Stone Lakes NWR
Elk Grove, CA
Nestled at the beginning of California's Central Valley Bay-Delta, Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is an urban refuge directly outside of the greater Sacramento metropolitan area. Established in 1994 to protect and enhance local and migratory wildlife and Central Valley habitats, the refuge's 6,421 acres of managed grasslands, wetlands, freshwater lakes and riparian forest provide critical resting, foraging and breeding habitat for hundreds of species in an area imperiled by fast encroaching urban development. Several plant species from the Refuge have been identified as being particularly useful for making phenological observations.
The plants and animals of Stone Lakes NWR and other wild areas will not be immune to changing temperatures and water supply patterns. Already, flowers have been shown to be blooming 1 to 2 weeks earlier in parts of California. The risk of wildfire is likely to increase and could be as much as 55% more frequent by the end of the century. In northern California, warming temperatures may even lead to a shift from Doug fir and White fir dominated forests to forests dominated by Madrone and oaks. Shrubland and woodland areas inland to California may convert to grassland as wildfire frequencies increase. Some alpine and subalpine ecosystems are at risk of disappearing altogether.