Jepson Prairie Preserve.
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Jepsen Prairie is one of our last remaining intact grassland and vernal pool habitats in this area of California. A dense clay zone in the soil prevents water from draining, so water from rain persists as pools on the surface of the ground.
Olcott Lake is the biggest body of water on the preserve. It provides habitat along a major migratory route for many types of shorebirds, ducks and geese. Many smaller pools of water accumulate in small depressions throughout the preserve.
The docent who led our tour group described the succession of flowering plants and animals that live their amazingly brief life cycles in and around the vernal pools. These pools slowly shrink during the spring and are completely dried up by summer time.
Due to the poor soil and poor drainage the surrounding land is used primarily for grazing of sheep. The two sheepdogs sometimes got to ride on the ATV with the sheepherder. We also saw the sheepdogs in action herding the sheep. With their wild eyes, the water and mud dripping off their coats and their tongues hanging out gasping for air they looked like the happiest dogs on earth - totally focused on doing a job that they were very excited to be doing!! I'm really not sure what that donkey was doing there.
Jepsen Prairie is preserved and managed by the Solano
Land Trust and the University of California Natural Reserve System. For
more information: Jepson
Prairie Preserve - solanolandtrust.
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