Thursday, November 24, 2011

habitat ~ 11/24/11 ~ San Luis Reservoir State Rec Area

San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area
November 24, 2011

This is not exactly "Over the River and through the Woods"; it's more over the reservoir and through the valley to family's houses we go. Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day! Since most of my extended family still lives in the Central Valley, this is the usual route to go see them or to pass through to Yosemite. No, we didn't stop, nor have I ever stopped since it's usually very windy through Pacheco Pass. I figured my picture from the car and this blog is a good enough excuse to actually look up information on this reservoir and the surrounding area that I've passed many, many times since I was a kid and never even knew the name. If Wikipedia is correct, the San Luis Reservoir is "the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States." Who knew? In the distance are numerous wind turbines, which are situated on another CA State Park property, Pacheco State Park. Thanks to revenue from the wind turbines, Pacheco is one of the few State Parks supposedly with enough funds for maintenance. What a great idea! Both State Park embedded links above have decent historical information.

ps 01/04/12 - Based on comments below, found this article from Forbes on endangered CA condors and wind turbines. Something to think about.

12 comments:

randomtruth said...

Did you see any Tule Elk? I often see them when crossing the Pacheco Pass, near the end where it hits I5.

Imperfect and tense said...

Wind turbines funding habitat management? Neat!

Randy said...

I have hiked at Pacheco before because it's a great early spring wild flower hike. Never actually spotted any elk, but I have found discarded antlers on the trail. As I remember the trail system had fallen very obscure due to lack of any maintenance. I need to add that to my list of hikes to do this March.

Randy said...

Oh yes, one more thing. I like the idea of wild turbines as a means of renewable fuel, but they really need to better assess the danger to birds. Especially endangered and recovering raptors like the golden eagle. Many are being killed by flying into the windmill blades. Such a sad paradox.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Ken, nope, no tule elk sightings on the 152, but coming back we saw what looked like a managed herd on the 198, which I thought was odd. I have seen gray foxes at the base of the dam.

Graeme, I thought this was a great idea... until I heard from Randy. I'm going to have look into raptors flying into turbine blades.

Randy, they shouldn't have any excuse for poor trails. I'm adding Pacheco to my spring list, too, maybe on the same trip as to Henry Coe. Do you know if/when the Bell's Station Gate opens? Just looked up directions... on second thought, maybe I'll skip that entrance - "carry a spare tire and extra water"!!!

Imperfect and tense said...

Wind turbines are an emotive subject for everyone, but probably even more so for nature lovers. Green energy creators or wildlife destroyers? I'm well overdue a post on this topic, but haven't found an angle I'm happy with as yet. Plans have been submitted for a wind farm on the hill above our local nature reserve, so I've no real excuse for not getting my butt off the fence.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi, Graeme. I was hoping to hear from Randy by now. I did a couple of searches and came up with some disturbing results, e.g., how the design of the older CA Altamont wind farm turbines contributed to killing 60 to >4000 birds/year (something I vaguely remember reading years ago in a newspaper and didn't make the connection here), how endangered (and extremely expensive) CA condor mysterious deaths are being hushed up by PG&E (our local power supplier who owns the wind turbines), and how it's oddly difficult to find decent unbiased information on any this. I'm not sure how I got down this path, but there's a part of me that wants to go back to being passively ignorant to all of it and naively believing what I read on glossy websites. OK, I'm back to grumpy mode. Am looking forward to your take on this.

Imperfect and tense said...

It's a contentious area, right enough. I hope you're not expecting any properly-researched, factually-accurate, balanced, scientific reporting from I&T! No pressure, then.

Randy said...

As far as the Dowdy entrance to Coe, access is seasonal, and no definative information is available right now. The website says it’s closed until further notice. If it opens next year it will be in late spring, probably in May. The road is rough and dusty. Better to have a truck or SUV, but I have made the drive in my car. Just have to go slow.

On the wind turbine issue, I will have to get back to you on that, but I have read some very disturbing reports about recovering eagles, and other birds being killed by them. Further design review is needed IMO.

Randy said...

Here is an article from the LA times. This is the best I can do for now. I have to get to work now.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/06/local/la-me-adv-wind-eagles-20110606

Katie (Nature ID) said...

No pressure at all, Graeme :)

Thanks, Randy, for your information and the link. Turbine design and location seem to be the biggest issues from what I found online.

Anonymous said...

I saw a group of maybe 10 or so Tule Elk in the afternoon just around the Basalt turn off near San Luis Reservoir sitting in one of the fields near the road recently.