By: Alex Breitler, Record

Often mistaken for a drainage ditch, Stockton’s humble Calaveras River has potential to aid in the recovery of threatened Central Valley steelhead, a federal fish agency said Tuesday.

Measures to help Calaveras steelhead are part of a much broader “recovery plan” released Tuesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The document was described as a “road map” to restore not only steelhead but also imperiled salmon up and down the Valley.

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Every now and then, something really good is done for our river and for our fish. Please take a few minutes to watch this fantastic video about recent improvement to the lower Calaveras River: features FLCR’s two hardest working volunteers: Donnie Ratcliff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Jim Marsh, naturalist/artist/educator extraordinaire. Share this link with anyone who would like a little good news about our environment!

Photo by Jim Marsh

Of all the photos naturalist Jim Marsh has taken along the Calaveras River, this one would seem to be the least “natural.”

But it just might tell the story best.

Marsh has spent the past year regularly visiting a 3-acre portion of the Calaveras where native grasses were planted last winter in a modest effort to restore the glorified drainage ditch.

During his weekly visits, Marsh does what most of us would never think to do along that stream. He opens his eyes. There isn’t much to see yet in the restoration area, or so it would seem, but Marsh has found surprising beauty even in the smallest insects and flowers found at the site. He also listens to the ambient noise — the wind, the birds, the bustle of the surrounding city. His observations are written down in a journal.

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Here are some beautiful pictures taken by FLCR’s own Jim Marsh of the 3 acre Native Grass Restoration site at university of the Pacific!

Growing forward: Effort to restore river habitat takes first step

By: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

IMGP2863On a river, you have to celebrate the small successes.

A grand vision to restore the Calaveras River where it flows past the University of the Pacific has not been fulfilled, but Saturday – after almost two years of planning and navigating local and state bureaucracy – volunteers were able to plant native grasses across a 3-acre Calaveras flood plain.

It’s not easy in a post-Hurricane Katrina world to plant anything on a flood plain.

This won’t be the full-fledged riparian restoration some naturalists would like. And if you’re not a biologist or plant scientist, the south bank of the Calaveras might not look all that different.

But it does represent the biggest on-the-ground project conducted by advocacy group Friends of the Lower Calaveras River, which for five years has tried to elevate the profile of the Calaveras beyond a mere drainage ditch.

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Bring your family and friends to this fun opportunity to get your hands dirty!

When: Saturday, September 15, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Stagg High School
(1621 Brookside Rd., Stockton, CA 95207)

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the event…

  • Wear closed toed shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Water, gloves, and bags will be provided.
  • Free parking is available at Stagg HIgh School