Wildlife refuge activist nominated for KTVU award – Vote online

Alameda resident Leora Feeney is one of three finalists in KTVU’s annual Cox Conserves Heroes contest.  KTVU, owned by Cox Media, is partnering with The Trust for Public Land to honor local environmental activists for their work and inspire others.  The winner will be determined through online voting that is underway now through September 24.

KTVU will donate $10,000 to the nonprofit of the winner’s choice.  Feeney’s choice will be the Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge, a committee of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.  Feeney hopes that some of the money will go toward a video camera system on the perimeter of the Least Tern nesting area that would help with monitoring activity and public education.  The Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge helps maintain the site during the non-nesting season and conducts educational programs in schools.

You can vote for Feeney, and help our wildlife refuge, by going to KTVU’s Cox Conserves Heroes page  and clicking on the headline ***Vote now through September 24***.

Feeney first got involved with the Least Terns at Alameda Point in the 1980s when it was still an active naval air station.  She was managing a small California Least Tern colony on the Oakland Airport property when she offered to help the Navy’s biologist overseeing the recently established tern colony at the Navy base.

When the announcement came down in 1993 that the base was closing, Feeney helped organize a symposium at the College of Alameda on “Alameda Naval Air Station’s Natural Resources and Base Closure.”  This symposium was instrumental in laying the groundwork for setting aside over 500 acres for a wildlife refuge in the 1996 Community Reuse Plan.

Horned Larks arrived shortly after weeds were pulled from this area near the tern nesting site in early 2012 to forage for food.

The Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Refuge became an official committee of the Golden Gate Audubon Society in 1997, the same year that Navy lowered the flag for the last time.  She has been working to protect the terns ever since.  She, along with other experienced birders, began doing twice-monthly bird surveys on the refuge in 2004, which she shares with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Navy.  One object of the surveys is to document predators of the Least Tern.

To date, Feeney has seen over 176 different species of birds on the refuge.  About 26 of these species, according to Feeney, have been documented as breeding on the refuge.  One of her most unusual sitings was of a Golden Eagle that came in one spring to eat goslings.  “When the eagle was hunting at the refuge, adult geese would be out on the Bay waters,” Feeney said.  “That was our clue to look for the eagle.”

The wildlife refuge property is slated for transfer to the US Department of Veterans Affairs next year.

Read more and watch a video:  “Protecting the California Least Terns at the Alameda Point Wildlife Refuge”  posted on the Alameda Point Environmental Report on May 3, 2012.

Semi-palmated Plover at Runway Wetlands – Alameda Point wildlife refuge
Plants growing between pavement cracks are a popular hiding place for Kildeer at Alameda Point’s wildlife refuge.
Great Blue Heron nesting in cypress tree on Alameda Point wildlife refuge – April 2012.

Author: richard94501

My blog is Alameda Point Environmental Report covering environmental issues from wildlife to cleanup at the former Navy base in Alameda now called Alameda Point. Articles on my blog are frequently printed in the Alameda Sun newspaper. I also host a Twitter site and a Flickr photo site. I hope you find my stories and photos of interest. Richard Bangert Alameda, California

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