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June 24, 2019
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Music alive in Cotati Elder abuse rising in So Co School board follows its policy Doggone hot days are here! Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Verity is hiring to work with survivors Would you make a great foster parent? Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. New fire station gets final direction Cotati fills Planning Commission Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Illegal robocalls and spoofing Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Cotati’s code of conduct RP moves to curb false alarms Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening SSU named one of the best universities Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks Students almost ready for kindergarten Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon 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 Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant 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 New laws take effect Jan. 1 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

Californias unique place in the world of biodiversity

By: Wade Belew
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.