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 Solano Land Trust News
July 2015


In this Issue
CA tiger salamanders
Aim for Ag and Open Space
New team members
Lynch Canyon Trail Run success
Crop rank report 2014
In Memoriam: Larry Burch
Get Moving Outside
Volunteers Needed
Community Events
Outdoor Voice
Support Local Farmers
Get your ag on Solano County!

Buy fresh and buy local at farmers markets, farm stands, and community-supported-agriculture farms

Solano Land Trust 
has been protecting working farms and natural areas in Solano County since 1986.

Solano Land Trust
1001 Texas Street,
Suite C
Fairfield, CA 94533
(707) 432-0150


Editor: Aleta George

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Protected habitat helps California tiger salamanders survive in drought years   

Aleta George, Editor


As the vernal pools at Jepson Prairie start to fill during the rainy season, California tiger salamanders come out of their burrows at night and head for the pools to breed. Once their job is done, the adult salamanders return to their burrows, leaving the larvae to fend for themselves. The larvae need at least 90 days before they can morph from aquatic to terrestrial creatures, and if the water in the pond evaporates before they do, they die.

Jepson Prairie's Olcott Lake is the largest breeding pond anywhere. Here at the prairie-and at every breeding pond in California-drought years can be worrisome. That is why it was good to learn that the salamanders had a successful breeding season this year. To learn how they managed it during the fourth year of a drought, I contacted Chris Searcy at the University of Toronto. Several years ago, Searcy captured, studied, and released 30,000 Jepson salamanders during a study for which he earned a Ph.D. in population biology from U.C. Davis. Jepson is part of the University of California's Natural Reserve System, and UC Davis helps with management of resources and student studies at this Solano Land Trust-owned property.

Searcy explained by phone that this year's breeding success was due to timing and temperature. It rained in early December 2014, which gave them a jump start, and the warm spring helped them mature faster. At the end of April, Searcy dipped at Olcott Lake while teaching a workshop, and found the larvae well-developed. He even found a metamorph that exited the pool early.

Not all drought years have happy endings, but even when the salamanders have zero recruitment year after year, the population can recover if it is large enough. "Drought cycles have a huge effect on population size," said Searcy, "but the population can pop right back in wet years. Large populations buffer against a string of dry years."


Searcy said the population at Jepson Prairie is doing great because the salamander's burrow and breeding habitat is protected. He estimates that there are around 600 breeding pairs at Olcott Lake and Round Pond, Jepson's second largest pond. 


Forget your hiking shoes-grab your gun!

Get outside with Solano Land Trust at the event everyone loves


Photo by Yumi Wilson 
When was the last time you shot a can off a fence post and had that immediate swell of pride? Maybe you want to test your aim and see if you've still got it, or maybe you know you're a good shot and want to compete for an award?

No matter how good (or bad!) your aim, join us for a day filled with action, amazing raffle prizes, and a chance to win a shotgun or a safe. Don't miss the 5th Annual Aim for Ag & Open Space sporting clay shoot on Saturday, August 8 at 8:30 a.m. at Birds Landing.

Bring a friend, your family, or your whole office for some competitive fun while supporting your favorite land trust. Your entry fee of $85 (50 
targets) or $125 (100 targets) includes ear and eye protection, a shooter's prize, a delicious lemon-garlic grilled chicken lunch with beer and soda, and a chance to win an award. You don't need to own a gun to shoot. Call Birds Landing in advance to reserve a gun rental at
(707) 374-5092.

Say hello to the newest members of the Solano Land Trust team

Theresa Hill is a recent transplant to Northern California. She has fallen in love with the area and is excited to call this community her home. She
joined Solano Land Trust as executive assistant in April 2015. Originally from Southern California and Nevada, Theresa has managed local and statewide candidate campaigns and served as executive assistant to the mayor of North Las Vegas. Theresa's favorite summer crop is strawberries. "I have a two-year-old daughter who loves biting into ripe strawberries and making a mess all over her face," says Theresa. "It's great to watch!"

Denyce Jocelyn's favorite summer fruit is a peach, and remembers those grown by her grandparents in Vallejo. "The backyard smelled incredible because of the rose bushes and fruit trees. My sisters and brothers and I always made a beeline for the backyard peaches that we ate in a handmade swing our grandfather made just for us." Denyce is Solano Land Trust's new community engagement administrative assistant. With a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix and ten years of customer service experience, she provides administrative support to staff, assistance to guests renting Rush Ranch facilities, and outreach at fundraising events.

