migratory bird species. We monitor the stability of levee systems that surround our wetland areas and the surrounding private landscape, and we are often asked to be a part of local levee boards due to our role as water consumers.
Moist Soil Management
We use a variety of methods to try and simulate the conditions that existed before European settlement to annually re-create wetland habitat. Most of these efforts are referred to as moist soil management — the act of drawing water down on a wetland area to stimulate moist soil seeds into germination. Native wetland plants that grow from these seeds provide food and cover for a variety of wildlife. From time to time, we will reset the succession of these pools by mowing, spraying, or burning them. Another common technique is soil disturbance. This helps rotate nutrients and seeds from lower depths back to the surface, stimulating another round of moist soil vegetation growth. Placing pools into an agricultural crop rotation can also help achieve soil disturbance goals.
Moist soil management requires good access to water, which is challenging in drought years, or if pumps malfunction. Flooding is also a problem, though, because wetland soils hold on to water. However, these areas also serve as important flood barriers — wetland plants use water to grow, and can prevent more flooding damage by soaking water up like a sponge.
Involving and Serving the Public
Wetland area staff often interact with students and the public and participate in partnerships with the local community. We help with outreach efforts and our facilities are sometimes used for hunter education courses or other outreach opportunities. We are often asked to serve on civic committees or with area schools. Many of our areas are used by hunting dog clubs for field trials. At Eagle Bluffs CA, one of our primary goals is to involve the public and our nongovernment organization partners as much as possible. A good example is outside our headquarters building, where a native plant garden was established and is maintained by the Boone’s Lick Chapter of the Master Naturalists. Other examples of projects include:
Wood Duck Boxes At Eagle Bluffs CA, we maintain wood duck nesting boxes and check them for the previous year’s successful hatches, as well as any repairs that need to be addressed. This is a great activity for volunteers, and we typically have plenty of people come