with their local State Park District for any specific posted orders.

Drones in California State Wilderness Areas, Natural Preserves, and Cultural Preserves: State Park regulations prohibit the use of motorized equipment (including UASs) within wilderness areas, cultural preserves, and natural preserves (Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, § 4351.) Therefore, drone users should always check the designation of the park unit before operating a drone.

Recreational Drones: California State Parks recommends that recreational drone users check with their local State Park District before operating a UAS within a State Park. Each park unit may have its own posted orders. Even absent a posted order on drones, it is within the discretion of park staff to contact drone operators when drones threaten visitors, property, wildlife, or privacy. If a drone operator continues to fly in a dangerous or reckless manner, they may be asked to stop flying and remove the drone from park boundaries.

National Park Policy on Drones
However, due to serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft can have for safety of visitors, staff, and wildlife, they have been restricted in all but a few parks.
Unless an unmanned aircraft pilot obtains special permission through the FAA, use of unmanned aircraft must remain line of sight. In addition, although they do not directly address unmanned aircraft, the following existing 36 CFR sections may apply under certain circumstances.

  • If the unmanned aircraft pursuits or harasses wildlife or creates an intentional disturbance of wildlife nesting, breeding, or other activities, the user could be cited for a violation of 36 C.F.R. § 2.2.


Nevada State Parks
Nevada does have a rule saying that drones are prohibited in all Nevada State Parks.  A Part 107 operator may obtain a commercial use permit (FAQ).

Can you Fly a Drone in Parks, National Forests, and Wilderness Areas
Where You Can & Can’t Fly a Drone

  • National Parks Service – PROHIBITED
  • State Parks – IT DEPENDS
  • National Forests – YES, MOST OF THE TIME
  • Wilderness Areas – PROHIBITED
  • Recreation Areas – DEPENDS

If you are aware of any drones violating these policies or threatening wildlife I encourage you to report the behavior to the appropriate rangers.

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2020

The Faces of Extinction: The Species We Lost in 2019

The Revelator reports on species We Lost in 2019

Three bird species, two frogs, a shark, a famous snail and one of the world’s largest freshwater fish were among those declared extinct this year.

Read more at The Faces of Extinction: The Species We Lost in 2019 • The Revelator

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2020

Oldest material on Earth discovered 

The BBC reports

Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth.

They found dust grains within the space rock – which fell to Earth in the 1960s – that are as much as 7.5 billion years old.

The oldest of the dust grains were formed in stars that roared to life long before our Solar System was born.

Read more at  Oldest material on Earth discovered – BBC News

NPR reports

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, says that it will now make climate change central to its investment considerations. And not just for environmental reasons — but because it believes that climate change is reshaping the world’s financial system.

Read article at  World’s Largest Asset Manager Puts Climate At The Center Of Its Investment Strategy | Nevada Public Radio

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2020

Birding Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary 1/7/20

On January 7 I went birding at Elsie Roemer.  Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of Marsh Beach in the town of Alameda. It harbors aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. It was as the high tide was going out. There were very large numbers of shorebirds, which is what makes this one of the Bay Area’s top shorebird areas. We saw 29 different species.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click Read more to see today’s bird list

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2020

Drones in the Wildlife Protection Areas – Updated

Through further research I learned that Heron’s Head is a Port of San Francisco Recreation Area and managed by San Francisco Parks and Recreation. Both the Port and SF Parks and Recreation have bans on drones and were informed of the violations of drone policy.

To see original article click read more

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 14, 2020

Coyotes Of Tilden Regional Park

Berkeleyside recently had a short article and series of photographs on the Coyotes of Tilden Park at Coyotes are cavorting in Tilden Regional Park — Berkeleyside

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2020

Field Science Fellowship

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2020

Job Opening: Samuel P. Taylor State Park Park Aides

NOW HIRING | Come work for California State Parks!

Samuel P. Taylor State Park is looking to hire part-time and full-time Park Aides. This is a seasonal, 9-month position and works under the supervision of the State Park Ranger. As a Park Aide, your role is based in visitor services, so you will often be the first person visitors come into contact with at the State Park. This is an excellent role for someone just starting out their career in the parks system or looking to make a change to employment in the outdoor field. See the attached flyer for full details.

TO APPLY: Email with your resume and a completed version of the STD 678 form located here:

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 13, 2020

Tortoise with species-saving sex drive returns to Galápagos


The BBC reports

A giant tortoise whose legendary libido has been credited with saving his species from extinction is to return to the wild on the Galápagos Islands.

Diego was among 14 male tortoises selected to take part in a breeding programme on Santa Cruz Island.

The programme has been a success, producing more than 2,000 giant tortoises since it began in the 1960s.

Diego’s sex drive was said to be one of the main reasons.

Read more at Tortoise with species-saving sex drive returns to Galápagos – BBC News

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 12, 2020

District Court Ruling Endangers National Parks

National Parks Conservation Association reports

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling in National Parks Conservation Association’s lawsuit regarding Dominion Energy’s massive, illegally permitted Surry-Skiffes Creek transmission line project in the James River.

