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  1. TopTop #1

    Wildlife Corridors for West County

    I'm relatively new (three years) to the Bloomfield/Baker Lane neighborhood and acutely aware of the impact our increased human population and our agricultural fences are having on our wildlife, specifically the deer population.

    In conversation, I hear neighbors referring to deer as,"rats with long legs," and are ready to get the shotgun out, while others, "don't mind them, but just want them to stay away from my vegetable garden." All seem to agree that we've been seeing more deer in our backyard this year and that, "something should be done."

    I've been doing research with local agencies: CA Fish and Wildlife (formerly Game), Sonoma Land Trust, SoCo Fish and Wildlife and Laguna Wetlands to determine if there is a coalition working toward preserving corridors and safe havens for the animals in west county. To date, it appears that there isn't and that each agency refers me to the next. I know that there is good work going on in the Sonoma Valley through the Land Trust. Also on my list to contact is OAEC, however I think their current emphasis is on bringing back the beaver.

    If anyone has any information on any groups that have come together in the past or are currently working to address this issue, I would appreciate it.

    I think it's possible for neighbors to create corridors within their neighborhoods as long as we are aware of the migrating/living patterns of the animals and work together to assure as little obstruction as possible. If a natural corridor is blocked, can we mitigate a new passageway? Despite the urban sprawl into the countryside, I see relatively large swaths of open space, which can possibly be designated as space preserved for wildlife routes.
    If you'd like to work with me on this project, let me know.

    Thanks,
    AnnMarie
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  2. TopTop #2
    Magick's Avatar
    Magick
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    AnnMarie, Thank you for stepping up! This is activism at its best! When we learn about something that is right in front of our eyes and it calls us, that is the time to answer and get to work!
    I suggest you contact the Sonoma County Water Coalition, SCWC that meets once a month and has worked on these issues. You could contact Janus Matthes. It is a coalition of over 25 north bay organizations.
    PM me for contact info.
    In Solidarity, Magick

    Quote AnnMarie Ginella wrote: View Post
    ... we've been seeing more deer in our backyard this year and that, "something should be done."

    I've been doing research with local agencies: CA Fish and Wildlife (formerly Game), Sonoma Land Trust, SoCo Fish and Wildlife and Laguna Wetlands to determine if there is a coalition working toward preserving corridors and safe havens for the animals in west county. T...
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  4. TopTop #3
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Quote AnnMarie Ginella wrote: View Post
    I'm relatively new (three years) to the Bloomfield/Baker Lane neighborhood and acutely aware of the impact our increased human population and our agricultural fences are having on our wildlife, specifically the deer population. ...
    are you sure they need corridors? Just because they're showing up in more neighborhoods doesn't mean it's because they're trapped. It seems likely that there are just more deer. I do see some areas that are in effect becoming cul-de-sacs for them, but that doesn't seem to correlate with where I see more deer.
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  6. TopTop #4
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    More vineyards mean more fences and less open land for deer to move through. It's certainly more of something and I'd hope we'd look first at development. A friend who lives on Dupont outside of Occidental knows about this first hand as across the road from her an older vineyard was purchased and now a fence surrounds it. Deer caught inside fences have hell's own time getting out and are often shot as intruders/vermin.

    Corridors in trafficked areas, yes, because the county is relentlessly growing; take down the fences so critters can move freely in areas once inhabited solely by them. Colonization much?

    dian
    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    are you sure they need corridors? ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-04-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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  8. TopTop #5
    Magick's Avatar
    Magick
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Yes to everything Dian said and AnnMarie proposed. These wise women know what they're talking about.
    Quote sealwatcher wrote: View Post
    More vineyards mean more fences and less open land for deer to move through. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-04-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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  10. TopTop #6
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Quote sealwatcher wrote: View Post
    ...take down the fences so critters can move freely in areas once inhabited solely by them. Colonization much?
    they are quite the colonizers, them and coyotes. The balance isn't what it was before the land bridge rose during the ice age. Lucky for them, there are fewer smiledons too.

    some critters don't colonize well, like bears and cougar, and they benefit from corridors. Even salamanders do - they can't get across 116 without some help. But deer?? there's not much natural about our population of deer. Their needs are being over-met if anything.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-04-2017 at 01:57 PM.
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  12. TopTop #7

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    A resident of Sonoma County for 45 years, I've seen a decrease in the deer population that used to roam the non-deer-fenced, less populated countrysides. I'd be curious to hear from Fish and Wildlife on any tracking numbers over the last five decades.

