Downtown Summer Residents
In late September, Dan Holzner dipped his GoPro camera into a deep pool in downtown San Anselmo, and among the thousand photos he shot appeared several rainbow trout. The bars along their sides distinguish them from roach, as does a light tip to the dorsal fin. The crayfish (a non-native crustacean) is probably trying its luck at catching a fish to eat. When the rains come, the trout will move downstream to the ocean, and return later as salmon-sized steelhead. The roach will still be no more than a couple of inches long.
Proposal to Remove Lower Reaches of the Corte Madera Creek Concrete Channel
This proposal was funded by Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed, and presents alternatives to setback walls and berms in Kentfield. These conceptual designs may be analyzed in the EIR that the Flood Control District will prepare for flood management in Ross and Kentfield.
• Removes the channel floor and bank of the channel beside COM athletic fields from the Stadium Way
Footbridge to the downstream end of the channel (approx. 450 lineal feet); removes both channel walls in the downstream 150 feet
• Restores tidal wetland, transition zone, and mud flat habitat to accommodate sea-level rise.
KENT MIDDLE SCHOOL REACH
• Removes the channel floor and concrete wall adjacent to KMS if a design acceptable to the Kentfield School District can be developed from the College Avenue Bridge downstream to the Stadium Way Footbridge (approx. 1,400 lineal feet); however, KMS gym sits close to the creek and a wall is required on both sides of the channel in this area
• Requires increased creek capacity at College Avenue, probably by providing two by-pass culverts to carry high flows, one on each side of the existing bridge
• Requires replacing Stadium Way Footbridge (in collaboration with Marin County Parks and Safe Pathways to School)
• Requires modification of a Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) siphon attached to the existing Stadium Way Footbridge
COM MAIN CAMPUS
• Removes the channel floor and concrete channel wall on the parking lot side of the creek, extending from the College Avenue Bridge to the new Science-Math-Nursing building bridge (approx. 1,000 lineal feet)
• Provides visual enhancement to core of the COM campus
• Requires replacing the old footbridge leading to the core of campus (SMN building bridge retained)
Project Components: At the present time, the conceptual designs for all three phases assume that the concrete wall on the generally uphill side of the creek across from KMS and several COM parking lots (the left side of the channel, looking downstream) would remain in place because a large RVSD sewer was installed next to the wall when the current channel was constructed. The only exception is the 150 feet furthest downstream, where the sewer leaves the wall and is routed to RVSD’s Kentfield Pump Station. As budgets and designs are developed, the feasibility of moving the sewer in some locations will be studied.
A project of Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed, in cooperation with Geomorph Design, and Walls Land + Water LLC 6.7.2019
So Much Pickleweed, So Little Time
Snakes in Love
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.