Central Valley wetlands are of hemispheric importance, providing the most important stopping point on the Pacific Flyway for five million migratory waterfowl, which makes up 60 percent of the Pacific Flyway waterfowl population and 20 percent of the continental population. These wetlands also provide essential habitat for hundreds of other species, including resident waterfowl, such as mallards, other waterbirds, such as tricolored blackbirds, white-faced ibis and sandhill cranes, as well as other wildlife.
Local, state and federal agencies have invested in refuges for decades to protect their value for birds, other animals and nearby communities. Destroying them would only endanger California’s already fragile wildlife and degrade the other services refuges provide, such as groundwater recharge, water quality improvements and recreation.
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As you may have heard, nearly 40 years after Altacal signed an agreement with the Chico Wastewater Treatment Plant to allow birders access to the ponds for wildlife viewing, we received a letter yesterday informing us that the ponds will be closed to public access indefinitely, beginning March 17th. The reason cited was changes in California Statewater treatment regulations. Altacal was not contacted to discuss possible alternatives to closure.
For these reasons we have appealed to the Chico City Council to put a discussion of the closure and access issues on their meeting agenda. We have won our first tiny battle, as we have gained the support of Councilor Karl Ory, who has requested that the item either: 1. Be placed on a future agenda for discussion. 2. Be referred to a committee for discussion or 3. That no action be taken by the council.
Altacal would like to see an open discussion agendized, where options can be discussed and debated. Even further discussion in committee would keep the subject alive. What we don’t want is for the council to decide to take no action. We will keep our members updated as to how the City Council Meeting goes.
Heavenly Bamboo, a common ornamental shrub in our area, is TOXIC to Cedar Waxwings – one of our most striking local birds. The plant is not a true bamboo, but an evergreen shrub. The red berries emerge in fall and produce hydrogen cyanide, also toxic to cats.
In an effort to help the Cedar Waxwings, here is a strategy that we suggest to get rid of the Nandina in local yards: cut off the flowers when they bloom, remove berries and throw them away in the trash – not on the ground – or cut the shrubs off at the base and put a herbicide called glyphosate on the stump.