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San Gabriel River Discovery Center

Text outline March 2011


San Gabriel River Discovery Center Draft Text Outline



EXHIBIT

PANEL NUMBER

TITLE




INTENT

CONTENT

COMMENTS

1.0 ENTRY GALLERY

1.1 Gallery Entry

1.1.1-1

Gallery Intro




Welcome visitors to the Discovery Center, introduce them to its purpose

  • Welcome to the SGRDC

  • We are working with partners around the watershed to restore balance between human and natural systems in the water shed

  • Come in and explore




1.2 Orientation Wall

1.2.1-1

Brochure rack/maps




Provide information on Center and other opportunities in the watershed

  • TBD – could be trail maps of the watershed, cycling map, map with other parks and facilities highlighted




1.3 Where you are in the watershed

1.3.1-1

Rail graphics




Encourage visitors to interact with the topographical map

  • Specific features of the watershed to highlight TBD

  • See AV Outline







1.3.3-1

Where you are in the watershed




Introduce what the watershed is

  • Wherever you are, you are standing in a watershed.

  • What is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land where water collects and drains into a river, a lake, or the ocean.

  • Much of the San Gabriel River flows underground and collects in groundwater basins (e.g., aquifers).

  • There are many natural features of the San Gabriel River (e.g., source, springs, tributary streams, confluence, channels, floodplain, wetlands, distributaries, delta, basins). There are also many man made features like dams, levees, storm basins reclamation plants, etc.

  • See AV Outline





2.0 MINI THEATRE


2.1 Theatre intro

2.1.1-1

Theatre intro




Encourage visitors to enter the theater

  • Film presents an overview of the watershed focusing on the watershed’s impact on individuals and an individual’s impact on the watershed

  • See AV Outline







3.0 WATERSHED WALL

3.1 Watershed Wall intro


3.1.1-1

Watershed Wall intro




Introduce the natural forces that are at work on the watershed and how these have created distinct habitat zones which will be explored in detail in this exhibit

  • The natural forces at work in this region have created a watershed with distinct habitat areas for plants, wildlife and people

  • Many forces like wind, water and tectonics have carved out the watershed over millions of years.

  • The climate impacts the flow of the San Gabriel River (e.g., seasonal floods and droughts)
  • From the alpine to the coast, the rain, temperature, geology and course of the river have created 6 distinct habitat zones: alpine, chaparral, riparian woodlands, oak woodland, valley grassland and coastal salt marsh





3.2 Watershed Wall

3.2.1-1

Alpine habitat




Identify alpine zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat


  • Location: Upper San Gabriel Mountains 5000’-9500’

  • Climate: 35”-50” of precipitation, cold temps and snow at higher elevations

  • Key fauna: alpine chipmunk, mule deer, bobcat, raccoon, black bear, pika, owl golden eagle, mountain lion

  • Key flora: coulter pine, yellow/ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, western juniper, white fir, black oak, lupine, wild buckwheat – higher up: lodgepole pine

Gateway Sidebar: Chilao Visitors Center, San Gabriel Mountains







3.2.1-2

Chaparral/sage scrub




Identify chaparral zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat

  • Location: below 5000

  • Climate: less than 8-15” of precipitation

  • Key fauna: California gnatcatcher, cactus wren, rattle snake, great horned owl, desert wood rat, coyote, western whiptail lizard

  • Key flora: California sage, black sage, purple sage, laurel sumac, cholla, yucca, prickly pear, chamise, scrub oak, ceanothus


Gateway Sidebar Sante Fe Dam, Glendora Conservancy







3.2.1-3

Oak woodland




Identify oak woodland zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat

  • Location: foothills, north-facing slopes, shady canyons below 5000

  • Climate: 15” to 25” of rain

  • Key fauna: ground squirrels, acorn woodpeckers, western bluebirds, western skink, red-shouldered hawk, Nuttall’s woodpecker, pocket gophers, salamanders

  • Key flora: valley oak, coast live oak, Engelmenn oak, black walnut, poison oak, canyon live oak, sugar bush, coffeeberry

Gateway Sidebar: Galstar Wilderness







3.2.1-4

Riparian woodland




Identify riparian woodland zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat

  • Location: canyons and along stream beds at all elevations under 5000
  • Climate: this habitat depends on permanent water, varying rainfall - 13’’(at Whittier Narrows)


