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Stephanie Penn

Western monarch butterflies could disappear

Each year, thousands of monarch butterflies from across the west make their way to the California coast where they spend their winter, including making migratory stops at East Bay parks. For the past two decades, volunteer citizen scientists have been counting them during the Annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, organized by the Xerces Society. Christina Garcia, a naturalist at the East Bay Regional Park District, has been counting butterflies at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont for over 20 years. This…

Climate change puts Richmond’s plant and animal populations in a state of flux

Faster-than-average warming is bringing changes to Richmond’s ecosystems. Temperatures and sea levels are rising. Fog patterns are shifting. Richmond’s plants and animals are facing a future of altered habitats. Anna’s hummingbird feeding on pallid manzanita nectar in a stand of maritime chaparral at Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve To the west lies 32 miles of shoreline, the longest of any city in the Bay Area. To the east lie the hills: Sobrante Ridge and Wildcat Canyon. These open spaces contain salt…

Will Olympia oysters survive in the Bay?

We waded through murky bay waters and patches of deep mud under the light of the moon and our headlamps. Cool water sloshed over the tops of our boots and covered our toes. We moved slowly and carefully across the slick bottom of the bay. The tide was going out, nearing its lowest mark, and the oyster reef balls had begun to appear as the receding waters exposed them.  Watershed project volunteers huddled around the reef balls with scrub brushes,…

Can a Richmond man’s love of water save the ocean?

For Norman Hantzsche, everything is about water. He spends his free time swimming in open water. At work, he endeavors to make dirty water clean. Most days, he is no more than a few steps from the San Francisco Bay. Hantzsche both lives and works at Richmond’s shoreline. On at least one occasion, he has found himself swimming home from work. Lately, he has turned his focus toward cleaning up the ocean. His new nonprofit Plavel Water is addressing two problems…

Swimmers Dive In at Keller Cove to Support Youth Swimming

It all started over a decade ago, when Point Richmond resident Norman Hantzsche and his dogs started swimming in the bay at Keller Cove. With its sweeping bridge views and high water quality, the cove offers some of the best open water  swimming around. It wasn’t long before a group of local swimmers jumped in alongside Hantzsche. The group of intrepid bay swimmers soon started an annual event to raise funds for a youth swimming program in the city of…

Meet Richmond’s fishermen (and one woman)

Despite some concerns about water pollution from the city’s industries, people fish in many different spots across Richmond’s extensive shoreline: in parks, off piers, and even under bridges and highways. They do so for relaxation, to enjoy the outdoors, and to feed their families. Meet some of them here.

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