The court granted defendants’ (Dominion Energy and the US Army Corps of Engineers) motion for remand without vacatur. Despite disobeying the law by building this project without a legally mandated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, Dominion will not lose its permit for the project, pending an ongoing EIS process ordered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Read more at District Court Ruling Endangers National Parks, Historic Jamestown · National Parks Conservation Association

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2020

Birding Heron’s Head 1/11/20

Rock Sandpiper

Today I went birding at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco with several people from my Masterbirders’ program and friends. The highlight of the day was seeing a Rock Sandpiper, which is a new life bird for me. We identified 55 species. Our goal had been to get more than 53 species as a friend had seen 53 species yesterday.


Click Read more to see today’s bird list.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2020

Stomach illness outbreak hits Yosemite National Park

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

In Yosemite National Park, people are reportedly falling ill left and right with stomach flu-like symptoms. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, at least a dozen people have reported gastrointestinal symptoms, launching an investigation by The National Park Service and the U.S. Public Health Service into the origin of the illness.

Federal health officials are now thoroughly inspecting the park’s food service facilities, including at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, which was recently downgraded from four to three out of five diamonds in AAA’s rating system.

Read more at  Stomach illness outbreak hits Yosemite National Park

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 11, 2020

42 Acres on North Fork American River Permanently Protected

Placer Land Trust reports

Placer Land Trust has permanently protected the 42-acre Loera-Harvey North Fork Preserve on the North Fork American River near Weimar. Located between Yankee Jim’s Bridge and Sore Finger Point, the property is a mixture of conifer and hardwood forests, and includes approximately 1/4 mile of river frontage on both sides of the river. The preserve is permanently protected by a Conservation Easement donated by landowners David Loera and Alison Harvey.

Read more at 42 Acres on North Fork American River Permanently Protected – Placer Land Trust

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 10, 2020

Trove of New Bird Species Found on Remote Indonesian Islands

The New York Times reports

Researchers found 10 new species and subspecies of songbirds off the coast of Sulawesi, with distinct songs and genetics from known birds.

Most of the 10 new birds discovered in Wallacea are related to species found elsewhere, but they sing somewhat different songs and have distinct genetics.

The new findings highlight the need to catalog and conserve biological diversity, said Jonathan Kennedy, an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Sheffield, who wrote a commentary that ran with the new study.

Read full story at Trove of New Bird Species Found on Remote Indonesian Islands – The New York Times

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2020

Help digitize Northern Cardinal nest records on Nest Quest Go!

from Project Feederwatch

Nest Quest Go! is officially launching its Northern Cardinal project on Zooniverse tomorrow. This collection of almost 4,000 Northern Cardinal nest records is the 8th project to be transcribed in an ongoing effort to digitize historical nest records from the Cornell Lab’s Nest Record Card Program which ran from the 1960s to the early 2000s. Join in the fun and see nesting data for these colorful winter wonders, collected by devoted citizen scientists like you. Zooniverse is easy to use and does not require creating a username or password. A couple of transcriptions a day goes a long way in helping us access more data that can be used to help protect birds. Transcribe today!

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 9, 2020

Interior Department Accelerates Public Lands Giveaway

National Parks Conservation Association reports

“National parks could be next on the chopping block. Today’s move by the Interior Department poses a real and immediate threat to national parks in Utah and across the West.”

Read more  Interior Department Accelerates Public Lands Giveaway · National Parks Conservation Association

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 8, 2020

Positions Available: Sierra Corps Forestry Fellowship Program

Application period now open! Scroll down to see Host Sites

Interested in a career in forestry? Love the Sierra and want to help conserve and restore Sierra forests? Apply to join the Sierra Corps Forestry Fellowship Program!

Sierra Corps is a Forestry Fellowship program implemented by the Sierra Nevada Alliance that aims to increase workforce capacity for forest health restoration and biomass utilization projects in the Sierra.  Fellows will bring their education, skills, and expertise to engage in paid 10 month fellowships that provide assistance in assessment, planning, project permitting, project management, grant writing, technical assessment or monitoring and other essential forest restoration implementation tasks.

Read More…

Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 8, 2020

Conservation group buys Alder Creek giant sequoia grove 

The LA Times reported

Save the Redwoods League raised nearly $16 million — more than half of it in four months — to close a deal for 530 acres of the Alder Creek Grove of giant sequoias.

The century-old conservation group took title to the Sierra Nevada property on Dec. 30, realizing a long-held dream of acquiring the world’s largest private holding of the world’s largest trees.

Read more at Conservation group buys Alder Creek giant sequoia grove – Los Angeles Times

Vox reports

The number of kangaroos, koalas, and others killed keeps skyrocketing.

Here’s where the eye-popping estimate comes from.As fires continue to rip through Australia, some devastating numbers are emerging: At least 24 people killed. More than 15.6 million acres torched. Over 1,400 homes destroyed. And, according to one biodiversity expert’s count, an estimated 1 billion animals killed.

Read more at  How many animals died in Australia fires? 1 billion, experts estimate. – Vox

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