  • Key fauna: Least Bell’s vireo, American dipper, belted kingfisher, pond turtle, raccoon, coyote, western yellow-billed cuckoo, arroyo toad

  • Key flora: western sycamore, black willow, red willow, pacific willow, cottonwood, white alder, laurel, madrone, box elder

Gateway Sidebar: Whittier Narrows







3.2.1-5

Valley grassland




Identify valley grassland zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat

  • Location: flat land, south facing slopes below 4000

  • Climate: rainfall 6”-20”, hot and dry

  • Key fauna: spade foot toad, fairy shrimp, butterflies, lizards, bats, salamanders, Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, White-tailed Kite

  • Key flora: needle grass, bunch grass, brodiaea sps., meadow foam, California orcutt grass, geophytes

Gateway Sidebar: Puente Hills







3.2.1-6

Coastal salt march




Identify coastal salt marsh zone through its climate, geology, vegetation, key species and provide a link to where to further explore this habitat

  • Location: low areas, estuaries, wetlands along the coast, protected lagoons
  • Climate: rainfall 13” at Long Beach


  • Key fauna: Snails, worms, raccoons, mice, bay goby, heron, striped bass, northern harrier, marsh wren, light-footed clapper rails, California killifish, Belding’s savannah sparrow

  • Key flora: halophytes, picklewed, seepweed, sea lavender, California cord grass, alkali heath, atriplex, bulrush

Gateway Sidebar: Seal Beach







3.2.1-7

Natural Forces mural




Illustrate the water cycle behind the habitat panels

  • The four distinct stages of the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection




4.0 HABITAT CUBES

4.1 Habitat cube intro


4.1.1-1

Habitat cubes intro




Introduce habitat cubes exhibit

  • There are many plants and animals that make their homes in each of the six habitat zones. Each has special adaptations that enable it to survive in the conditions of that habitat



4.2 Alpine cube

4.2-1


Alpine blade




Graphically introduce alpine habitat zone

  • Conifer communities, canyons, snow, slopes




4.2-2

Alpine story panel




Describe major characteristics of this habitat

























4.2-3.1-X

Alpine small labels




Identify interesting species, relationships and water-related stories in the alpine

  • Coulter pine is fire adapted, waits until winter when fires are over to drop seeds.

  • Krummholz – alpine pines and firs, especially lodgepole, at high elevations are very twisted and knarled. They become very dense at the bottom. Exposure to cold, strong winds will do this—trees need snow cover or wind shelter to survive. Wood above snow cover is damaged from cold and dies
  • White pine/Clark’s nutcrackers – birds have pouches in their cheeks for holding up to 80 (38000 in a season) pine seeds. Nutcrackers will peck hole in cone, take seeds and cache them elsewhere, amazing ability to remember where they are, but some germinate – mutualism


  • Alpine pioneer communities – after a slide a bare patch is first inhabited by crustose lichens that appear in colorful patches on the rock surfaces. They take moisture from the air or condensation. Fungus component of lichen anchors it to the rock, while algae provides photosynthesis. Fungus produces weak acid, which breaks up the rock, gradually creating soil for other plants to take root in

  • Alpine flowers – sun tracking, flower always faces the sun, warming up reproductive areas, making the most of all available heat (ie. alpine gold -Hulsea algida) – covered with fine silvery hairs that reflect light and trap air. Adapted to cold and snow

  • Cushion plants – also grow on rocky windy areas, with fast drainage. Long tap root to reach water, foliage collects dirt and debris, collecting its own organic material and soil (ie. lupine and buckwheat) alpine plants have many blooms to attract pollinators

  • Pika – Ochotona princep – over heat quickly, need to be able to run from one rock pile to another - distinct vocalization



4.3 Chaparral cube


4.3-1

Chaparral blade




Graphically introduce chaparral habitat zone




4.3-2

Chaparral story panel



Describe major characteristics of this habitat


  • Plants and animals here have adapted to intense heat and fire

























4.3.1-X

Chaparral small labels




Identify interesting species, relationships and water-related stories in the chaparral

  • Plant adaptations — some plants have shallow roots for capturing rain quickly and growing new shoots quickly, these plants must go dormant when no rain comes in the summer – others have deep and shallow roots and are evergreen, and waxy leaves that preserve water. Some produce chemicals or have prickles o repel animals. Their leaves are difficult to digest. Some roll their leaves to reduce evaporation, or have hairs provide shade

