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QUAIL RIDGE MONITOR Vol. 25: November 2015 - 2016

Picture of blue lupine surrounded by mostly blue oaks.

Greetings to all our members and supporters!

This is the 25th time that we have greeted you toward year's end via our annual QR Monitor. So much has taken place during this quarter-century of reporting: deadlines to meet in acquiring properies; money to raise to fund these acquisitions; difficult negotiations to structure a fair deal, many times over. These activities have led to the addition of more than 20 parcels to the Reserve which originally had been a private hunting preserve, later subdivided for private housing by a group of Napa doctors. This trajectory of development would have devastated the ecology and natural stability of our quite pristine peninsula. Each of the parcels acquired for the Reserve has its own history, but each one involved weeks and sometimes months of negotiation that some saw as unlikely to succeed, but here we are today with 2,578 acres of contiguous lands under protection. We owe a lot to you our members and supporters who have stuck with us through the years, as well as to the vision and management of the UC Natural Reserve System, which came on board in the early 1990s.

Along with all these land acquisitions, QRWC started almost from the beginning to lead interpretive walks throughout the four seasons, rain or shine, in order to share our beautiful Reserve with the general public.

There have been some harrowing moments in our history, such as [temporary} loss of state funding for the UC Reserve system during the state’s economic downturn some years back, as well as wildfires on the peninsula that, thankfully, have done little or no damage to the Reserve. The most recent big fire [the Wragg Fire last July] somehow entirely bypassed QRR. We were very fortunate.

QRWC’s Executive Director Frank Maurer, now 74, claims that he will continue until he drops under a blue oak tree [Quercus douglosii, named for the famous 19th-c. Scottish botanist David Douglas].

So, where do we stand and where are we headed? We have stood for and have practiced both education and awareness of the natural world: our walks and outreach programs have always discussed the importance of native, droughbtolerant plants and how to incorporate them into our own day-to-day lives. We have inspired more than one landowner to Convert their yard or lands partly or totally to native flora, which will save on water use and thus help our drought-stricken state.

As Shane Waddell of UCD's lohn Muir Institute writes in his report, included in this newsletter, our Reserve is one of 18 chosen in California where careful monitoring concerning climate change will be conducted over the next decade and beyond. The effects of climate change have long been emphasized in QRWC's own outreach activities, in light of the growing number of California residents dependent on the ever diminishing supply of water in the state.

A long-time supporter of the QRWC, Bill Patterson of Sacramento, has carried out Inventories of Lepidoptera on the Reserve. Between 1993 & 2006 he identified 66 species of butterfly and 590 species of moth; these invertebrates, along with many oth er species of animals on the Reserve, can be used to monitor the effects of climate change over coming decades. The continuing presence of diverse butterfly and moth species will, in itself, be an indicator of the pristine nature of our area.

The most recent edition of UC’s Natural History of the Quail Ridge Reserve is available in our Gift Boutique. lt provides an informative update on the Reserve’s history and its flora and fauna.

Matching funds: You will likely remember that David Welborn, a conservation/buyer} donor who has been supporting QRWC's land acquisition efforts for several years, gave us a matching grant of $24,000. Very recently this grant has been half·way matched by Leland Glenna and his wife Esther Prius of State College, Pennsylvania. Both Leland and Esther are faculty at Penn State, but we became acquainted with them when they lived several years ago in Davis and when Leland joined our Board of Directors. They have pledged $6,000 this year and $6,000 next year, and we want to take this opportunity to thank them heartily for their generous gift. We will have thus matched the total of $24.000. Hurrayl

A new educational fundraiser supporting QRWC: A fluorescent evening in your home [or other venue] in which we view, with the aid of a UV detector, fluorescence in earthly materials ranging from rocks to scorpions. This provides a very unusual and fascinating insight into the natural world that humans cannot see with the naked eye alone.

Please remember that drought-tolerant [xeric] plants are increasingly important for us to consider in our state and, indeed, throughout the American West. This topic was discussed at greater length in last year’s QR Monitor, but For more details, we recommend that you consult the California Native Plant Society's suggested list of such plants: http://www.cnps.org/cnps/grownative/lists.php. Many California nurseries nowadays are also knowledgable about xeric native plants and stock many species.

There is much to see on the Reserve. You always have an invitation to partake in one of our regularly scheduled walks [a schedule is on our website]. Or you may arrange a Special walk for a family or group. We await your call to have an adventure with us! Our last walk for 2015 will be on 5. December.

SOME WAYS TO ENIOY AND USE QUIAL RIDGE RESERVE Remember that QRWC remains an all-volunteer land trust, saving thousands of dollars each year in overhead costs that have been directed instead to land preservaton and educational outreach. ln this light, please consider a year—end donation to support the work of this local land trust working year—long to maintain a precious piece of California native landscape and its resident wildlife.

QRWC is proud to be part of the UC Natural Reserve System, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

We look forward to hearing from you soon. Please renew your membership: you are greatly needed for the continuance of our work. Thank you!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and New Year. And do come and enjoy the Reserve.

