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April 18, 2019
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Homelessness spikes in RP Straus Family Creamery moving to RP DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Superintendent search begins Cotati memorializes victims More high density in Rohnert Park Brace yourself for mosquitos Mayors of So Co write angry letter RP driver identified Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County School district balances budget SSU Equestrian looks to go national Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Fixing Cotati’s roads Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety  RP decides on west side Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels New Executive Director at SSU Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Name correction: 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

Discover the importance of wetlands

By: Gerald Moor and Jenny Blaker
January 7, 2010

Wetlands used to be thought of as useless swamps and wastelands. But since the 1970s we have learned that wetlands perform so many important functions that they are critical to our well-being as a modern urban species. The biological productivity of Bay Area wetlands is among the highest of any ecosystem in the world.

So, what are wetlands? In the simplest terms, wetlands are transitional zones between uplands and large bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans, where water tends to stand for prolonged periods of time. The main types of wetlands are swamps, marshes, and bogs, which are best recognized by their dominant plants: Trees and shrubs, grasses or sedges, and mosses, respectively.

The Petaluma area contains both fresh and salt water marshes, and seasonal ponds, which contain rainwater in the wet season but tend to dry up during the summer. The Petaluma River is actually a brackish tidal slough which connects to San Francisco Bay and supports along its edges brackish (or salty) tidal marshes, or tidal wetlands.

The central pond in Shollenberger Park is a seasonal pond, which is brackish because it is recharged with brackish water during the river dredging. The side channels (where the cattails are) are a classic freshwater marsh.

Since wetlands are covered with water much or all of the year, the soil under them is saturated with water lacking in oxygen. This supports a unique group of plants called hydrophytes, which can live happily with their roots submerged in water.

Freshwater marshes abound with cattails and bulrush, while salt-water marshes contain cordgrass, pickleweed, salt grass, and other lesser-known species.

Think of wetlands as a giant sponge. They detain water, reducing flooding and erosion downstream during major storms. Natural biological processes purify and filter the water. In some wetlands the detained water can recharge the groundwater, thus storing water for future needs. Marshes contribute to the stability of global levels of nitrogen, sulfur, carbon dioxide, and methane.

Petaluma’s wetlands provide critical habitat for many plant and animal species that are adapted to live in wetland environments, some preferring the fresh, and others the brackish waters. Some species live exclusively in wetlands while others depend on wetlands for part of their life cycles.

Many species of fish and seafood use wetlands as their nursery. Over half of the world’s migratory birds depend on wetlands to survive during their annual migrations north or south. Of the nearly 400 species of birds found in California, nearly 75 percent are migratory and depend upon marshes and ponds for shelter and food during migration. Petaluma’s wetlands provide habitat for endangered and threatened species such as the clapper rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, black rail, and western pond turtle.

Healthy wetlands are complete ecosystems, containing many species of microscopic organisms, invertebrates, plants, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals that form a complex food web, or series of food chains.

Wetland plants get energy from the sun, the water and detritus (dead plant and animal material). Detritus also feeds many microorganisms, insects, and fish, which in turn feed larger animals and, in turn, perhaps even larger animals such as wading birds, mink and humans. When the plants and animals die, new detritus is formed. This complex food web recycles energy through both the plant and animal life of the wetland.

When humans use wetlands as the final step in their wastewater treatment process, they are pumping into the marsh a very dilute solution of the detritus from our human lifestyle. This detritus is broken down and consumed by the same mechanisms as the natural detritus of the marsh. Because of the rich nutrition of most wetlands, the quantity of detritus, the dissolved nutrients and the abundance of plants and animals living there, wetlands compete with the richest farmlands in the world for the title of “Most Productive Ecosystems.”

Wetlands provide humans with many marketable crops including seafood, fish, cranberries, wild rice, timber, etc. and they help to maintain shipping channels by reducing siltation. They provide for human recreational activities including hunting, fishing, bird watching, boating, swimming, camping, and nature studies.

On Sunday, Jan. 10 at 9 a.m., the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance is offering a “show-and-tell” docent-led tour of Petaluma’s wetlands starting at Shollenberger Park. This event is co-hosted by Cotati Creek Critters. RSVP to jenny@creeks.cotati.info or 792-4422.