    When I speak of preserving and/or creating wildlife corridors, I would want to include all the critters that are impacted by a countryside that is becoming increasingly fenced to protect agricultural interests and further populated by our human sprawl.

    I think we can agree that there are more people and more fences, which would lead to...more confused deer in places where deer are normally not seen. Deer are migratory and if their migration course is altered, if their habitat is destroyed, what do they do?

    We might even agree that it's important to maintain a diversity of creatures, crops and characters in our land. Finding a way to live in unison with all the creatures and preserving that diversity, is the intent here. If you have some constructive ideas, I'd appreciate them.
    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    ...some critters don't colonize well, like bears and cougar, and they benefit from corridors. Even salamanders do ...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-04-2017 at 02:00 PM.
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  14. TopTop #8
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    I so appreciate your clarity, Bellaginella. My forty two years in county show me the exact same thing as you see. My earlier comment "Colonization much?" referred to our species' practice of taking over land and removing, extirpating, killing, enslaving or otherwise decimating the original inhabitants. All this because we could or because we have a god-given mandate to do so. I urge a more complete understanding of this habit of ours, now that our mandate is wine and more housing for those others drawn to this place for its once true beauty.
    Quote bellaginella1 wrote: View Post
    A resident of Sonoma County for 45 years, I've seen a decrease in the deer population that used to roam the non-deer-fenced, less populated countrysides...
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  16. TopTop #9
    Magick's Avatar
    Magick
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Definitely want to watch out for those deer colonizers, they just come in cut down forests, poison the land with pesticides, create mono-cultures for themselves, yep, deers needs are definitely overmet.
    Quote podfish wrote: View Post
    they are quite the colonizers, them and coyotes. ... there's not much natural about our population of deer. Their needs are being over-met if anything.
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  18. TopTop #10
    santoshimatajaya's Avatar
    santoshimatajaya
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Much appreciate this concern AnnMarie, and yes, if i can be of any use / help, i'd like to try~
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  20. TopTop #11
    Goat Rock Ukulele's Avatar
    Goat Rock Ukulele
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    There are far more deer at my place on the outskirts of Graton then there were 30 years ago. This is because the grape growers have fenced off large areas and because the apple growers used to shoot them.
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  22. TopTop #12
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    sealwatcher
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Also due to the extirpation of large predators and hunting. Heavy take in hunting season is known to create twinning in fawns. Colonization much?

    Quote Goat Rock Ukulele wrote: View Post
    There are far more deer at my place on the outskirts of Graton then there were 30 years ago. This is because the grape growers have fenced off large areas and because the apple growers used to shoot them.
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  23. TopTop #13
    rossmen
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Wildlife corridors are really important, i live next to one, an underpass from the laguna to various uplands over to the atascadero watershed. Deer jump but other impacts throttle the wild even more than fences. When we think this way, how can the wild have pathways through the world, we move beyond self interest, even human self interest. Yeah deer will eat my garden, coyotes and bobcats will devour the chickens, cougar and bears will munch the goats, and the ten pound poodles i have for doorbells, bedwarmers, and to harass the vineyard turkeys will just be snacks, but what right do l have to denigh the wild?
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  25. TopTop #14
    Barton Stone's Avatar
    Barton Stone
    Supporting member

    Human Supremacy?

    Thank you, AnnMarie, for opening this conversation.

