2010 SRT Accomplishments!

December 20, 2010

Sequoia Riverlands Trust is proud to boast the following accomplishments that we made for conservation in the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley in 2010:


James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve - vernal pool tour

  • Completed a 5-year vernal pool restoration project at the James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve! Project funded by the Wildlife Conservation Board, Bureau of Reclamation and Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • We secured funding for 814 acres of new ag conservation (3 easements in 3 counties) and look forward to closing the deals in the early part of 2011
  • We are actively negotiating the conservation of 5,000 acres of ranchland, with grants pending on two properties. These conservation properties are part of a 43,000 conservation plan that has been developed by the Southern Sierra Partnership (The Nature Conservancy, California Audubon, Sierra Business Council, Tejon Ranch Conservancy and Sequoia Riverlands Trust
  • 342 volunteers gave more than 1,300 hours of their time to the cause of conservation (380% increase over 2009 – Great job to our dedicated volunteers!).

Students participate in a restoration project at Dry Creek Preserve

  • 868 underserved Tulare County students (grades K-6) attended curriculum-based field trips to Kaweah Oaks Preserve
  • 148 students (grades 7-12) participated in service learning projects for a total of 608 volunteer hours of habitat restoration on SRT preserves
  • 226 teachers of local at-risk youth were trained in curriculum-based environmental education (with a potential to reach more than 6,500 students!)
  • 125 nature-themed lesson plans posted to SRT website
  • 13 nature events took 476 people on guided hikes of SRT conservation land
  • 61% increase in new SRT membership (thank you to our new donors!!)
  • Brought 3 new events (5K Earth Day Trail Run at KOP, landscape photography contest, Kaweah Land & Arts Festival) to the community to collectively engage people in the importance of SRT’s mission to conserve the beauty and productivity of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley


Runners participate in the first 5K Earth Day Trail Run/Walk at Kaweah Oaks Preserve



Volunteers Restore Habitat at Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve

December 8, 2010

Vernal pool at Herbert Preserve

Last Saturday, thirty five volunteers rallied at Herbert Preserve and gathered in the misty morning with shovels in hand, ready and eager to get to work. The group was diverse—mothers, babies, grandparents, teachers, students, adults—everyone had come to restore the prairie wetlands. All together, they planted 600 plants that day to improve the preserve’s streamside habitat.

Herbert Preserve is one of the last remaining pieces of the natural valley floor. The land there has never been leveled or farmed, though it is currently grazed to promote native plant species.  It is home to spectacular and rare wildlife, such as the badger, golden eagle, and burrowing owl.

Every spring, vernal pools turn the preserve into a vibrant wonderland. Colorful rings of flowering plants surround the pools, which provided habitat for fairy shrimp and frogs. In other parts of the valley, these pools were lost to us when the ground was leveled. Vernal pools only form in the low points of the landscape’s natural undulations.

Special thanks to all of our volunteers! We would also like to thank the teachers from Redwood High School, Pro Youth/HEART, Mission Oak High School, and College of the Sequoia who encouraged their students to lend a hand.

Controlled Burn at James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve

June 8, 2010

controlled burn

Controlled burn at James K. Herbert Wetland Prairie Preserve

by Laura Childers, SRT Environmental Education Director

The James K. Herbert Wetlands Preserve is a special place. It is one of the few remaining pieces of the San Joaquin Valley grassland habitat that used to dominate our entire region. During the spring, vernal pools dot the landscape, housing rare species of plants and fairy shrimp. Burrowing owls are one of the rare wildlife species that abound in this habitat, along with the northern harrier and golden eagle.

Fire has long been a dominant force on the landscape here, and native plants have developed under its influence. The plants and their seeds are strengthened by the fire while the non-native plants from areas outside California are severely weakened or killed. Consequently, fires help propagate the California plants that we all know and love, such as the poppy and other native wildflowers.

The controlled burn at Herbert Preserve was organized by SRT’s biological consultant, Bobby Kamansky. With the aid of four energetic volunteers, we were able to successfully burn 150 acres of the preserve.

As you may imagine, the dry grass — dominantly non-natives originating from Spain and Italy — quickly caught fire. The fire crept along the grass, leaving behind a trail of scorched earth and the native spikeweed, which has lovely yellow flowers and thrives in the fire. It was very interesting to see the dry grass catch instantly while the native flower seemed almost untouched by it.

Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers! Teri, Jeanne, Luis, and Beth– you all are awesome!