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December 14, 2018
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Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board  RP swears in new council member Cotati Council reshuffles seats RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer CHP reminds all of increased crimes Official election winners as projected by the VOICE Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU Rancho advances to semifinals Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! New residential building lands approved Cotati Council reviews trash plan Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” Bad air quality cancels sports Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Oaks: Biology and significance

By Steve Barnhart
February 2, 2009
Oak trees and shrubs are found in many different environments and climatic zones around the world. Some 500 species exist, primarily in temperate, subtropical and tropical regions of North America, South America (Columbia), Europe, North Africa, the near east and Asia, dropping below the equator into Indonesia. Many local populations of oak species exhibit unique characteristics, yet as a group they are able to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. Oaks have been a very important resource for humans over thousands of years. Acorns have been a dietary staple for millennia, most recently for the acorn-gathering and oak-cultivating Native Americans of California. Oaks have also been important for cultural and religious reasons. All oaks are members of the genus Quercus, in the plant family Fagaceae, which includes beeches, chestnuts, chinquapins and tanbark oak. Tanbark oak is not a true oak (Quercus) due to a number of significant biological differences, including flower structure and pollination. Other species which bear the term “oak” in their common names are not related at all, e.g. poison oak. Oak trees and shrubs can be deciduous, losing all their leaves seasonally, or evergreen (live oaks). Oaks are mainly identified by their bark, foliage and fruit (acorns). Approximately 80 native oak species are found in the United States, with 21 of these in California. These species are classified in three evolutionary lineages or sections: White oaks, red oaks and intermediate oaks. In Sonoma County, we are graced with five white oak, four red oak and one intermediate oak species. Hybridization, or crossing between species, occurs within evolutionary lineages or sections. White oak hybrids are fertile and thus can reproduce with other hybrids or their parental species. A common example in Sonoma County are the hybrids between blue oak and Oregon oak, which exhibit a full range of characters between the two parent species. In red oaks, the hybrids are typically sterile, like mules. Thus, the only evidences of hybridization among red oaks are plants exhibiting intermediate characteristics between the two parental species, such as the oracle oak, a hybrid between California black oak and the interior live oak. Oaks perform a very important ecological role in many landscapes. Because of the food resource (acorns) as well as shelter and nesting places, oak-dominated communities have the highest diversity of wildlife species of any California landscape. Here, oaks play a central role in the community food webs, thus filling the niche of an important “keystone” species. Oaks also provide important amenities with regard to watershed integrity, local carbon balance and natural fire fuel breaks. Unfortunately, the loss of oaks and oak habitat in Sonoma County and throughout California is occurring at an alarming rate. This loss is primarily due to urbanization and the agricultural conversion of wild land habitat. In the growing exurban areas, the ecological integrity of oak woodlands is being severely compromised because of the impact of patchy development upon wildlife species. Added to these factors are the direct impacts of construction and landscaping upon individual specimen trees as well as the increased spread of pathogens and disease. Finally, Sudden Oak Death is having a pronounced impact upon coast live oak, Shreve oak, California black oak and tanbark oak in our local wild lands. Native oaks are a natural legacy that we all should desire to preserve. Their beauty and landscape utility are obvious, but their evolutionary and ecological significance are even more important to the long-term integrity of our natural landscapes. Steve Barnhart has developed research projects and published about north coast oaks for over 30 years. He is currently the Education Director for the Pepperwood Foundation which owns and manages the 3100 acre Pepperwood Preserve in NE Sonoma County.