Much was made earlier this year when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that three subspecies of the Channel Islands Fox had make a remarkable recovery from the brink of extinction, but one of the species' low genetic diversity could pose grave problems for the animals.
Channel Islands National Park
After two previous clutches failed to hatch, a pair of bald eagle chicks have appeared in a nest in Sauces Canyon on Santa Cruz Island at Channel Islands National Park off the California coast.
In what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is calling "the fastest successful recovery for any Endangered Species Act-listed mammal in the United States," the agency is proposing to remove three subspecies of the island fox native to the Channel Islands from ESA protection.
Imagine a place in Southern California without freeways, a place without strip malls, smog, or freeway-clogging traffic. Then, imagine a necklace of grassy islands where eagles soar and foxes run, where abandoned olive groves and ripening figs attract ravens. Imagine crystal-blue ocean waters, where the golden Garibaldi swims through swaying kelp forests beneath wave-battered sea caves, undisturbed by cargo ships and oil platforms.
I’ve never surfed a day in my life despite the many vacations on the Jersey shore. So, maybe you’ll understand why I’m at a loss for words about the first time I saw a Stand Up Paddleboard in action. What was that contraption? And, why paddle a SUP when you can run rivers and cross lakes with canoes, kayaks, and rafts?
Long-running efforts to improve public access to Channel Islands National Park, restore native species, and remove non-native species have not only improved the park off the California coast, but led to the superintendent and chief of natural resources management being honored for their work in those efforts.
It takes a while to reach Channel Islands National Park off the coast of California, so once you get there plan to spend a few days at least. The following video shows some of the landscapes, above and below water level, that you can explore at Santa Cruz Island.
Imagine a place in Southern California without freeways; a place without strip malls, smog, and millions of people. Imagine an ocean where the golden fish, the Garibaldi, is prolific with hundreds of other species in an underwater forest of kelp beneath wave-battered sea caves. Imagine a place that is still California as it once was, a century ago, with adobe ranch houses, sweeping vistas of cliffs and beach, mountains and valleys, grasslands and cypress groves, and unbelievable quiet.
On a day set aside to celebrate the Earth and the environmental movement, the Interior Department and National Park Service gave us dollars and cents.