Frank W Maurer, Jr.
Executive Director, QRWC
530-219-4477; quailrid@quailridge.org Website: www.quailridge.org

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Young Quail Ridge Scatologists

What do you get for your dollars donated to QRWC? As we consistently emphasize in our communications and publicity, we have a wonderful, nearby area protected for research and education. This is great in and of itself, but for our members and supporters there are additional benefits, all of which are on our website:
--Monthly educational walks for your family and guests
--Flourescent stone evening in your own home
--Virtual Science Field Trips for K-12 school science classes
--Personal events on the Reserve for you to schedule with a group, club,
  school, etc. of special interest to you
--Online-accessible web cameras to view the Reserve and its wildlife
--Member-hosted home dessert parties for fun and for networking for QRWC
  and the Reserve
--Access to QRWC’s Gift Boutique for unusual items relating to the Reserve
  and nature in general (go to www.quailridge.org/boutique.htm for the full

  • Many people report that they are using the three live webcams--accessible through our website--to view wildlife in real time on QRR.
    --Click Here for accessible web cameras to view the Reserve and its wildlife

    Others have viewed our film "The Human and Natural History of Quail Ridge Reserve" that is available on DVD and is also available on YouTube. This film, which has striking photography, takes the viewer through the four seasons on the Reserve, with a narrated history. If you haven't yet looked at it, do give it a try.
    1. Quail Ridge Reserve Natural and Human History During Summer part 1
    2. Quail Ridge Reserve Natural and Human History During Fall part 2
    3. Quail Ridge Reserve Natural and Human History During Winter part 3
    4. Quail Ridge Reserve Natural and Human History During Spring part 4


    QRWC has been in partnership with the UCD NRS since 1992 to help procure and preserve the natural habitats and wildlife diversity on Quail Ridge Reserve and to promote scientific research and educational outreach to the public. This news roundup was contributed by Shane Waddel of the UCD—NRS.

    By Shane Waddell, Reserve Manager

    The summer of 2015 was defined by fire at the UC Davis Reserves. The Quail Ridge Reserve (http://nrs.ucdavis.edu/quail.htmI] was spared damage, but two others were almost entirely consumed.

    The first of the fires (the Wragg Fire) started less than a mile from the Quail Ridge Reserve {QRR). Fortunately. the wind blew the flames AWAY from the Reserve. Quail Ridge researchers and staff were only slightly inconvenienced by some unscheduled off-days due to evacuation during the fire.

    Less lucky was the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve (http://nrs.ucdavis.edu/stebbins.html) which was directly ln the fire's path. The popular hiking destination was rapidly engulfed and several visitors were rescued by helicopters. Stebbins remains closed until trails can be safely restored and expected damage from winter landslides is addressed.

    The McLaughlin Reserve (http://nrs.ucdavis.edu/McL/index.html). about 30 miles north of QRR. also burned when the Rocky and Jerusalem fires converged at McLaughlin Reserve. Fire crews managed to save the facilities, but quite a blt of research equipment and habitat were consumed.

    The Valley Fire produced lots of smoke and rained ash on QRR, but luckily the flames stayed far away. The historically dry weather has stressed the Reserve's vegetation, particularly the trees, leaving the Reserve vulnerable to these high-intensity fires.


    • The QRR field station remodel is slated to start this winter with a completion date expected in spring 2016.
    • In late July and early August of 2014, there was an outbreak of sudden deer deaths at QRR. Reserve staff verified 13 deaths including males, females, adults and juveniles. Staff witnessed deer seizures, foaming at the mouth, and disorientation (walking in circles}. The resulting necropsy, of a specimen that was delivered to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, identified the cause as Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV). The disease is transmitted by biological vectors, usually biting midges. Deer often die rapidly. within 8-36 hours. The mortality rates may be as high as 90% in an area, but the severity of the disease varies from year to year and with the geographic location. The upshot is that we have surviving deer on the Reserve and they develop long-lived neutralizing antibodies.

    • Quail Ridge will be one or the key sites for the new Institute for the Study of Ecological Effects of Climate Impacts {ISEECI}. Along with several other Natural Reserve System sites throughout Califcmia, QRR will launch a new program of sampling, monitoring, large-scale and long-term data management, and experiments to understand mechanisms by which climate drives ecological and evolutionary processes. Data from throughout UC's 39-reserve system will be linked to develop mechanistic models that will predict changes to ecosystems and potential impacts to ecosystem services, which may threaten human adaptation to climate change.
    • Studies of the effects of warming on the survival, phenology, and morphology of dragonflies continued at Quail Ridge for a third year. The first year experiments on the Blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) concluded that warming increased larval mortality and advanced the phenology of emergence to the adult stage. The second year experiments on the Western pondhawk (Erythemis collocata) showed that warming did not affect mortality, but had strong effects on phenology. At the highest level of warming the size of the wings was reduced relative to body size -- perhaps resulting in impaired ability to fly long distances. The results are still being compiled on experiments from the third year, which compared larval survival and growth in conditions under which both warming and the level of thermal variation are manipulated on E. collocata.
    • The drought conditions over the past several years have taken a toll on the small rodent populations of the Reserve. Long-term monitoring of brush mice (Peromyscus boylii and pinyon mice (P. truei] show their numbers at record lows. These species do not breed well in captivity. but they are essential to some of our research programs.


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