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Creeks, Wetlands and Vernal Pools

Fact Sheet: Cows need Water Too: Water Sources, Wetlands, and Riparian Areas


Fish Friendly Ranching Program

The California Land Stewardship Institute, a non-profit organization based in Napa County, has developed a certification program for ranchers that helps them meet water quality goals and requirements while preserving economic sustainability. The program is expanding from its origins in the North Bay. Fish Friendly Ranching was developed with a committee of ranchers, regulators who serve as the certifiers and scientists including Certified Rangeland Manager Dr. Larry Ford. The program builds on CLSI’s successful Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program. CLSI Project Description


Vernal Pools: A Rangeland Oasis

Vernal Pools
Vernal pools provide habitat for an unusual diversity of plants and animals. During the summer they are dry depressions in the ground. In the winter months they fill with rain water. As their winter water levels recede, many plants in the vernal pool habitat welcome the spring with beautiful blooms. Vernal pools hold water long enough to allow some rare animals, like fairy shrimp and tiger salamanders, to grow and reproduce, but not long enough for a pond or marsh ecosystem to develop. The plants and animals that inhabit a vernal pool are well adapted to withstand extreme conditions - drought and sun-baking summer heat, floods and freezing winter weather. Read full article


Guidelines for Developing a Grazing Plan for a Vernal Pool Ecosystem

Grazing may be used as a tool to maintain vernal pool hydrology and prevent the invasion of exotic weeds.  Livestock have grazed in and among most vernal pools in the Sacramento Valley for at least a century.  They may help to maintain the hydrology of the uplands surrounding vernal pools by preventing the excessive accumulation of plant material. Read full article


Management Guides

The following management guides have sections covering creeks, ponds, and other moist habitat features:


For more information on creek and wetland stewardship, please see the Water Quality and Monitoring pages.