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Monday, April 21, 2008

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East Sacramento County: Spring Wildflower and Vernal Pool Guided Public Tours at Rancho Seco Howard Ranch Trail


The Nature Conservancy’s free tours provide the public with an opportunity to view the region’s most spectacular landscapes with knowledgeable and entertaining guides

Sacramento, California — March 7, 2008 — The Nature Conservancy is hosting a series of Vernal Pool Walks at the Rancho Seco Howard Ranch Trail led by trained naturalists from the Cosumnes River Preserve. Walks will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday March 22nd, April 5th, April 19th and May 3rd.

The 7-mile Rancho Seco Howard Ranch Trail is a hiker’s paradise. The trail begins by winding around the north end of Rancho Seco Lake along willow scrub and riparian marsh habitat. As the trail leaves the waters edge, it travels up onto a flat terrace supporting a mosaic of vernal pools and grassland habitat. This terrace also offers dramatic views of extensive blue oak woodlands in the foothills and the far-off peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

When filled with water, vernal pools are crucial to the short life cycle of federally listed threatened and endangered species, such as the California Tiger Salamander, fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp, and Western spadefoot toad. In the spring, masses of flowering plants carpet the basins of these pools creating a sight not to be missed.

No reservations are necessary. Participants will meet at the trailhead at 9 a.m., at the North Dam parking lot in Rancho Seco Recreation Area off Highway 104. For more information call (916) 684-2816 or visit http://www.cosumnes.org/.

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