|Sunset at the San Joaquin River NWR near the Beckwith Road Viewing Platform|
Really! Go read it first!....okay, are you back now?
|Snow and Ross's Geese taking flight at the San Joaquin River NWR|
|Snow and Ross's Geese at the San Joaquin River NWR|
|Aleutian Cackling Geese and Snow Geese at the Beckwith Road Viewing Platform|
|Merced NWR at Sunset|
The other main complex is the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, which has several units along the San Joaquin River south of Turlock. The refuge includes the main San Luis refuge and Tule Elk Preserve, along with Bear Creek Unit and the Merced National Wildlife Refuge.
|Sandhill Cranes at the Merced NWR|
|Common Yellowthroat at the Merced NWR|
|Gadwall at the Merced NWR|
|Tule Elk at the San Luis NWR|
The Tule Elk have a tortured history in California. They are a distinct subspecies of the elk clan, native to the state. They were one of the most abundant large grazers on the California prairie prior to the arrival of European colonists, with numbers estimated at about 500,000. They were hunted literally to oblivion, and when hunting of the elk was outlawed in 1873 they were thought to be already extinct. A small number, either two or four according to the story, were found on Henry Miller's ranch in the south San Joaquin Valley, and Miller undertook to protect them. They hovered near extinction for the next several decades, but preserves have been established around the state and the herd has reached a population of more than 5,000 individuals. They are still threatened by lack of genetic diversity, given that they are all descended from a single pair or two.
|Ruddy Duck at the Merced NWR|
|Green-winged Teal at the Merced NWR|
|Yellow-headed Blackbird at the Bear Creek Unit of the San Luis NWR|
|American Avocet at the Merced NWR|
|Great Horned Owl at the Merced NWR|
You can read some of the details in this article, but here is the main takeaway...
This sickening gift to polluters will allow wetlands, streams and rivers across a vast stretch of America to be obliterated with pollution," ... "People and wildlife need clean water to thrive. Destroying half of our nation's streams and wetlands will be one of Trump's ugliest legacies. We'll absolutely be fighting it in court.After so much that has been lost, especially here in California, and here in my home in the Great Valley, I am sickened at heart that men so craven have been allowed to destroy so much that is good. I hope you can appreciate the incredible legacy we have in our valley, and that you might become part of the fight to preserve the small parts that remain.
|Sunset at the Bear Creek Unit of the San Luis NWR|