Mark and Leann Rossow walk their dogs along Toro Creek Road, Salinas, CA., on Thursday, June 16, 2011. On the right are Toro Creek and its riparian zone. This area between the creek bottom and the land along its banks that seasonal water flows is an ecosystem of trees, grass, and various deep-rooted plants. Plants such as Willow trees, bushes and grasses normally provide the organic stabilization of the soil. A functioning riparian zone supports a clean Monterey Bay by removing sediments and other contaminants; reducing the risk of flooding and associated damage; reducing stream channel and stream bank erosion; increasing available water and stream flow duration by holding water in stream banks and aquifers; supporting a diversity of plant and wildlife species; to name some of the benefits stated in references. This Bureau of Land Management property also allows ranchers to purchase permits allowing their sheep (totaling 1,000 to 2,000) to graze the hills of the 7,200-acre property. The reduction of excess grass reduces fuel for fires. The sheep manure also provides nutrients to help the soil remain healthy. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
May 12, 2014
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