SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS FUND, 401 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 contact@samofund.org 805-370-2341

Science Day at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Every year in February SAMO Fund supports the SAMO Science Day at park HQ.  Researchers from all over the area came to share their findings with eager listeners about national park wildlife, experiments they’ve conducted, and long-term effects of the drought. This year we got a chance to sit in for a couple of fascinating presentations by Rosi Dagit from Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains on the drought and beetle impacts to native trees, and Professor Walter Sakai who spoke about the impact of the long term drought on chaparral birds.

Rosi explained that from the start of this year, she has set up a series of homemade traps to lure the beetles in order to see what (besides the drought) is causing them to be so detrimental to our oak trees.  She is also looking for volunteers to help with trap-checking for the duration of the experiment, a good opportunity for volunteering or just for someone who’s interested in the project.

Professor Walter Sakai explained that his research shows that the drought has had a dramatic impact on local birds and their breeding patterns.  He gave statistics on the sharp birth decline, but added that, with so much winter rain this year there is hope that our birds can start repopulating!

Other topics covered included red-legged frog re-introduction, biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains, water quality, and post-wildfire processes in Southern California.

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