Biologist Kari Burr Led February's Riverwalk

On Saturday, February 6, Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR) hosted their 3rd monthly Riverwalk!

Gary Basil, Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger, greeted us at the Army Corps of Engineers and gave a brief, yet thorough, history of the New Hogan Lake Facility.

Fish specialist, Kari Burr and UOP Biology Prof, Stacy Luthy were the experts who led the 40 streamside walkers along the COE developed River of Skulls Trail below New Hogan Dam. Both provided a wealth of detailed, current information regarding the desirable characteristics of steelhead and salmon spawning streams of which this reach of the Lower Calaveras is an example.

We were shown evidence of both healthy stream and riparian habitat and degraded, less productive spots under their guidance. Kari’s background both as a trained biologist and as an active local naturalist, stream restoration specialist and conservationist–with life-long experience on the Lower Calaveras–lent a broad sweep to her presentation.

Despite the cool, overcast conditions the signs of early spring were clear from the presence of numerous vernal pools and sprouting buckeyes to the first evidence of spring blooms and the diversity noted by birders along the way. As we had all hoped, a bonus for the FLCR facilitated walks has been the contributions of the walkers themselves. From thought-provoking questions to insights provided by local experts, engaging and unanticipated dimensions are added to these strolls.

Among the “walk-on” contributors this time was long-time Valley Springs resident, Terry Hampton. Terry has lived on the Lower Calaveras just a mile or so downstream from the River of Skulls Trail for many years. Her encyclopedic knowledge of the natural landscape of this area and her experience leading school groups along that reach added further depth to this outing.

Thanks and recognition, too, goes to those walkers who have made a consistent practice of picking up trash on all our FLCR walks!