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Laguna de Santa Rosa

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At one time the Laguna de Santa Rosa consisted of wide expanses of oak woodland, deep riparian forests, lakes, perennial and seasonal freshwater wetlands. Herds of elk and pronghorn antelope were hunted by Native Americans, mountain lions and grizzly bears. Tens of thousands of migratory birds relied on the Laguna flood waters in the winter and its rich food and shelter resources for breeding and nesting in the summer.
Archeological studies have established that Native Americans, including Pomo, Wappo and Miwok peoples, have lived in the Laguna watershed for more than 10,000 years. Nomadic seasonal gatherers, they thrived on acorns, roots, seeds, berries, fish, coastal shellfish, waterfowl, and a variety of game animals. They fashioned canoes, shelter, and rope from tule, wove fine, watertight baskets from willow and sedge, and harvested numerous other plants for food, clothing, dyes, and medicines.

Now established as the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, the current tribe consists of both Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo people.
The first Mexican land grant in the Laguna was established in 1833 and was the beginning of ranching and farming in the area. In the 100 years that followed, the Laguna was dramatically changed. Early settlers cleared oak woodlands to make way for grain, row crops, orchards, and hops. Hunters supplied San Francisco's markets with wildlife (in 1892, a single market hunter killed 6,200 ducks). Resorts were built along the western edge of the Laguna and lakes were drained.

Agricultural use of the land intensified during the 1900s, as did residential and commercial development in the upper watershed. Miles of the Laguna were channelized for flood control and riparian vegetation was removed. By 1990, 92% of the Laguna's riparian forest was gone and the yellow-billed cuckoo, a riparian-dependent bird, had disappeared

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