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March 11, 2014 > Marshes, birds and wetlands, oh my!

Marshes, birds and wetlands, oh my!

By Sara Giusti

California isnÕt called the Golden State just for the Gold Rush or glamour of Hollywood; there are BarrowÕs Goldeneye, Golden-Crowned Sparrows, and Golden Eagles, too. This avian gold resides in nearby Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge. On March 15th, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, in partnership with Ohlone Audubon, will share Tri-City gold with the general public at the opening of a new viewing platform at LaRiviere Marsh in the Refuge.

Called Òa wildlife oasis in an urban sea,Ó Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge is the countryÕs first urban wildlife preserve. Since its origin in 1974, the refuge has been protecting San Francisco BayÕs ecosystem through conservation and education. With CaliforniaÕs huge population and expanding development, wetlands were being developed commercially, displacing native wildlife such as great blue herons, pelicans, and swallows.

Local communities recognized the immediate need for marshland protection in the late 1960s. Florence LaRiviere, a tireless environmentalist from Palo Alto spearheaded the preservation of the refuge. She and other citizens persuaded Congressman Don Edwards of San Jose to take action, successfully proposing and guiding passage of legislation to create the refuge; San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge was born. In 1995, the refuge was renamed to honor EdwardsÕ work and support for the refuge, and in 2012, LaRiviere received the National Wetlands Award from the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. She is still environmentally active today.

The new viewing platform became a reality due to a large donation from Ohlone Chapter of the National Audubon Society, serving southern and eastern Alameda County. While the platform took only a month to construct, development plans have been in the works for a year. A dream project of Ohlone Audubon for quite some time, the organization is very excited about its completion.

The primary motivation behind construction of the platform was creation of an educational structure. It will serve as a focal point for field trips and tourists; three panels highlighting information about the marsh will help visitors to understand the ecosystem of the marsh. ÒWe continue the tradition of bringing people out to enjoy public lands and support education,Ó said Jennifer Heroux, Chief of Visitor Services for Don Edwards.

Special morning bird walks will be held at 9 a.m. prior to the dedication ceremony. Choose from the Family Bird Walk, led by refuge staff, and enjoy the morning with the little ones, or opt for the more advanced Adult Bird Walk with staff from Ohlone Audubon. An RSVP is required for the Family Bird Walk.

After the bird walks, the dedication ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. (including light refreshments and snacks). Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Ohlone Audubon will help celebrate the new platform and LaRiviere Marsh Trail improvements.

Celebrate the beauty of the Bay and be one of the first to view the marsh from the new platform!

Family Bird Walk
Saturday, Mar 15
9 a.m.
Visitor Center
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
1 Marshlands Rd., Fremont
(510) 745-8170
RSVP at https://donedwardsfamilybird.eventbrite.com or (510) 792-0222 ext. 363
Free

Adult Bird Walk
Saturday, Mar 15
9 a.m.
Visitor Center
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
1 Marshlands Rd., Fremont
(510) 745-8170
No RSVP required
Free

LaRiviere Marsh Celebration
Saturday, Mar 15
11:30 a.m.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
1 Marshlands Rd., Fremont
(510) 745-8170
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/don_edwards_san_francisco_bay/
Free








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