Posts Tagged: Sabrina Drill
The city of Los Angeles is preparing to remove parts of the LA River's concrete lining, but that may not be enough to bring back native fish, reported Zoie Matthew in Los Angeles Magazine.
"It's hard to do piece-by-piece restoration projects for things adapted to river and stream systems. And it's impossible for steelhead," said Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Steelhead need a continuous, rapidly flowing channel to complete their life cycle. Other native fish, such as the Arroyo chub, will need gravel, plants, sediment and pools to be restored.
"Ecological heterogeneity is really important," Drill said. "Fish tend to need different kinds of habitat."
Warmer water temperature is another concern. The river lacks trees and plants to shade the water and concrete soaks up the sun's warmth, creating a habitat unsuitable for natives.
Drill said some of the new fish in the river have favorable characteristics. Mosquito fish help with pest control and carp make for good fishing.
"Part of (the river's) role is to provide low-income, underserved communities with a place to access nature, see native birds, and increase public health by having a safe area to walk and fish," Drill said. "I think there's value there too."
Even after wildfires have burned homes and taken lives, communities allow for rebuilding in wildland-urban interface areas prone to such disasters, reported Alistair Bland in the East Bay Express.
Van Butsic, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, has studied the alarming trend of building homes in known fire-risk areas.
"We studied 30 of the largest fires since 1970," he said.
On average, 20 years after an inhabited area burns, most of the destroyed homes are rebuilt and many new homes were added — about twice as many homes in total as there were at the time of the burn.
UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill said people seem to have short memories.
"I (would) think people might think twice about building a home where there had just been a fire, but people seem to forget after about three years," Drill said.
Drill, Van Bustic and other UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists were sources for the nearly 5,000-word East Bay Express story about the hazards to people and property in the wildland-urban interface and ways to manage the problem in a state where climate change appears to be making wildfires more frequent and intense.
The article said most fire experts and community leaders believe not enough is being done to prevent catastrophic blazes. They want more prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads, increased funding for firefighting and wildfire research, and stricter controls on development in wooded areas.
"But that's so politically contentious — it's a line politicians walk up to but turn away from," said William Stewart, a UCCE forestry specialist at UC Berkeley.
He said society tends to be concerned about wildfires during and immediately after high-profile catastrophic events. However, the attention is often short-lived and doesn't generate change before the next fire strikes.
"It's surprisingly hard to get investments in fire prevention strategies, even after the scale of the fires we just had," Stewart said.
Stewart believes California's government should support more research into fire-safe building patterns and more effective vegetation management. Perhaps most importantly of all, he said, Californians must turn wildfire history into a learning experience.
"If we don't make significant investments in new ways of managing vegetation and building these housing developments in the (wildland-urban interface)," Stewart said, "we're going to be on this hamster wheel forever."
As the human population on planet earth, now about 7.6 billion people, continues to grow, more will settle in areas prone to wildfire, reported Mary Beth Griggs in Popular Science magazine.
The reporter spoke with UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill about wildfire preparation.
First, make sure that an emergency kit is up to date and important papers are in a safe place.
“Know that under conditions of mandatory evacuation, you will encounter traffic, frightening conditions, highly limited visibility due to smoke, etc., so being ready and leaving early is really important,” Drill said.
If there is time, there are important last-minute actions that can be taken to minimize potential fire damage. She suggests moving flammable garden furniture and wood piles away from structures, taking down shade cloths or awnings that could trap embers and making sure doors and windows are closed.
"One thing I would not advise is either leaving sprinklers running or hoping that automatic sprinklers will save a structure, as power may be cut, water lines can melt, and the water and water pressure may be needed by firefighters elsewhere," Drill said.
UC Cooperative Extension provides information to guide actions before, during and after a wildfire on its wildfire resources website.
Los Angeles Times. Native species - who evolved in river systems prone to sudden torrents of water, mud, bolders and debris in winter and pools and damp patches in summer - main gain an edge when the river rages.
Currently, the fish population in the river is almost entirely non-native. Released as bait by anglers, dumped by the city to eat unwelcome species, and aquarium fish set free by their owners now populate the river's waters.
The forecast heavy rains during the 2015-16 winter present an opportunity to determine whether nonnative fish will be washed out of the river and into the Pacific Ocean, giving native fish a new chance to become established.
"If we are ever going to fully understand the ecology of this river, and prospects for the return of species that evolved in it, we have to know first what's in it now, and how well those creatures do in extreme conditions," said biologist Rosi Dagit of the Resource Conservation District.
UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill was among a group of biologists and volunteers who surveyed the fish in the river in late November with seines, dip nets and rods and reels. After six hours, the team caught about 3,000 talapia, two dozen crayfish, a few hundred mosquito fish, one aquarium species and two Asian freshwater clams.
The research is funded by the Friends of the Los Angeles River.
The Friends of the Los Angeles River organization is expanding its citizen science monitoring of fish in the Los Angeles River to additional locations, reported Carren Jao in KCET Columns.
Since 2008, the volunteers have been catching fish in Elysian Valley of the L.A. River and delivering them for analysis to three biologists, including Sabrina Drill, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County. The biologists found that the fish caught here were healthier and lower in mercury and PCBs than fish in the ocean. The surprising finding is likely due to the natural river bottom in the Glendale Narrows portion of the river.
Now volunteers will be turning their attention to parts of the L.A. River in Long Beach and the Sepulveda Basin to establish a baseline for those areas.
Citizen scientists can also help document the state of the L.A. River by contributing to a project created by UC ANR's Sabrina Drill on the web and smartphone app iNaturalist. Anglers can take a smartphone photo of their L.A. River catch and upload it to iNaturalist. The smartphone automatically records the time and day, and the GPS coordinates where the fish was caught. Much like iNaturalist does for birds, lizards, and insects, the L.A. River fish page creates a digital community where fishermen can boast of their accomplishments, but also build a record of the river's biodiversity using their smartphones.