Explore Diverse Wildlife Habitat on Central Valley Tour
See how water is managed in ecologically fragile areas
Our water tours give a behind-the-scenes look at major water issues in California. On our Central Valley Tour, March 8-10, you will visit wildlife habitat areas – some of which are closed to the public – and learn directly from the experts who manage them, in addition to seeing farms, large dams and other infrastructure.
We will visit the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, which features riparian woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and vernal pools. Several endangered species call the refuge in the northern San Joaquin Valley home, including the California tiger salamander, the long-horned fairy shrimp, and San Joaquin kit fox. We almost always see tule elk, found only in California and driven to the brink of extinction less than a century ago. Park rangers will lead you through lessons on habitat preservation and water management.
The refuge, along with other stops on the tour, are part of the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south flyway for migratory birds in the Americas. The Kern Water Bank has both upland and wetland habitats that are home to waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds and a stopping point for migrating species. The Tulare Basin Wetlands Association gives us a tour on private lands to see the nesting grounds of the American avocet. We will seek out their eggs while the avocets likely perform their distraction display by feigning injury to lead us away from the nests.
Accompanied by experts, we also will visit key restoration projects along the San Joaquin River, which is one of the nation’s largest river restoration projects. In the past year, parts of the river that have been dry for decades got their first flows. This will help towards the Bureau of Reclamations’ goal of restoring unimpeded salmon runs to the San Joaquin River.
Register here for this educational – and fun – tour. Take advantage of our early bird discount in effect until midnight tonight. For an additional fee, you can receive continuing education credits for the tour.