Otter on the Lookout
A Pet Project: Cleaning up Their Waste
Proper pet waste disposal is important for the health of wildlife and humans, and is a responsibility that comes with the enjoyments that pets bring us. Pet waste can expose humans and animals to bacterial infections and parasites, and adventurous children are especially vulnerable. If it reaches creeks and ponds, it can also promote algal blooms that are ugly and harmful to aquatic life. Waste can either be buried at least six inches deep in the soil (but not where vegetables are being grown) or put with household waste destined for the landfill—not in the green bin. If you collect pet waste in the plastic bags provided at many trailheads, please finish the job and put it in a trash can, and not add to the plastic waste in the environment!
Pastries and Picks
Proposition 68 on the June 2018 State Ballot
Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed supports the $4.4 billion California Clean Water & Safe Parks Act on the June state ballot. Prop 68 is a general obligation bond that invests $4 billion in the coming years to address some of California’s most important water, park, and natural resource needs.
More information can be found on the website https://yes68ca.com/
Keep Your Ear to the Rail
If you are nearby Corte Madera Creek’s estuary marshes and hear a sharp clacking sound, a Ridgway’s rail is in the vicinity, searching for crustaceans or worms, or minding its brood. The chicken-sized bird once numbered many thousands in the Bay Area, but is now listed as an endangered species owing to loss of its habitat. Hal Brown Park is a favored nesting site, and here Drew Kerr photographed a nest he accidentally came across in his work for the Invasive Spartina Project, which serves to benefit the rail as well as the salt-marsh harvest mouse, by removing the clumps of invasive grass. Friends of Corte Madera Creek has led the local program since it started in 2003.
Corte Madera Creek Estuary Dateline 1920s
Birds of Our Watershed by Gary Leo
Friends board member Gary Leo lives by the creek in Fairfax, and is an avid observer and photographer of wildlife in his back yard and in the hills of his home town. Seen here are, clockwise, from top left: great egret; osprey; Anna’s hummingbird; red-shafted flicker; mallards; great blue heron and great egret; northern spotted owl.
Ross and Kentfield Creek Project Moves Forward
This project, affecting Corte Madera Creek from the vicinity of Lagunitas Bridge to the lower end of the concrete channel, is in the feasibility study phase in partnership between the US Army Corps of Engineers and Marin County Flood Control District. Project managers have released a publicity flyer to inform the public about the planning process: CorteMaderaCreekScopingFlyerFeb2016.pdf
Big Fish Caught on Camera!
Thanks to Maureen Groper’s donation of a wildlife camera to Friends, we have a record of a very large salmonid passing Nokomis Bridge in San Anselmo in the evening of December 19. The fish was estimated by Eric Ettlinger, an aquatic ecologist with MMWD, to be over 40 inches long, and probably a steelhead, coming upstream to spawn. The camera, equipped with a motion detector, has also recorded an otter and several ducks. Friends president Gerhard Epke, who lives by San Anselmo Creek, has set up the camera in various locations near his home.
San Anselmo’s Long History of Flooding
Judy Coy of the San Anselmo Historical Museum has gathered newspaper reports and photographs of historical flooding in downtown San Anselmo and presents her findings on the museum’s excellent website Sananselmohistory.org/articles/flooding/. Nine floods between 1921 and 2005 caused considerable damage as well as excitement.
Community Service Day on the Estuary
On April Fool’s Day nearly 80 students from Marin Country Day School spread out along the edges of Corte Madera Creek to gather litter from amongst pickleweed and saltgrass. Hardly any large pieces of garbage were found, but many small fragments were on their way to harming maritime wildlife in one way or another until they were picked up. Memorable finds were an unopened liquor bottle and two insulin syringes.