Among the numerous grant requests considered by the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission each year many support public education, often in conjunction with other programs including hatchery activities, research, and habitat improvement.
An example of such funding supported the western Sonoma County Salmon Creek Middle School's Environmental Education and Watershed Restoration Program. This multi-year ridge top to creek watershed restoration project enhances the health of the Salmon Creek watershed while simultaneously providing students, with teachers and other volunteers, the opportunity to combine the restoration with curricula linking the restoration efforts to math and science academic studies.
Additionally, the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission appropriated $8,000.00 to the Bay Institute, STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) Project at Montgomery High School, Santa Rosa, in their education and restoration of Spring Creek, a tributary of Santa Rosa Creek, which flows into the Russian River.
The STRAW Program consisted of:
- Four days of STRAW professional development for teachers
- Classroom visits and instruction from STRAW staff to assist in developing watershed studies to prepare the students for restoration activities
- Materials and supervision for the student-involved restoration of approximately 100 feet of Spring Creek, bordering Montgomery High
- Post restoration maintenance and student educational activities.
Students attending Occidental Arts and Ecology Center's June, 2000 Basins of Relations Community Watershed Training, learn about Dutch Bill Creek habitat restoration from Doug Gore using rock weirs. In the past the Sonoma County Fish &Wildlife Commission has funded both the Basins of Relations training and the installation of numerous creek restoration structures, such as rock weirs and digger logs.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish Health Lab employee Christy Juhasz examines the shell of a Sonoma coast red abalone for the presence of microscopic pests. The Nikon microscope and fiber optic light source were purchased with funds provided by the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission.
A portion of the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission grant funds are allotted to foster law enforcement for the benefit of Sonoma County fish and wildlife. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has received grants for the purchase of much-needed equipment that can’t be realized with established budgets. Examples include night vision scopes, primarily for use in monitoring illegal, nighttime, abalone harvest along the Sonoma County coast.
In addition, the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission granted $4,000.00 to the Sonoma Coast State Beach, providing Sonoma Coast Rangers with optics and computing tools for long-range fish and wildlife surveillance operations. The spotting scopes enable rangers to accurately observe violations from a distance while building their case. The computing equipment permits the rangers to upload information gained during contacts to other rangers and wardens working abalone enforcement along the coast via the Abtrac program.