    We have to make this place be good for the other forms of life, because if it's not good for them, it's not going to be good for us either. Think of the bees and the salmon, for instance.

    Imagine the whole world as a wildlife refuge in which we are in-holders. No special privileges. Many mutually beneficial relationships, but no assumption that the human must win in any conflicting one.

    I think the notion of human supremacy is central to our present dilemma of relentless destruction, and makes about as much sense as the notions of white supremacy or male supremacy.

    Let's give up the idea that we are entitled to strip the landscape of everything that does not fit into our commodity system. In exchange, we would come home to our larger planetary family.

    Wildlife easements would be a good move toward that more inclusive relationship.

    This is not an immediate solution. It is a direction which may have a future, however, unlike the status quo, whose bankruptcy becomes more obvious each day.

    Let it begin here.
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  26. TopTop #15
    Magick's Avatar
    Magick
     

    Re: Human Supremacy?

    Barton, I completely resonate with your words. Blessings, Magick

    Quote Barton Stone wrote: View Post
    Thank you, AnnMarie, for opening this conversation.

    We have to make this place be good for the other forms of life, because if it's not good for them, it's not going to be good for us either. ...
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  28. TopTop #16
    sambacat's Avatar
    sambacat
    Supporting member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Fences are the bane of wildlife. In the 25 years I've lived just outside of Sebastopol, not only have most of the apple orchards been cut down, replaced by vineyards, but ugly, industrial-strength fences have been installed everywhere. It is a wine gulag around here. Not only have the fences destroyed the aesthetic of the rural setting, I continually see deer running frantically down the road with no escape or refuge. With the unfenced orchards, they had a sanctuary and could access wild ravines, etc. (I have myself to blame of course, since I drink wine and not so much apple juice ).

    But, what I don't understand is that there are so many vineyards in Sonoma County (e.g. Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and even some in West County) that have no fences and are completely thriving. They are obviously not being devoured by deer. I have researched a little and realize that deer will eat very young vines. So, one solution would be to put solar-powered electric fencing around the new vineyards for a couple years until they get woody enough to not be so tasty and then take them down. This would be so much more economical as well.
    We need to speak up for our fellow creatures that have a right to inhabit this planet as well as we -- but have no voice.
    Quote sealwatcher wrote: View Post
    More vineyards mean more fences and less open land for deer to move through. I...
    Last edited by Barry; 01-06-2017 at 01:01 PM.
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  30. TopTop #17

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Thanks to all who have taken the time to participate in this nascent thread about a timeless topic. How to live in unison with the creatures as we either domesticate, endanger or exterminate the wild in our midst? An age old dilemma in this era of human supremacy; and now a time sensitive matter for what remains of the wild.

    There are over twenty folks who have expressed interested in working on a plan to create fenceless passages for wild beings. That's encouraging.

    Let's meet and plan....
    Email me, with your email, to let me know you're willing to get involved.
    [email protected]

    As Barton writes so eloquently, "Let's give up the idea that we are entitled to strip the landscape of everything that does not fit into our commodity system. In exchange, we would come home to our larger planetary family."


    Last edited by Barry; 01-06-2017 at 01:02 PM.
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  32. TopTop #18
    Jerry Green's Avatar
    Jerry Green
    Supporting Member

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Valley of the Moon / Sonoma environs has the County's most developed (and researched) wildlife corridor system. It came to my attention during my activities for Atascadero-Green Valley Watershed Council.
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  34. TopTop #19
    joehogan
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Thirty years ago I came very close to hitting a deer on a Sonoma County road a couple times a month. I haven't come close to hitting a deer in the last 15 or 20 years. This might be because there are many more drivers now and some of those drivers are killing them. But my car insurance people used to press me to carry full insurance saying that everyone needs it because of the deer. They don't say that anymore. And I don't see nearly as many dead deer now. I also don't see may foxes and coons or anything else.
    Last edited by Barry; 01-07-2017 at 09:56 AM.
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  36. TopTop #20
    kane's Avatar
    kane
     

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    Quote sambacat wrote: View Post
    Fences are the bane of wildlife....
    Thanks Sambacat for mentioning this.

