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This newsletter was originally sent on Feb 2, 2016.
February 2016
Naturally Yours
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Grazing Coming to Bobcat Ridge to Meet Habitat Goals

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Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is a favorite local recreation spot but what visitors might not notice is how the site’s grassland vegetation has become thick and overgrown.  It’s not a healthy situation for a site managed for its habitat as well as its recreational opportunities.  So in an effort to mimic the natural disturbance cycle, 64 cattle from Sylvan Dale Ranch will soon graze the valley at Bobcat Ridge. Sylvan Dale Ranch won the city’s competitive bid process for a rotational grazing program designed to achieve conservation goals. Read the press release >>>

North Shields Ponds Fishery Improvements

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The City of Fort Collins will be creating a few deeper holes in the east pond on North Shields Ponds Natural Area to improve sport fishery habitat. The dredged soil and rock from the process will be used to create pads to improve bank fishing access.
Work will involve heavy equipment, but no road or trail closures will be needed. Anticipated start date is February 16 and work is expected to take a week to complete (weather dependent). North Shields Ponds Natural Area will continue to be open for public use during the sport fishery improvement work.

Willow Removal for Habitat Restoration

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Watch for the removal of crack willows in Kingfisher Point Natural Area in the coming months. Crack willow (Salix fragilis) is a fast growing tree that is native to Europe and Western Asia.  As an introduced species here, it crowds out native willows and cottonwood trees in riverside habitats.  Crack willows do not provide quality habitat for wildlife.  For example, cavity nesters like woodpeckers prefer native trees and are not as likely to construct cavities in crack willows.  This, in turn leaves fewer cavities for those that use already excavated cavities like wood ducks and screech owls.  Once crack willows are removed, the forest will be more open which allows native willows and cottonwood trees to take root this spring.

Ranger Wins State Award

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Karl Manderbach, Natural Areas and Trails Ranger, has been awarded a Colorado Field Ornithologists (CFO) “Appreciation Award” for his work assisting the birding public to view the rare American woodcock at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. The Appreciation Award is one of CFO's most coveted awards and is only been given to a select few individuals who have supported birds, their habitat, and birders. Read more here >>>

Video Highlights Innovation

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Out of the Box is a Cable 14 video series that showcases city innovations- check out the Natural Areas edition (7 minutes). The fun short video focuses on land conservation, stewardship, and innovative outreach.

Coyotes in Natural Areas

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There have been several recent reports of interactions with coyotes in natural areas. Typically more aggressive behavior is seen during breeding season.  Please stay on trail, never approach or feed coyotes, keep dogs leashed, and always treat coyotes as wild animals. To report unusual behavior or concerns, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife,(970) 472-4300. Living with Wildlife in Coyote Country information >>>

Free Activities in February

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Everyone is invited to enjoy your natural areas with a friendly and knowledgeable guide through the educational activities, events and volunteer opportunities listed below. To learn more visit fcgov.com/naturalareas call 970-416-2815 or email naturalareas@fcgov.com.

Eagle Watches
Friday, February 5, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Friday, February 12, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 13, 4:00-5:30 p.m.- Last Eagle Watch of the season!
Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet at the viewing pier, ¼ mile from the parking lot.
Master Naturalist volunteers will be on-hand to explain the eagles’ natural history and help visitors view them through spotting scopes and binoculars. Drop-in anytime during the listed hours. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Art and Nature
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Fort Collins Museum of Art, 201 South College Avenue
Join City of Fort Collins Master Naturalist volunteers to explore and discuss how nature and art are interrelated in an engaging hands-on lecture. Natural Shift is an exhibition available until March 20, showing nature-inspired forms of sculpture. Also celebrating the exhibition, there will be an Artistic Nature Walk on March 5. Free: admission is sponsored by City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Skygazing
Friday, February 26, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet in the parking lot off Carpenter Road.
Enjoy viewing the night sky with telescopes and knowledgeable volunteers provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com. For weather updates and cancellations, visit the NCAS website at http://www.nocoastro.org.

 

naturalareaslogo.gif Natural Areas News is published on the first Tuesday of the month with occasional special editions. Newsletter comments are welcome. Please contact Zoe Shark, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Community Relations Manager, 970-221-6311 or zshark@fcgov.com.

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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