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Changes Afoot at the Putah Creek Nursery

Recent visitors and community volunteers at the Putah Creek Nursery may have noticed buildings disappearing, new and unfamiliar equipment popping up, or the tiny mountain conifers growing alongside the other native plants in the shadehouse. These small signs together herald bigger changes underway at CAL FIRE’s Lewis A. Moran Reforestation Center, home of the Putah Creek Nursery.

Through an innovative partnership begun in 2011 between the Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee, Putah Creek Council, and CAL FIRE, the Putah Creek Nursery was provided the use of equipment and unused nursery space at the L. A. Moran Reforestation Center to begin operations. The nursery program has since engaged thousands of volunteers in growing tens of thousands of plants for habitat enhancement throughout the watershed. In response to a growing need for reforestation plants around the state, CAL FIRE recently began the process of renovating the L.A. Moran Reforestation Center in order to begin growing conifers again. For the Putah Creek Nursery, this means providing space for the first crop of firs and pines during nursery construction, and more importantly, moving out of the beloved glass house during its renovation.

Temporarily losing access to the facility where most of the nursery plants begin their lives presents both logistical challenges and opportunities. Rich Marovich, the Putah Creek Streamkeeper, identified the opportunity, quickly moving to secure three large hoop houses to serve as the nursery’s home away from home. Solano County Water Agency and Putah Creek Council staff, interns, and volunteers enthusiastically met the challenge, traveling to Copperopolis, CA to dismantle the hoop houses and bringing them back to set up.

Dismantle began just before the Thanksgiving holiday, and installation at the CAL FIRE facility in Davis is planned for December. This project is a community effort and we encourage anyone interested in helping with hoop house construction to contact Amy Williams, Stewardship Program Manager, at amy@putahcreekcouncil.org.

The valuable interagency partnership that made the Putah Creek Nursery possible continues to evolve, and we look forward to the new possibilities that having two active nurseries at the L.A. Moran Reforestation Center will present!  

Photo 1: Stewardship Team member Rich Hein helps unscrew thousands of parts on a hoop house.

Photos 2: Solano County Water Agency staff and interns work to take down the large "hoops" on a hoop house.