Whenever we stand up for the environment, even when we don’t win on an issue, it reinforces the fact that we are going to be present to point out the needs of nature and potential legal challenges. Part of the success is simply showing up relentlessly to be a witness and advocate.
But in addition to being a high-profile “watchdog,” CSERC actually succeeds with many of our specific efforts.
Highlights of CSERC’s Successes in 2016
We visited 65 separate meadows to monitor livestock impacts – Staff monitored impacts to riparian vegetation and stream bank stability, as well as overall grazing use of the meadow grasses. When possible, meadows were visited before and after livestock were present.
CSERC staff took nearly 100 water quality samples from forest streams – Periodic water quality sampling following strict protocols was done as part of the Center’s efforts to detect sites where fecal coliform contamination posed a risk to recreational visitors in the local national forest.
Water quality data published in peer-reviewed journals led to the proposal to list five forest streams as impaired by bacteria under the Clean Water Act. Staff Biologist Lindsey Myers led water quality sampling under a State Water board approved protocol. Data collected in 2009 and 2010 were used to determine the forest streams warranted listing. If the USEPA approves the listing, mandatory monitoring and actions to correct the impairment would be required.
Over 200 participants helped complete 16 stewardship projects, improving 10 meadows and 13 creeks or rivers. Work ranged from planting conifer seedlings in severely burned areas of the Rim Fire to naturalizing and rerouting a trail around critical Yosemite toad habitat.
In 2016 CSERC celebrated a record-setting level of success in surveying for the rare Sierra Nevada red fox — getting proven photo detections at two areas in the Stanislaus Forest and another high elevation site in Yosemite Park.
Nearly 8000 students in the Central Valley and foothills got to experience slideshow presentations, educating and inspiring them to get to know their local wildlife and learn more about the water cycle and even the iconic Bald Eagle.
CSERC staff consistently provided a strong voice for nature in 4 regional collaborative group processes that affect vast portions of our region.
Our 5th annual Wildlife Photo contest yielded over 400 entries from 93 individuals whose photographs will be used in CSERC’s education and outreach materials.
CSERC celebrated 25 years this year with two major events – longtime members and significant donors enjoyed a beautiful dinner at Ironstone Vineyards, while the public was treated to a free presentation by John Muir performer Lee Stetson at the Sonora Opera Hall.
CSERC staff continue to engage in the planning process for Yosemite National Park’s new Wilderness Stewardship Plan, attending field sessions in Tuolumne Meadows and representing the only environmental group at the Wilderness Science Day in Yosemite Valley. We will keep advocating for Wilderness preservation every step of the way.