Throughout 2018 wildfires burned through the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region. Literally thousands of acres of wildlife habitat were directly impacted by the blazes, or indirectly impacted by smoke which affected the regional air quality, and falling ash which muddied lakes, rivers and streams.
Of the many fires that impacted the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region this year, the ones that had the most impact on our region were the Pawnee Fire (Lake County), the County Fire (Napa and Yolo county, and the Mendocino Complex Fire (Lake, Mendocino, Colusa and Glenn Counties).
The Pawnee Fire burned through 15,185 acres and included the fragile Walker Ridge area. The County Fire burned through 90,288 acres around the east side of Lake Berryessa.
The larger Mendocino Complex fire burned through 404,532 acres and includes the Ranch and River Fires. This fire is the largest wildfire in the history of California. Within the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region, the greatest impact of this fire is the damage it’s done in the Snow Mountain Wilderness (which is wholly contained within the boundaries of the national monument). Tuleyome’s Silver Spur Ranch property in the heart of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and adjacent to the East Park Reservoir was completely inundated by the fire.
In response to the destruction, Tuleyome intends to do an on-the-ground assessment of areas impacted by the wildfires where we know (or have reason to suspect) there are resident populations of American Black Bears (Ursus americanus), Mountain Lions (Puma concolor), and endemic Tule Elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes), and start the work necessary to restore habitat vital to those species. Restoration efforts may include, but will not be limited to, restoring trails and other points of access to make it easier to get personnel and equipment into the selected areas, clearing of fallen trees and brush, replanting native plant species, soil stabilization and erosion control, eradicating invasive plant species, in-stream habitat work, and other related efforts.
It is our intention to use primarily staff members, volunteers, naturalist program participants and citizen scientists to assist with the assessments, and the restoration work that will follow. However, where feasible, we will also work with our partners in the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other entities such as the national Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) and the regional Firescape Mendocino to conduct the assessments and rally personnel and support.
Phase One will be field assessments of the burned areas and selecting those sites we can most effectively restore. Phase Two will consist of the actual restoration work and creating a long-term management plan to better protect the selected sites from further wildfire damage.
Tuleyome has a long 15+ year history of doing important conservation work in the region and was the organization that spearheaded the campaign to have the Berryessa Snow Mountain region designated as a National Monument. 2018 marks the first time that Tuleyome and the Sacramento Zoo have joined forces to conserve, enhance and restore important wildlife habitat in the region.
Working with the Sacramento Zoo
On July 26, 2018 the Sacramento Zoo’s Conservation Fund awarded Tuleyome with a grant for $3500. The grant funds were used to purchase field equipment for use in Tuleyome’s Certified California Naturalist program, citizen science projects, and other environmental field related studies.
This grant supplied by the Sacramento Zoo was part of its small grants program which sets aside money for projects that aim to save wild animals and wild places. The Sacramento Zoo Conservation Committee meets at least quarterly and applications are reviewed on a rolling calendar throughout the year. Tuleyome’s award of $3500 was a result of the 2018 grant cycle.
On September 6, 2018 the Sacramento Zoo awarded Tuleyome with a second larger grant from their Quarters for Conservation Program. This grant is targeted toward habitat restoration in the region in the wake of this year’s wildfires in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument region and is in addition to the smaller grant given to Tuleyome by the zoo in July of this year to purchase field equipment for citizen science projects related to Tuleyome’s Certified California Naturalist program.
The zoo’s Quarters for Conservation grant will cover a two-year span, 2019 through 2021, and funding will be awarded in multiple payments which may reach up to $30,000 in total. Some of the funding will be based on a percentage of the votes cast by members of the public at the wishing wells in the front of the zoo throughout the grant period, starting in January of 2019.
The Quarters for Conservation program is a facet of the Sacramento Zoo’s commitment to conservation. It supports exciting field conservation projects both locally and around the globe. As patrons enter the zoo, they receive a token (“quarter”). The token enables them to vote for a conservation project of their choice, and the number of tokens collected helps the zoo to determine how much funding each project receives. Guests have an opportunity to learn more about the projects and cast their vote at the “wishing wells” in the zoo’s Entry Plaza.
CLICK HERE to download a PDF with more information.
How to Keep Up With This Project and/or
Become a Habitat Restoration Volunteer
We have set up a blog to track our progress with the projects funded in part by the Sacramento Zoo Conservation Fund and the zoo's Quarters for Conservation Program. Entries will appear with the most recent post first, and others following in reverse chronological order. This is a "citizen science" project and members of the public are welcome to participate if they'd like to. For more information about this project and to volunteer fill out the form to the right or email Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.