Call it a less-than-typical Saturday. Last weekend, four of our biologists thought it would be fun to run a 5k mud-covered obstacle course called “Mud Blast” at the Dos Rios Ranch near Modesto, California. The event was created to promote a property that River Partners purchased in partnership to restore back to its historic riparian habitat glory – and provide a celebration of health and fitness, responsible recreation, and ecological conservation, all in one package. The FISHBIO team joined other mud-running teams, like the “Mudstaches” and the “Farm Mud Hens” at 7:45 am to take on 15 different Mud Blast challenges, like the quarter-mile mud crawl, crazy hurdles, tire fields, and a 25-foot-tall hay bale pyramid. But this Mud Blast event wasn’t just about a bunch of hardcore athletes slogging through a mud gauntlet that most people wouldn’t even attempt.
The event benefited the 1600-acre Dos Rios Ranch, which is situated between the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers and borders their confluence, including three miles of riverfront on the San Joaquin River and three miles on the Tuolumne River. The riparian restoration habitat planned will have far-reaching positive effects for both rivers and their adjacent lands. The plan will include planting native riparian trees and vegetation that will improve both air and water quality, reduce erosion, and aid in flood control. The plan will also create public access opportunities for recreation and outdoor education. This was the second year of the San Joaquin Mud Blast at the Dos Rios Ranch, and the first for the FISHBIO team. We are hopeful future events are planned, since it was a muddy good time! But not to soon, as we’re still cleaning mud out of our shoes, hair, and – in some cases – our ears.