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Inaugural Managers to Lead New Vernal Pool Reserve

MERCED, Calif. — The effort to create a natural reserve out of nearly 6,000 acres adjacent to UC Merced has been jump-started by the hiring of two people to share the management duties.

Sierra Nevada Research Institute Director Roger Bales, who is making the appointments, said Steve Shackelton, former National Parks Service leader and chief ranger in Yosemite, began work this fall. He will co-manage the planned reserve with Chris Swarth, an ornithologist and wetlands ecologist who spent more than 20 years managing the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Maryland. Swarth begins work in January.

The Sierra Nevada Research Institute oversees the reserve on behalf of the campus, and will take the lead on seeking inclusion in the University of California's Natural Reserve System. Shackelton and Swarth will expand the reserve's business plan and develop detailed outreach programs so students and community members can have supervised access to the grasslands and the pools that form after winter rains and flourish in the spring, only to dry up as the weather warms.

For more, visit the UC Merced University News.

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