Thursday, July 13, 2017

Northern Rough-winged Swallow Chicks Relocated at Alameda Recapture Creek Project

During the month of June, part of our construction management team at the Alameda Creek Diversion Dam (ACDD) project relocated 5 adorable Northern Rough-winged swallow chicks.  The relocation of the chicks was done by lead biologist, Chris Pattison, with the assistance of another lead biologist, Matthew Bettelheim. Chris Pattison was the only biologist handling the baby chicks. The entire process was performed under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) relocation permit.

Lead biologist, Chris Pattison preparing to relocate the chicks

Rough-winged Swallow Chicks at ACDD Project

They were immediately transported to the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital for a full veterinarian examination.  All of the baby chicks passed their examinations and were then transferred to the Native Songbird Care and Conservation in Sebastopol, California.  Native Songbird Care and Conservation specializes in insectivorous birdsThe chicks were reared until they were ready for release.

Northern Rough-Winged at ACDD project

A plain brown bird, Northern Rough-winged swallows are common across the United States in the summer. They are solitary and are usually seen singly or in a small group.  The bird gets its name “rough-winged” because their outer wings have small hooks or points.

See you around the valley!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Preventing Fires in and around our Watersheds

Calaveras Reservoir 

Happy belated Fourth of July!

We are in the middle of fire season and it’s good to keep in mind how we can prevent fires in and around our watersheds.  Our watersheds, the San Antonio and Calaveras reservoirs are a critical part of our infrastructure because they provide clean drinking water to millions of people in the Bay Area.  They’re also home to wildlife, fish and livestock. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than $450 billion in food, fiber, manufactured goods and tourism depend on clean, healthy watersheds. Today’s blog is a continuation of our summer fire safety series, focusing on preventing fire in and around our watersheds.

Image courtesy of

Fire Triangle

There are 3 key elements that need to be present in order to ignite a wildfire.  Those three elements are humidity, fuel (grasses, sticks, branches etc…) and wind.  Typically, if the humidity in the air is lower than 30%, coupled with fuel and wind, you’re bound to create a fire.  Out of all of the three elements, wind is the most dangerous because it provides oxygen to a fire. Wind not only controls the direction, spread, and size of fire, but also greatly affects the flammability of plants by reducing fuel moisture.

San Antonio Reservoir

Preventing Fires in and around Watersheds

Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent fires in and around our watersheds:
  • Be careful and stay in well established graded/mowed roads
  • If you have an ATV’s- remember just because you have an ATV doesn’t mean you’re safe 
    • Use ATV’s only if weather permits
  • Pay attention to the condition of the fuel around you, especially on hot, windy days
  • Be aware of your vehicle’s exhaust, whether you’re on an ATV, car or any other type of mechanical equipment
    • If you have to pull over to the side of the road, be careful not to park over dry fuel (grasses)
  • Fireworks- careful not to set them off in or around dry fuel (grasses)
  • Shooting Guns- sparks from guns or any other type of firearm can ignite a fire given the right conditions
  • Mowing –is the biggest causes of fires, try not to mow past 10 a.m.
  • No smoking near the watersheds
 If you see a fire near or around a watershed please call 911 immediately!

Additional fire resources:
·       CAL FIRE at:
National Fire Protection Agency,