February 4, 2019 — As winter winds up early and spring draws near, wild animals from butterflies to elk are making the most of sometimes sunny days. Near the end of January, I went on a tour of the Little Lake Valley with Marisela De Santa Anna, the project interpreter and wildlife biologist for the Willits mitigation project. That’s over 2,000 acres of wetlands and riparian corridor, inhabited by elk, bald eagles, otters, beavers, and many different kinds of ducks. Efforts are also underway to plant native vegetation in areas that have been affected by years of non-native grazing and tinkering with the drainage of the wetlands. The property is managed by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD), as part of a mitigation arrangement with CalTrans following the construction of the Willits bypass.
Join us on an audio tour as Santa Anna points out bald eagles, a collapsed beaver dam, and a pair of curious carnivores. You can read more about her observations on the MCRCD blog, which also features photographs and videos from wildlife cameras.