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Earth Team Antioch Partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Earth Team Antioch has made several visits this year to National Wildlife Refuges in the Bay Area. Interns have been working closely with wildlife biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to learn the importance of restoring and protecting habitats for the many endangered species that reside in these refuges.

The team is especially concerned with the restoration of the national wildlife refuge in their own community–the Antioch Dunes. Decades ago these sand dune systems reached well over 120 feet high and stretched for 2 miles along the San Joaquin River. However, due to large scale mining for brick material in the 1900s, the dunes were almost entirely depleted. Now, thanks to an agreement with the Port of Stockton, sand material has been dredged up from the San Joaquin River to rebuild and restore the dunes.

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This year we have focused our efforts on removing invasive plant species which threaten the growth and success of the Antioch Dunes Evening Primrose and Contra Costa Wallflower–plants that are only native to the Antioch Dunes. The greatest challenge this year was removing Malva neglecta, commonly known as cheeseweed or mallow. Using weed wrenches, some sweat, and determination, we have now successfully removed over 100 square feet of this invasive plant at the Antioch Dunes.

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Working with USFWS has given interns the opportunity to learn more about the various environmental careers and projects that they can pursue. In early Spring, interns had the opportunity to lead a Biology class field trip for 9th-grade students from Antioch High School at the Antioch Dunes. They worked to help their younger peers learn how to identify native and invasive species growing at the dunes. Working with these younger students not only served as a way to outreach to community members about the importance of preserving these lands, but it was also a way for interns to reinforce the knowledge and skills they have learned from USFWS partners.

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The Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge contributes a unique quality to the Antioch community and Earth Team is glad to be a part of the efforts to restore and protect the wildlife present there.

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