Intellectually I know that it is important not to conceptualize nature as separate from urban areas, but realistically I associate escaping into nature with a 4 hour car ride. So, what is all the buzz about re-connecting people to nature in urban environments?
How do we do conservation education? Listen, and be educated. Perhaps those in need of an education are the conservationists who fail to see the values that motivate others!
“Climate change adaptation” is a term that is thrown around a lot in research and management circles. Although it is a relatively new, and sometimes daunting, term it can often refer to the thoughtful repurposing of management strategies. A prime example of this is the use of thin layer sediment augmentation in tidal marshes. Thin layer sediment augmentation (hereafter sediment augmentation) refers to the practice of spraying a slurry of dredge spoils and water from a barge or a system of pipes onto a marsh surface. As discussed in a previous post (link), marsh habitats are dependent on a balance between processes that increase and decrease marsh elevation relative to sea-level. Marsh elevation increases as a function of deposition of sediment from external sources (i.e. rivers), and plant growth. Elevation decreases due to decomposition of organic matter (plants), erosion, compaction, and sea-level rise. Local tectonics can also cause an increase or a decrease in elevation. Thus, thin layer sediment augmentation artificially increases the amount of sediment deposited on the marsh surface. In a typical marsh, annual sediment inputs are measured at a scale of millimeters a year. Sediment augmentation artificially increases the amount of sediment deposited on a marsh, by up to 60 cm. Excitement is growing in the natural resource management communities about the potential of using sediment augmentation as a climate change adaption strategy.
I most of my first year walking back and forth in marshes attempting to stay upright and complete the days’ work without mud over-topping my waders. It was an awesome year and it is the year that began my love affair with marshes. I suppose it is natural to become enamored with and perhaps a bit biased in favor of the system that you work in, but in my case I am pretty sure it is justified and correct to say, marshes are the coolest! To be specific my infatuation is with coastal marshes and my direct experiences are limited to marshes on the Pacific Coast (but I am sure marshes on the East Coast are pretty rad too). One of the most intriguing thing about marshes is that they are the interface between two worlds.
Marshes are often at the interface of the urban and natural worlds. When we think of marshes, especially in California, I think that the first image that pops into people’s minds is the small forgotten bits of marsh that you often see from the highway. However, there are larger marshes in California, and many of them are smashed up against urban, often economically disadvantaged areas. For example next time you are driving around East Palo Alto, try checking out Laumeister marsh. Palo Alto may have Stanford University but the marshes of East Palo Alto (Palo Alto's often forgotten neighbor) are home to two federally endangered species and a plethora of wildlife. At sunset I would choose a view of Laumeister marsh teaming with shorebirds and shore crabs over the Stanford quad any day! Check out the photos below as examples of how beautiful marshes are.
Google chrome users: click here to download a RSS extension