For Immediate Release, May 12, 2008
Contact: Brent Plater, GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year, (415) 572-6989
GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year Hosts Free
Endangered Species Day Celebration to Protect Local Endangered Species;
Year-long Competition's Prizes to be Announced
||Bay Area conservation groups, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) visitors
||Endangered Species Day Celebration for 2008 GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year
||11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Sunday, May 18
||Rodeo Lagoon/Ft. Cronkhite, Marin Headlands, Mitchell Road between Fort Cronkhite and Bunker roads.
||To see and save the GGNRA’s 33 endangered species, including a guided hike with underwater cameras to see the tidewater goby, an elusive, nest-building fish found in Rodeo Lagoon
SAN FRANCISCO— The Golden Gate National Recreation Area Endangered Species Big Year will host an Endangered Species Day celebration at Rodeo Lagoon on May 18, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. The celebration will also mark the mid-point in the year-long Endangered Species Big Year competition, which has more than 250 competitors seeking to see and save each of the 33 endangered species found in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).
The Endangered Species Day celebration is designed to raise awareness about the Bay Area’s imperiled fish, wildlife, and plants. The Bay Area is considered one of six biodiversity hotspots in the nation because of its high number of imperiled species, and the GGNRA contains more endangered species than any other unit of the national park system in continental North America, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia national parks combined.
On May 18, GGNRA natural resources staff will describe some of the conservation efforts underway in the park. Then people will be taken on a guided hike of Rodeo Lagoon, which is critical habitat for an endangered, nest-building fish called the tidewater goby. If water conditions are favorable, people may use provided underwater cameras with monitors to help them see the tidewater goby. Free snacks and beverages will be available.
The year-long GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year is aimed at connecting GGNRA visitors with the 33 endangered species found in the park through individual exploration and guided expeditions, and to encourage participation in conservation action items that will prevent species from going extinct. In addition to being an educational program, the inaugural Endangered Species Big Year is a competitive event, awarding the individual who sees and helps the most species from January 1 through December 31, 2008 with the Big Year Award. The final prizes for the year-long competition will be announced on May 18.
“We are fortunate to have the diverse landscapes of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in public ownership,” said Brent Plater, director of the GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year. “This astounding array of imperiled biodiversity in the midst of the Bay Area is a source of wonder and celebration, but also a cause for concern. The dire status of so many native species indicates we should reexamine our relationship to our local ecosystems, and the Big Year will allow Bay Area residents to make this connection.”
Participants can log on to the Big Year web site (www.ggnrabigyear.org), which features a page for each of the 33 plants and animals detailing their natural history, threats, likely observation locations, an action item, and a comprehensive checklist. In order to check a species off the list, participants must observe it alive within the GGNRA legislative boundary, complete a specific conservation action item for that species, and comply with the Big Year’s ethical wildlife viewing principles to protect species and habitats. The public also can go online to post their sightings, compare their totals with others, and sign up for e-mail alerts to get information such as when a southern sea otter is spotted off Ocean Beach or whether the San Bruno elfin butterfly is flying.
The endangered animal species that can be seen within the GGNRA include the San Francisco garter snake, California red-legged frog, southern sea otter, Steller sea lion, humpback whale, salt marsh harvest mouse, marbled murrelet, western snowy plover, brown pelican, California clapper rail, California least tern, northern spotted owl, San Bruno elfin butterfly, Bay checkerspot butterfly, mission blue butterfly, California freshwater shrimp, tidewater goby, coho salmon, steelhead trout, and chinook salmon. Listed plants in the GGNRA include the Presidio manzanita, Tiburon paintbrush, fountain thistle, Presidio clarkia, San Mateo woolly sunflower, Marin dwarf-flax, San Francisco lessingia, white-rayed pentachaeta, California seablite, and showy Indian clover.