Jared Lewis's favorite summer crop is tomatoes. "I can't get enough-especially heirlooms. They are beautiful to look at, and even more beautiful to eat." Prior to joining Solano Land Trust as stewardship coordinator, Jared managed ecological restoration projects and resource management plans for public and private clients statewide since 2003. Jared holds a BA in liberal studies from Bennington College, an M.Sc. in environmental studies from Green Mountain College, and a post-graduate GIS certificate from San Francisco State University. Jared's work at Rush Ranch involves close collaboration with the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. "I am in love with the marsh at Rush Ranch. Recently I spotted two young coyotes playing near First Mallard. They were having a blast."

Ron Lanza is an early riser. His favorite time of day is sunrise. "The best place to be is in the vineyards, but as long as I'm outside it doesn't matter where I am...just outside." Ron joined the Solano Land Trust board in 2015. He grew up in Suisun Valley and is a third generation winemaker and grower at Wooden Valley Winery, a family owned, award-winning winery that makes wine and supplies fruit to other wineries and home winemakers across America. Ron focuses on management and marketing, while his brothers Rick, Larry, and Ken manage over 400 acres of vineyards and the wine making. Ron also serves on the boards of the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association and the Suisun Valley Fruit Growers Association. "As a young boy I remember spending many days walking around Rockville Trails, well before it became a Solano Land Trust property." 
Thank you all for another great Lynch Canyon Trail Run!
Deanna Mott, Associate Director

Photo by Yumi Wilson 
If you missed the Lynch Canyon Trail Run & Community Hike this year, well, you really missed it! We had 460 participants from ten states and four 
countries including Canada, Great Britain, and Brazil.

Race results & photo gallery

The event gets better and bigger every year, and we couldn't pull it off without our fantastic organizing committee of Chris Abess, Eldrith Gosney, Buzz Higgins, Jim Reikowsky, Todd Rewick, and Carol Gilpin. A big thank you also goes to our amazing staff and volunteers who show up year after year at 5:30 a.m., and especially to Ken and Jordan for preparing the trails-an important feature for runners' safety. A very special thank you goes to volunteers Virgil Sellers and Dave George who helped create hand-crafted, half-marathon medals. You guys rock!

Photo by Yumi Wilson
Please support those who support us: Symantec, NorthBay Healthcare, Solano Garbage, First Northern Bank, Fleet Feet Vacaville, Brooks, Kaiser Permanente, Solano County Sheriff's Custody Association, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, Shute Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, Solano County, 95.3 KUIC, DiVittorio & Associates, Yumi Wilson Photography, Tom Muelheisen, Nugget Markets, Habit Burger, Recology Vallejo, Vallejo Convention & Visitor's Bureau, and All Star Rents.

Next year's trail run is on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Be there!
Tomatoes first in 2014 crop report

Despite drought conditions, Solano County's 2014 agricultural production was up eight percent according to the 65th Annual Solano County Crop and Livestock Report. The overall agricultural production value reached an all-time high of $378.6 million.

"Our Solano County crop report shows that our growers are flexible and able to respond to market fluctuations quickly," says agricultural commissioner Jim Allan. "I consider this to be a sign of a healthy ag economy."

Table courtesy of Solano County
In memoriam: Larry Burch
Farewell to a passionate board member 
Linda Seifert, Board President

Lawrence Burch (AKA Lorenzo Burchielli) completed his magnificent life on May 26, 2015. He died peacefully at home after a valiant battle against cancer. His outlook on life inspired people in many arenas, and it was his passion for the protection of Green Valley open space that brought him to Solano Land Trust as a board member in 2012.

As a member of the Green Valley Land Owners Association (GVLA) he fought to protect Rockville Trails Preserve for years, and then found purpose on the land trust board and sub-committee to help design the natural area into a preserve for the entire community. He loved Rockville Trails Preserve and was one of our first hiking docents. He was often seen walking along the trails carrying a shovel so he could move rocks or pull weeds as he hiked. Lorenzo's vision for Rockville Trails is just one of the many legacies he leaves behind.

Make a contribution in his honor to his church Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living or Solano Land Trust. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living, 1249 Coombs St., Napa. Hawaiian attire is suggested.