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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Alison Sheehey, (760) 378-2531
May 8, 2010                                                                                                                       

Restoring Native Habitat

Volunteers sought for planting project on Audubon Kern River Preserve

Weldon, CA – Once a month from Fall through Spring, volunteers from around the community gather to help on a project at the Audubon Kern River Preserve. Join staff and friends on Saturday, May 15 from 8 a.m. to noon for the last weekend volunteer day before the summer hiatus. This month's project is to weed the Tricolored Blackbird habitat area and plant native shrubs on the upland restoration site at the Sprague unit of the preserve.

After purchasing part of the Sprague Ranch in 2005, a project was begun to restore the north side of the South Fork with Joshua trees and desert vegetation. The soil is a very permeable, nutrient poor sand that was not suitable for crops. Desert vegetation does not self restore quickly so staff undertook the task of trying to figure out how to create a protocol for this tricky restoration project. After five years, many lessons have been learned and plants are beginning to take hold and grow with little maintenance. During Saturday's project volunteers and staff will plant some perennial plants and shrubs that will be irrigated over the next two years to help them establish a roothold so to speak!

In January Friends of the Preserve began an experimental restoration project to develop habitat for the Tricolored Blackbird, a species of bird that has suffered dramatic declines in its population. They planted herbaceous vegetation and placed irrigation line along an agricultural canal. This experimental plot was planted with native riparian vegetation such as mugwort, mulefat, stinging nettle, wild rose, and sandbar willow. In the hopes of seeing thriving breeding populations of Tricolored Blackbird in front of the new visitor's center site within the next year or two. On Saturday, volunteers will weed around the newly established plants to reduce competition.

Bring gloves, wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes/boots and safety glasses if you have them. The preserve will supply the tools. Meet at 7:55 a.m. at the preserve headquarters: 18747 Highway 178, Weldon, CA. Contact the Kern River Preserve manager, Reed Tollefson or call 760-378-2531 to RSVP.

The next scheduled volunteer project will be on the Friends of the Kern River Preserve team for Valley Pride Day - September 18th.

About Audubon Kern River Preserve

The Kern River Preserve is managed by Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s largest contiguous cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the wildlife it supports.

Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.

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Kern River Preserve • P.O. Box 1662 • 18747 Hwy. 178 • Weldon, CA 93283 • E-mail
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