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Archive for the 'Ecosystem' Category

U.S. Army attacks endangered desert tortoises

Army declares war on endangered reptiles to make room for war games

Scientists have begun moving the Mojave Desert’s flagship species, the desert tortoise, to make room for tank training at the Army’s Fort Irwin despite protests by conservationists.

The controversial project, billed as the largest desert tortoise move in California history, involves transferring 770 endangered reptiles from Army land to a dozen public plots overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Army said it needs an extra 131,000 acres to accommodate faster tanks and longer-range weapons used each month to train some 4,000 troops.
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Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008
Under: Desert Tortoises, Ecosystem | 5 Comments »

DVC hosts Eco-Fair, Oct. 18 — free info & free stuff

Diablo Valley College Eco-Fair, Thursday, Oct. 18, 9:45 a.m.–2 p.m., between the Library and the Learning Center.

Learn how you can make your life “greener” and help fight global warming.

DVC is located at 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill. The Eco-Fair is sponsored by the Sustainability Committee.

** Get one of a couple thousand compact fluorescent light kits to be given away to the community by Pacific Gas & Electric.

** Gather transit information from the County Connection.

** See demonstrations and get information about water conservation from representatives of the Contra Costa Water District.

** Allied Waste will be there to promote recycling and a “Recycle Mania” contest that DVC will be entering.

** Learn about saving the green — both environmental and the cash kind — and about the DVC solar panel project to generate power on campus.

** Learn about the campaign to save Mount Diablo, and gain some good gardening information from the DVC horticulture staff.

And it’s also a great opportunity to get out and enjoy both the fall weather and the Diablo Valley College campus.

For more information, contact Holly Kresch at 925-685-1230 ext. 2825 or Lyn Krause, 925-685-1230 ext. 2518.

Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2007
Under: Ecosystem | No Comments »

Loss of habitat

Dear Gary,
What is going on in the foothills west of Dublin, north of 580? What a mess! The mountains are being transformed drastically. It looks like a strip mining area! Green valleys where hundred of old oaks once stood, are completely trenched out! Lush green areas in these small valleys are bulldozed to death. Areas where foxes made homes and deer would graze and rest, are gone. I’ve seen small deer standing on the freeway eating green grasses, forced there because of the destruction of their habitat.

Who did the environment impact study on this one? (John Braucht in cyberspace)

Dear John:
It’s called development. As it appears in Webster’s New World Dictionary, "development" is defined as, "a step or stage in growth, advancement."

Sadly, the words "destruction of habitat" don’t appear anywhere in that definition.

Who wrote the EIR for the project? Not the deer or the foxes or all the other wild creatures that got evicted one bright sunny day, just ahead of the bulldozers. Screaming is permitted.

Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006
Under: Ecosystem, Habitat | No Comments »

Preserving our vital open spaces

As many times over the years as I’ve tried to help the local land trusts raise funds to buy or manage and preserve new pieces of open space, I’m still always amazed at the immediate positive response I get from people and businesses throughout the local community. In 2002 I tried to raise $61,000 in 8 weeks to pay off the loan the Muir Heritage Land Trust used to purchase the 80-acre Gustin Ranch Open Space near Martinez, CA. Would you believe 1,225 donors sent in $75,838? That magnificent response really says something about how we all feel about preserving the fragile open spaces near our backyards!

So now we’re off and running to help the Land Trust deal with another vital piece of local open space, the 700-acre Fernandez Ranch property. This is an extraordinary stretch of West Contra Costa’s natural landscape, stretching from Alhambra Valley north to Highway 4, off Christie Road. You can see it when you drive from Martinez to Hercules along Highway 4, off to the left behind the Franklin Canyon Golf Course.

At the end of the first week, the Trust has received 33 donations for a total of $5,075! Not a bad start, really. That means just $44,925 to go. My goal is to reach this figure by April 9. Then the Land Trust will schedule a weekend gathering for all the donors on the Fernandez Ranch so we can celebrate and thank everyone for making it happen.

Buying and preserving our last remaining open spaces is the only way we can preserve and protect them from becoming parking lots or new housing developments. In the words of one of this week’s donors, we need to “help balance our existing community with publicly accessible open space."

I’m sure our myriad local wild creatures also appreciate that we’re making sure they will always have a place to live. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2006
Under: Animals, Ecosystem, Open space, Wildlife | No Comments »

Let’s do it!

I need your help.

We must come up with $6,250 a week for the next eight weeks so the Muir Heritage Land Trust can raise $50,000 to support the process of opening the 700-acre Fernandez Ranch property to the public.

This beautiful historic ranch is the Trust’s most recent purchase. As responsible land stewards, they need to make the property safe so you can enjoy it. This means restoring eroded sections of Rodeo Creek, replacing a large bridge destroyed by flooding, and building a staging area to provide safe parking for visitors. Grant funding will hopefully pay for most of the big construction costs.

This process will take about two years to finish, but they can’t do anything until we raise the money to pay for their operation needs (day-to-day expenses) and help them get started.

The Fernandez Ranch is an extraordinary piece of West Contra Costa’s natural landscape, stretching from Alhambra Valley north to Highway 4, off Christie Road. You can see it when you drive from Martinez to Hercules along Highway 4, off to the left behind the Franklin Canyon Golf Course.

"We" is you, me, school kids, businesses, foundations — anyone who cares anything about preserving open spaces. No donation is too small (or too big!). Please send your tax-deductible donation to: Muir Heritage Land Trust, Fernandez Ranch Adventure, P.O. Box 2452, Martinez, CA 94553. Let’s do it!

Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
Under: Creeks, Ecosystem, Open space | No Comments »

Is There Wildlife in Your Backyard Ecosystem?

Do you have wild creatures (birds, opossums, skunks, raccoons, wild turkeys, etc.) prowling around or living in your backyard? Sure you do. That’s why I’m writing this.

Please grab your cameras, take pictures of your wild visitors and send them to me. I’m writing a front page story about your wild neighbors for a Sunday early next year (not far away) and would like to use your photographs to illustrate it. Wouldn’t that be fun? It will also be more natural.

I know a lot of you are already taking these kinds of pictures because you often send them to me. So now we need to get serious about it. I’ll explain more about my plans, including deadlines and the publication date, as I figure them out.

Start shooting away now and post your photos in our Contra Costa Times Pets & Wildlife reader photoblog at You may post your photos anonymously. However, if you’d like us to consider using your shots in my story, please either register and login before submitting your photos or, if you do post anonymously, send me a separate e-mail ( to let me know which image you’ve submitted. If you don’t do e-mail, mail your photos to: Gary Bogue, c/o The Times, 2640 Shadelands Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

Be sure and hold onto an original digital or film copy of any photos you submit. Thanks!

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2005
Under: Animals, Ecosystem, Raccoons, wild birds, wild turkeys, Wildlife, Yard | 6 Comments »