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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: Service Biologists Attend Tule Fog Fete
Region 8, March 7, 2010
USFWS biologist J.D. Wikert explains the impacts of non-native invasives to children at the festival (photo: Ramon Martin, Stockton FWO)
USFWS biologist J.D. Wikert explains the impacts of non-native invasives to children at the festival (photo: Ramon Martin, Stockton FWO) - Photo Credit: n/a
USFWS biologists interact with festival participants and explain the benefits of habitat restoration projects in the Stanislaus River (photo: Ramon Martin, Stockton FWO)
USFWS biologists interact with festival participants and explain the benefits of habitat restoration projects in the Stanislaus River (photo: Ramon Martin, Stockton FWO) - Photo Credit: n/a

by J.D. Wikert and Ramon Martin, Stockton FWO
The tule fog was absent as Modesto Junior College hosted their annual Tule Fog Fete outreach event on March 7, 2010.  Service staff from the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office took advantage of the opportunity to interact with environmentally minded children and adults from the local area.  Several hundred people attended the event, which provided live music, an obstacle course for kids, and numerous interactive exhibits including fish dissection. 

Held at Caswell State Park along the lower reach of the Stanislaus River, the setting offered a great opportunity to discuss restoration of salmon populations, and responsible stewardship of the environment.  Service biologists handed out “Let’s Go Outside” water bottles and compass carabineers, as well as tattooing salmon, sturgeon, and the blue goose on happy children. 

The event was even better attended by box elder beetles which flocked to anything white including vehicles and people in t-shirts.  For those still wondering, a tule is a local name for a large bulrush of the genus Scirpus which used to carpet the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Tules once lined the shores of Tulare Lake, California, formerly the largest freshwater lake in the Western United States and other vast wetlands that used to be common in the San Joaquin Valley prior to the construction of flood control structures, such as levees and dams.  In the Central Valley of California, about 95 percent of wetlands have been converted to a variety of different land uses such as agriculture and urban centers.  Service staff provided festival attendees with similar examples of how land use changes and other anthropogenic impacts have created a need to restore riparian and wetland habitat in order to recover imperiled species such as Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead.    

Contact Info: Ramon Martin, 209-334-2968 ext. 401, ramon_martin@fws.gov