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May 29, 2017
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The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Saddle Up and Ride Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda A mission to help RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities RP makes changes to city code for ADUs Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

California’s unique place in the world of biodiversity

By:
October 29, 2009

Residents of California enjoy great weather and a tremendous variety of landscapes from the Sierras to the sea. But did you know that California is also a unique place in the world from the standpoint of evolution and biodiversity?
I personally never really appreciated this amazing diversity until I studied natural resources in college, and have since done a fair amount of traveling viewing the natural world with a fresh perspective.
California’s Mediterranean climate is one of the factors that add to this diversity. While it may seem “normal” to us, this climate is quite unique in the world.
Named after the Mediterranean region, this climate is characterized by cool, wet winters and long, warm to hot summers with little or no rain. It’s not uncommon for us to go for six months over the summer with no appreciable rainfall. This climate regime challenges plants to survive in difficult conditions.
Besides California and the Mediterranean region, this climate only occurs in three other locations: Chile, Australia and South Africa. These regions only represent 2.2 percent of the world’s land surface, yet contain 20 percent of the world’s plant species. Only tropical rainforests exhibit more plant diversity than Mediterranean climates.
In the study of evolution, scientists like to examine places like the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii or Australia. The isolation and dynamic geology of islands create the perfect conditions for speciation or the formation of new species of plants and animals.
Despite being connected to a large continent, California can be considered an “island” of evolution. Bordered by large mountain ranges in the north and east, deserts in the south, and the Pacific ocean to the west, California is relatively insulated from the free flow of genetics that maintains homogenous species on contiguous landscapes.
Besides this genetic isolation, California is very geologically dynamic as anyone that has experienced an earthquake here can attest. We sit on a continental plate that is sliding over the Pacific ocean seafloor like a giant bulldozer blade scraping over the surface. This creates intense heat and pressure that can form mountain ranges such as the Sierras, and contributes to a variety of unique soils, such as those made from ancient marine sediments.
Conservation International has identified this region as a “biodiversity hotspot,” naming it the California Floristic Province.
Besides covering most of the state, this region also includes a small portion of southern Oregon and northern Mexico. Within the California Floristic Province, over 60 percent of the plant species are endemic, meaning they are found here and no place else on earth.
One of the many ecosystems that make California a unique place is grasslands, which can be found all over the state. They can be found in alpine meadows, mountain foothills, valleys and coastal bluffs. Unfortunately, less than 2 percent of California’s native grasslands remain.
Besides conversions to other uses, such as agriculture and development, non-native, weedy grasses have usurped most of what is left. While most of our native grasses are perennial (living more than a year) bunchgrasses, most of the invasive weeds are annual grasses, whose fast-growing habit allows them to outcompete the slower growing native grasses.
As a complement to our tree and shrub plantings, the Cotati Creek Critters have been planting an understory of native grasses and related plants to return important biodiversity to the Laguna. Come learn more about the importance of native grasses at a presentation entitled, “Discover California Grasslands,” Monday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. the Ray Miller Community Center, 216 E. School St., Cotati.

Wade Belew is Stewardship Coordinator for the Cotati Creek Critters and President-Elect of the California Native Grasslands Association.