There’s a new sheriff in town at Lake Charles, the little man-made lake we built on our property. His name is John the Baptist. His commanding officer is Mother Nature. There is no argument. No discussion. Things are done their way.

Let me backtrack. Those of you who have been reading a while know about Lake Charles. It’s a completely man-made pond and waterfall built in a swale on our property by John the Baptist and Felix and his crew. When it was completed, it was like a new water hole on the Serengheti. Animals that we’d never seen before suddenly showed up and took over. Now it’s like the village square for Sonoma wildlife. Any critter who’s anyone shows up and hangs out.

But recently, non-natives had been introduced and were  threatening to take over. So we put John and his crew on the case. Call it Shock and Awe against non-natives. The first to fall was the dreaded Water Hyacinth. Then the hillside was cleared of weeds, chamise and mesquite (which are native but crowd everyone else out.) Next thing you know, the hillside was ablaze with Sticky Monkey Flower, Lupines and other native wildflowers. Now John and Company are determined to make Lake Charles a clean well-lighted place for Sonoma Natives.

The first step, after eradication of the Water Hyacinth, was a new and stronger pump and filtration system.

That enhanced our waterfall from a trickle to a proper flow.

The system is covered with a redwood deck which has been terrier tested and approved.

Then John designed an Arroyo Seco — or dry river bed and rock slide feature.

Besides aesthetics, the rocks dissipate and filter heavy rains from washing into the pond.

Next, selected natives from around the property were carefully transported and replanted at Lake Charles.

But a lot of the Natives just showed up on their own. John calls them “volunteers”.

Speaking of volunteers, the local insects and animals are rushing to join the Lake Charles Club.

Here’s a Checkerspot Butterfly.

Then there were suddenly dozens of these guys hanging all over the reeds.

Nope. it’s not an insect. It’s the discarded exo-skeleton of an insect that turned into a Dragonfly.

There is still some clean up and “ethnic cleansing” to be done. Some non-Natives and some Natives that don’t play nicely are slated for eradication. Here’s one Dead Plant Walking:

It’s an Elderberry, but not a native one. So instead of being suitable for wine or jam, it’s completely toxic.

Sorry, there’s a Zero Tolerance and No Mercy policy for non-Natives.

Any that think they can establish here will have to deal with the wrath of Louis, John’s right-hand man.

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