Wild & Scenic Mokelumne Update

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Fall 2016 Conservancy events, activities and survey results
26th Annual Mokelumne River Cleanup

Over 35 volunteers, including some traveling from Lodi, gathered in force to collect 605 pounds of trash and 88 pounds of recyclables during Foothill Conservancy’s 26th annual Mokelumne River Cleanup last September. Combing cleanup sites along Electra Road and at the Highway 26 North Fork crossing, volunteers collected trash and recyclables such as beer and soda cans, bottles, broken glass, paper, fast-food trash, tires, batteries, disposable diapers, clothing, a small refrigerator, furniture and other large household items, as well as countless cigarette butts.†

Delicious snacks baked by Bob Hartmann and Carolyn Schooley,†and coffee donated by the Martell Safeway Starbucks kept volunteers fueled. Finders of the “most unusual item” from each site received a gift certificate for ice cream, generously donated by Munnerlyn’s Ice Creamery in Pine Grove. This year’s most unusual finds were a bean bag dog and a motion-sensor wildlife camera. Local solid waste company ACES (Amador County Environmental Services)†handled trash disposal and recycling. ACES deserves special recognition for accepting our cleanup trash for free for every cleanup since 1991 and for donating dumpsters in recent years.

Thanks again to our cleanup volunteers for their hard work to keep our beloved Mokelumne River clean, safe and beautiful for all. Watch for information on the Great Sierra River Cleanup next September for the date of our annual event. If you would like to help put the cleanup together or volunteer, please contact Carolyn at our office, 209-223-3508.

First harvest celebration was a great success

Last October, Foothill Conservancy members and supporters gathered on a fine autumn afternoon at Feist Wines to enjoy our first Fall Harvest Fundraiser. A capacity crowd of nearly 100 guests attended the fun event, which featured Feist wines, savory wood-fired gourmet pizzas, organic Abbondonza Farms green salad, homemade desserts, and Amador Brewery beer.

The featured local musicians at the beautiful Feist indoor-outside venue on Eureka Street were singer-songwriter Adam Gottstein, the Slade Rivers Band, and the NJR Jug and Juke Band. Their varied styles and songs were enjoyed by all. The weather was perfect and everyone had a wonderful time. We would like to Susan and Tony Feist of Feist Wines for hosting our event, Daniel D’Agostini of Abbondanza for the salad, Denny McCue for lining up the bands, and Marta Brady-Johnson for organizing the event.

Proceeds from the Fall Harvest event directly benefited Foothill Conservancy’s efforts to keep Amador and Calaveras counties beautiful places to live, work and retire.

DamNation showing attracted river lovers to Sutter Creek

We closed out 2016 with a screening of the award-winning film DamNation at the Sutter Creek Theater on Friday, December 1. Filling the theater almost to capacity, audience members viewed the engrossing story of how removing obsolete dams allows rivers and their native fish to recover, provides opportunities to revitalize local economies, and increases watershed resiliency. The film chronicled the shift in national attitudes on large dams, from unquestioned engineering marvels needed to tame rivers for human benefit to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. The screening coincided with the Conservancy’s celebrating the removal of the East Panther Creek Dam in Amador County. Two lucky raffle winners went home with chunks of the former dam, truly unique mementos of local environmental history. If you haven’t already, be sure to watch our video on East Panther Creek Dam complete with blasting footage. Our Watershed Conservation Associate Reuben Childress did a great job of editing the film.

Conservancy completes member and nonmember surveys

Last year Foothill Conservancy conducted surveys both for members and nonmembers. Our member survey focused on your local environmental concerns, expectations as a Conservancy member and Conservancy events and communications. You identified rivers, streams, and watersheds; land use planning, growth, and development; and wildlife and habitat as your top three local environmental issues. We were pleased that most member survey participants indicated Foothill Conservancy is continuing to meet your expectations for successfully advocating for and protecting our lands, waters and forests. We were also pleased that most members agree our Focus newsletter and weekly NewsNotes provide useful and interesting information. And we heard loud and clear that it was time to switch to an electronic version of the Focus, so we hope you are enjoying this first e-Focus! If you’d like to receive printed versions of Focus articles in the mail, please e-mail Carolyn or call her at 209-223-3508.

The Conservancy’s second survey targeted nonmembers ages 18-45, both local residents and nonresidents. The purpose of this survey was to explore which environmental issues are most important to that target audience, which outdoor recreation activities they enjoy, whether they are currently a member of an environmental organization, and what draws them to support and/or join such an organization.

Hiking/backpacking, wildflower viewing and camping were the top three outdoor activities enjoyed by survey takers, who identified rivers, wildlife habitat, and water quality as their top three environmental issues. Like Conservancy members, nonmembers tend to join organizations that work at the local and regional level.

In terms of group activities, both member and nonmember survey respondents voiced interest in outdoor gatherings, including naturalist-led hikes, river-related activities (rafting and watershed tours), outdoor projects, and guest presentations on environmental issues.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our surveys. The information you provided is invaluable, not only for how we can serve members today, but how we can attract even more people concerned about our unique, local natural resources to join and participate in our organization from now into the future.

We especially want to thank Ross King of King Research, Inc. for donating hours of his expertise in developing and implementing the surveys, conducting follow-up telephone interviews and analyzing the results. Ross, a former Pioneer resident, generously donated his time, skill, insights, and expertise to help make our organization more sustainable. We truly appreciate his help!

THE FOOTHILL CONSERVANCY  |  35 Court Street, Suite 1   Jackson, CA  95642  |  209-223-3508