    It has been sad indeed to see new folks move into the rural areas and, sure enough, first thing a monster fence goes up. I too have watched, on Barnett Valley rd, where deer have crossed all my 60+ years, and most likely for the prior thousands of years. This is a major transit point between the Estero Americano watershed, and the Atascadero watershed, and was heavily traveled by wildlife. Last year the house sold and the 8' Redwood fence went across the deer trail and 100' on either side, with loud dogs to boot.

    Like you, I regularly see frantic does and fawns scrambling along the pavement, in the ditches, on the banks.
    Fortunately, at this point the asphalt is barely present so most slow down somewhat out of necessity, but still too fast. In the last year I've mostly seen road-killed possum, skunks and deer, but there was that one fox on Bodega Hwy as well. Also there was a Mtn Lion on BVR that was deemed "dangerous and erratic" at another wildlife choke-point nearer Bodega Hwy. This spot has a fairly new vineyard and other new fencing on one side, with a steel gate blocking what was left of the corridor. The cats come out to cross and are confounded by the restriction, and panic a bit, which freaks new residents. Neighbors had to talk this resident down from having the animal shot by animal control. This trail is or was a crossover between Salmon creek and Atascadero watersheds; I don't know how they transit any more, but it's likely a perilous route.

    Having said that, I've seen a few live fox, and a bobcat this year, as they have some sanctuary on some of the larger remaining forest, field and stewarded tracts along BVR.
    Vehicle speeds are still increasing, even with our road crumbling; I guess the newby beemers and Merc's will learn to slow down the hard way, and at great cost to wildlife.
    When I was young I hit a fawn one foggy night on Burnside. It was a long drive home for me to get the rifle, as it was badly injured, and it's something I'll not forget having to do.
    I also hit a dog once, in another state, and when I remember these incidents, I slow down some more.

    Slow down folks; you're driving on some of the finest wild and scenic roads around, so what's the hurry?

    Over and Out
    Kane
    Last edited by Barry; 01-08-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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  38. TopTop #21

    Re: Wildlife Corridors for West County

    First meeting to discuss, organize and plan for Wildlife Corridors in West County:
    Saturday, January 28th, 3:00 at 7300 Baker Lane, Sebastopol
    Bring any information or ideas you may have.
    Thanks for all the interest.

    Quote AnnMarie Ginella wrote: View Post
    I'm relatively new (three years) to the Bloomfield/Baker Lane neighborhood and acutely aware of the impact our increased human population and our agricultural fences are having on our wildlife, specifically the deer population.

    In conversation, I hear neighbors referring to deer as,"rats with long legs," and are ready to get the shotgun out, while others, "don't mind them, but just want them to stay away from my vegetable garden." All seem to agree that we've been seeing more deer in our backyard this year and that, "something should be done."

    I've been doing research with local agencies: CA Fish and Wildlife (formerly Game), Sonoma Land Trust, SoCo Fish and Wildlife and Laguna Wetlands to determine if there is a coalition working toward preserving corridors and safe havens for the animals in west county. To date, it appears that there isn't and that each agency refers me to the next. I know that there is good work going on in the Sonoma Valley through the Land Trust. Also on my list to contact is OAEC, however I think their current emphasis is on bringing back the beaver.

    If anyone has any information on any groups that have come together in the past or are currently working to address this issue, I would appreciate it.

    I think it's possible for neighbors to create corridors within their neighborhoods as long as we are aware of the migrating/living patterns of the animals and work together to assure as little obstruction as possible. If a natural corridor is blocked, can we mitigate a new passageway? Despite the urban sprawl into the countryside, I see relatively large swaths of open space, which can possibly be designated as space preserved for wildlife routes.
    If you'd like to work with me on this project, let me know.

    Thanks,
    AnnMarie
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