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January, 2003

News Briefs

Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration

Subject: Notice to Those on the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Project Mailing List.

Subsequent to the close of the public comment period (October 1, 2002) on the Bolinas Lagoon Ecosystem Restoration Draft Feasibility Report/EIR/S, dated June 2002, representatives of the Marin County Open Space District and the US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District met to determine next "steps" in moving forward with the study. The decisions were:

Not to proceed with preparation of a final feasibility report/EIR/S based on the plans described

in the June 2002 draft document;

Reformulate the study to restore Bolinas Lagoon, taking into consideration the comments received

on the previously distributed draft report. Reformulation of the study would lead to preparation of

a new draft feasibility report/EIR/S with a public review/comment period. Current efforts are to

develop a revised study schedule to include opportunities for public involvement during the

preparation of the new draft report.

Please direct any questions on this notice to Roger Golden, Project Manager, US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, 333 Market St., Room 822D, San Francisco, CA 94105-2197.

Volunteers Needed to Protect Harbor Seals

Registration is now open for volunteers to sign up for the (SEALS) Sanctuary Education, Awareness & Long-term Stewardship program in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) off San Francisco. The Sanctuary, together with the non-profit Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (FMSA), will hold orientations in January. The SEALS program trains "citizens scientists" to monitor and document disturbances to harbor seals and their pups at Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay, just north of San Francisco.

The Gulf of the Farallones NMS is home to one-fifth of the California population of harbor seals. Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay are two of their valuable pupping areas. Each spring harbor seal mothers haul out on beaches and sandbars to give birth. The proximity of these birthing locations to San Francisco increases the likelihood of disturbances by humans, dogs, motor boats, kayaks, and aircraft. Recent SEALS program research findings have shown that motor boats and kayaks are most likely to frighten seals off these areas. Disruption can result in seal pups being separated from their mothers and the death of the pup. Repeated disturbance can cause seals to abandon these historic birthing areas entirely.

The SEALS program represents a unique opportunity for the public to gain specialized knowledge about these intriguing marine mammals, and fieldwork training. Effective wildlife conservation requires involvement of concerned individuals at all levels to monitor populations and educate people about their presence. Ed Ueber, Sanctuary Manager, commented that, "the SEALS program is an incredible opportunity for someone who truly wants to make a difference, in the protection of the Sanctuary's wildlife."

SEALS volunteers visit select haul-out sites once a month. Volunteers record seal behaviors, haul-out patterns, and impact from human visitors. SEALS volunteers also help to educate visitors on the natural history of seals and how to enjoy wildlife without disturbing it.

No previous experience is needed, but volunteers must be 18 years or older. Classroom and field instruction is provided. Five one-hour orientations are scheduled in January. Training courses begin Jan. 30 and continue through March 1. Call Ingrid Harrald for dates and information (415) 561-6625 ext. 304.

 

 

 

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