  • Underground mycorrhizal fungi helps some plants to absorb water – chamise, scrub oaks and manazanitas

  • Fire – this is the habitat most likely to burn, it has evolved over millions of years in association with fire, many plants are sprouters – roots are not killed. Some have seeds that need fire to beak dormancy, while some will not germinate unless there is ash on the grounds when it rains. Some plants have fibrous bark that encourages burning, some contain volatile oils (ie. chamise, cianthus)

  • Monterey Salamander – lives under rocks and logs, to aestivate moves under woodrat nests or animal burrows, they breath through their skin
  • Western fences lizard – back color completely matches color of burnt black chamise branch. This is a good example of co-evolution


  • Gopher snake – common, up to 8 ft, diamond on back, imitates a rattler. Good burrowers and will crush prey in their burrows—eats gophers, ground squirrels, eggs

  • Rosy boa – vestigial legs, rare, lives in dry stream beds, nocturnal, give birth to young live

  • Scrub jay – makes the alarm call for whole community. They can get all the water they need from their food and dissipate heat from un-feathered part of feet

  • Woodrats/packrats - pick up all types of objects, to store in their nests, urine preserves them – scientist study to understand ecosystem’s history



4.4 Oak Woodland cube


4.4.1-1

Oak woodland blade




Graphically introduce oak woodland habitat zone

  • Variety of oaks, savannah and scrub, fog




4.4.1-2

Oak woodland story panel




Describe major characteristics of this habitat

  • Plants and animals here have adapted to fog and an ecosystem based around the oaks




4.4.1-3.1-X

Oak woodland small labels


Identify interesting species, relationships and water-related stories in the oak woodland


  • Oaks have huge root systems helping them to get water so they are not forced into dormancy, their thick bark protects them from fires – can’t have too much water or a fungus will attack their roots

  • Squirrels are important to seed dispersal

  • Oak savannah – widely spaced oaks with grass, seedlings occur under canopy of ‘nurse trees’, needing fog and shade for germination

  • Arboreal salamanders make nests in tree hollows, prehensile tail and toes help them climb and absorb water, breath through their toes,

  • Dead wood – important part of habitat because it holds moisture for small animals

  • Oak galls are part of the wasp cycle

  • Conservation efforts – re-seeding

  • Great horned owl – you can tell what an owl has been eating by the pellets it leaves behind

  • Pocket gophers/acorns – aerate soil, but eat acorns. Most successful acorns are those buried under leaf litter – these are protected from over heating and grazing

  • Cattle grazing are a problem in this habitat, as non-native grasses have been introduced. Also a reduction in predators of seed-eating animals has meant that more acorns have been eaten and fewer trees grow



4.5 Riparian Woodland cube


4.5.1-1

Riparian woodland blade



Graphically introduce riparian woodland habitat zone


  • Deciduous vegetation, above and below ground running water




4.5.12

Riparian woodland story panel




Describe major characteristics of this habitat

  • Plants and animals here depend on open water




4.5.1-3.1-X

Riparian woodland labels




Identify interesting species, relationships and water-related stories in the riparian woodland

  • Least Bell’s Vireo – very threatened, they have drab coloring but beautiful songs. Cowbirds and habitat destruction have almost eliminated them.

  • Willows – toxins produced in leaves discourage herbivores – certain insects (butterflies, beetles) have taken to eating willows to make themselves distasteful to predators

  • American dippers build their nests behind waterfalls or next to water—made of moss. They never go more than 150ft from the water. They bob their heads underwater to see. They swim well and can walk on the bottom of the stream

  • Kingfisher nests in stream banks go back 6 ft. They grab a fish, then bash it on a branch before swallowing it

  • Leaf litter adds nutrients to the water

  • Many insects lay eggs and larva underwater, then fly away
  • Giant water bug (Electric Light Blue) sucks dry insects, tadpoles, small fish. It lays eggs on the back of the male for protection


  • Water boatman insect brings down a bubble of air to breath underwater

  • Birds feed on frogs as they go from larva to frog and exit the water. Introduced trout have reduced the foothill yellow –legged frog population

  • Riparian plants are sprouters from branches and roots, this helps them survive frequent floods and erosion

  • Many large mammals visit riparian areas like raccoons, coyotes and bob cats and leave their tracks in the mud





























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