University of California

Posts Tagged: Sabrina Drill

More people live in fire-prone communities

As the human population on planet earth, now about 7.6 billion people, continues to grow, more will settle in areas prone to wildfire, reported Mary Beth Griggs in Popular Science magazine.

The reporter spoke with UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill about wildfire preparation.

First, make sure that an emergency kit is up to date and important papers are in a safe place.

“Know that under conditions of mandatory evacuation, you will encounter traffic, frightening conditions, highly limited visibility due to smoke, etc., so being ready and leaving early is really important,” Drill said.

If there is time, there are important last-minute actions that can be taken to minimize potential fire damage. She suggests moving flammable garden furniture and wood piles away from structures, taking down shade cloths or awnings that could trap embers and making sure doors and windows are closed.

"One thing I would not advise is either leaving sprinklers running or hoping that automatic sprinklers will save a structure, as power may be cut, water lines can melt, and the water and water pressure may be needed by firefighters elsewhere," Drill said.

UC Cooperative Extension provides information to guide actions before, during and after a wildfire on its wildfire resources website.

UCCE natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill is a fire science expert.
Posted on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 3:02 PM
Tags: Sabrina Drill (6)
Focus Area Tags: Natural Resources

Heavy rains this winter may help native fish in the LA River make a comeback

Biologists believe a high volume of water flowing through the Los Angeles River this winter due to El Niño rain will favor native fish, reported Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times. Native species - who evolved in river systems prone to sudden torrents of water, mud, bolders and debris in winter and pools and damp patches in summer - main gain an edge when the river rages.

Currently, the fish population in the river is almost entirely non-native. Released as bait by anglers, dumped by the city to eat unwelcome species, and aquarium fish set free by their owners now populate the river's waters.

The forecast heavy rains during the 2015-16 winter present an opportunity to determine whether nonnative fish will be washed out of the river and into the Pacific Ocean, giving native fish a new chance to become established.

"If we are ever going to fully understand the ecology of this river, and prospects for the return of species that evolved in it, we have to know first what's in it now, and how well those creatures do in extreme conditions," said biologist Rosi Dagit of the Resource Conservation District.

UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor Sabrina Drill was among a group of biologists and volunteers who surveyed the fish in the river in late November with seines, dip nets and rods and reels. After six hours, the team caught about 3,000 talapia, two dozen crayfish, a few hundred mosquito fish, one aquarium species and two Asian freshwater clams.

The research is funded by the Friends of the Los Angeles River.


Posted on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Citizen science in the L.A. River expanding

The Friends of the Los Angeles River organization is expanding its citizen science monitoring of fish in the Los Angeles River to additional locations, reported Carren Jao in KCET Columns.

Since 2008, the volunteers have been catching fish in Elysian Valley of the L.A. River and delivering them for analysis to three biologists, including Sabrina Drill, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County. The biologists found that the fish caught here were healthier and lower in mercury and PCBs than fish in the ocean. The surprising finding is likely due to the natural river bottom in the Glendale Narrows portion of the river.

Now volunteers will be turning their attention to parts of the L.A. River in Long Beach and the Sepulveda Basin to establish a baseline for those areas.

Citizen scientists can also help document the state of the L.A. River by contributing to a project created by UC ANR's Sabrina Drill on the web and smartphone app iNaturalist. Anglers can take a smartphone photo of their L.A. River catch and upload it to iNaturalist. The smartphone automatically records the time and day, and the GPS coordinates where the fish was caught. Much like iNaturalist does for birds, lizards, and insects, the L.A. River fish page creates a digital community where fishermen can boast of their accomplishments, but also build a record of the river's biodiversity using their smartphones.

The iNaturalist page created by UC ANR's Sabrina Drill to track fish in the L.A. River.
Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 2:33 PM

Unseen for decades in the LA River, environmentalists continue search for steelhead trout

A group of environmentalists spent a morning recently wading in the Los Angeles River in search of Southern California steelhead trout, reported Louis Shagun in the Los Angeles Times.

The endangered species hasn't been found in the LA River since 1938, around the time the waterway was lined with concrete for flood control. The volunteers hope to document a steelhead trout in the river in order to trigger greater scrutiny and perhaps tighter regulations to support the species.

"We would know that even though this river has been so heavily degraded, conditions are appropriate for the species' return," said Sabrina L. Drill, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County. "It would give us more hope of saving it from extinction."

The morning search netted trash, algae, baby smelt, a shopping cart and discarded concrete slabs, but no steelhead trout.

"Thanks for giving it a try — but we're officially skunked," said Rosi Dagit, senior biologist for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. "We'll try again later."

Steelhead trout begin life as rainbow trout. For unknown reasons, some migrate to the ocean and become steelhead. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

UCCE advisor teaches Topanga Canyon residents about making their homes fire safe

Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Los Angeles County, natural resources, informed Topanga Canyon residents how to create defensible space around their homes by breaking up fuel ladders, identifying fire-resistant plants and spacing the plants appropriately, according to the Topanga Messenger.

Drill's presentation, which included information about maintaining the health of the wildland environment, was the third of four lectures sponsored by the Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness.

Topanga Canyon is a tony Los Angeles County neighborhood nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains and bounded on three sides by state park or conservancy lands. In 1993, the Old Topanga Fire burned 16,516 acres and destroyed at least 388 structures, according to Wikipedia.

UC expert encourages residents in fire-prone areas to create defensible space around their homes.

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM
Tags: Sabrina Drill (6), wildfire (1)

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