Riparian, or habitat found along streams and rivers, provides a plethora of resources and functions for both wildlife and human communities. For wildlife, abundant food, shelter, and nesting areas. For people, a flood buffer, a source for crop pollinators, and erosion control. For both, clean air, clean water, and an enjoyable place to be.
Unfortunately, about 90% of California’s river habitats have been lost, accompanied by severe losses both of wildlife (e.g., salmon, Yellow-billed Cuckoo) and of benefits we rely on. Point Blue is facing this challenge head-on with decades of experience and data from riparian studies dating back to the mid-1960's and innovative new tools and ideas like climate-smart restoration.
We are doing riparian restoration work throughout California on major rivers such as the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Cosumnes as well as on smaller creeks like Redwood, Lagunitas and Muddy Hollow in Marin County and Clear Creek in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
At our riparian study sites we take a diversified approach to conservation that includes:
- monitoring bird populations using methods such as point counting or bird banding,
- analyzing our data using current innovative techniques,
- partnering with agencies, universities, other non-profits and land owners to create conservation goals and priorities for riparian habitat, such as habitat conservation plans,
- fostering partnerships like Riparian Habitat Joint Venture,
- educating community and school groups about science, ecology and riparian habitat at our research sites and involving them in restoration installation,
- comparing and connecting our various riparian studies to improve methods and habitat, and
- developing and testing climate-smart restoration techniques.
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We are finding that restoration works! For example, at our Clear Creek restoration site in the Sierra Nevada Foothills we found that at 5 to 8 year-old restored sites, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Song Sparrows nested and raised young in greater densities compared to sites that were not restored. Similar results with various species have been seen at our restoration sites throughout California. In 2005 we saw the return of the Least Bell's Vireo to a restored riparian site in the Central Valley after decades of absence.
We are seeing that if you plant it, not only will the birds come, but so will the ecosystem services and the vital human community support. And if you monitor and steward it, the results get better and better. Our work doesn't stop with planting. We're also developing and maintaining crucial relationships with private land-owners and management agencies to inform management of things like livestock, fencing, and exisitng habitat to create win-win solutions for our economy and ecosystems.
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- Restoration Works Handout
- A Guide to Habitat Enhancement for Birds in the Sacramento Valley
- Bringing The Birds Back: A Guide to Habitat Enhancement in Riparian and Oak Woodlands in the North Bay
- The Riparian Bird Conservation Plan
- Pocket Guide to Creek Birds of California
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