I’m stationed at the Cosumnes River Preserve just south of Sacramento, CA. If you don’t already know, California is experiencing a sever drought right now. Despite the wonderful upper 60’s lower 70 degree daytime highs, this could potentially be very bad. Although this is supposed to be our rainy season, we have not had any precipitation in over a month, and forecasts are already predicting no rain in the month of February. The Folsom reservoir, which supplies water to the greater Sacramento area, is under 20% full for this coming “dry” season. The water is so low in the reservoir that a city that was flooded in 1955 with the creation of the lake is now once again becoming visible. The city of Sacramento has already asked residents to begin reducing water usage by 20%. This is going to be an especially dangerous fire season in California if this dry weather continues.
The unusually dry weather has also had a major impact on the wildlife migration patterns in our area. The Preserve acts as a major winter refuge for birds using the pacific flyway. This year, the birds just haven’t shown up. The wetlands here would typically be blanketed with a solid covering of birds this time of year. Unfortunately, we have yet to see any substantial numbers in our bi-monthly bird counts. Many birds further north are not making the trip down this year thinking they are still in summer season, while others that have already made the trip to our area are heading back north thinking winter is over. These birds seem to be very confused, and it is disconcerting to think of how this might impact future populations.
My tasks here are never ending (I am perfectly happy with that). Most recently I’ve been working on GIS maps, facility maintenance (gutter repairs, sign installations), invasive plant recon, permitting for some of the restoration projects I am working on and equipment maintenance in anticipation of the outdoor work (summer) season. In addition to my primary responsibilities I typically help with general tasks here like wetland water management, and all activities relating to our integrated pest management program. I should be federally certified as a pesticide applicator by the end of February. That being said, life is good here (at least while the water lasts).
Great trainings, great experiences, great employment preparation. CLM