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Friends of the Lower Calaveras kicked off the start of its 2013 Riverwalk series this past Saturday at the University of the Pacific footbridge overlooking the Calaveras River.

A healthy attendance of around 20 walkers converged upon the Stockton site to learn about winter processes on the river, knowledge presented by longtime Stockton educator James Marsh and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Donnie Ratcliffe, both FLCR members.

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The two discussed the natural processes of a watershed in the winter.

“Rivers are collectors, they’re transporters,” said Ratcliffe. “River systems don’t shut down during the winter. Huge inputs are happening this time of year.”

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Discussion also touched upon the affect the ubiquitous levees have had on river processes, leading Ratcliffe and Marsh to highlight what the historic landscape would have looked like had the Calaveras River maintained its original “flashy winter system.”

“Honestly, you could not insult water and fish more than you do with this system,” Ratcliffe said, highlighting the need for groups like FLCR to carry out meaningful restoration work within the watershed.

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FLCR’s next Riverwalk is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9. This walk will be an active clean-up effort along the banks of the Lower Calaveras River in Stockton. For more information, contact Riverwalk Coordinator Kristine Williams at noelaniwilliams@yahoo.com.

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