Friends of the Creek – September 2014 Newsletter

Friends of the Creek – September 2014 Newsletter

i Sep 7th No Comments by

Friends of Willow Creek (of Sausalito),

Happy new (school) year!  For the friends, that means fall work parties to take care of the creek at Willow Grove!

Fall Community Cleanup Events at Willow Grove, Corner of Nevada St. and Bridgeway

Saturday September 27, 9:00 – 11:00 A.M., end of summer weeding and watering of recently cleared/planted areas, tour of site for new parents at Willow Creek Academy before Parent Council Barbecue & Book Fair up on campus.  At Earth Day in April of this year, friends pioneered a new path through the blackberry that has created a loop through the site that we can tour.  Also, friends cleared a huge amount of blackberry from the creek’s north bank – these areas have been remarkable transformations and need a little follow-up weeding and TLC.   These days the clearings we take for granted are there because of the friends’ maintenance of these areas from weed re-growth.  (note: if you aren’t able to make a coastal cleanup event on Sep 20, this event will be a nice substitute, qualified activity).

Saturday October 25, 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M., 4th Annual Fall Work Party, non-native brush removal and debris hauling.

Annual Board Meeting of Friends of the Creek, August 17, 2014

The Friends of Willow Creek of Sausalito is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that was established in 2011 to create an entity independent of the school and the city whose sole mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the perennial creek that runs under the school campus and through Willow Grove on its way to Richardson’s Bay.  We have professionally surveyed the entire underground creek from Hwy 101 to the Bay and have completed Phase 1 of a Creek Daylighting Plan through the Willow Creek Academy (WCA) campus as part of an overall plan to daylight the creek along its entire alignment.  We have a two-pronged approach to our activities: (1) foster stewardship of the creek through school educational programs, community work parties, and targeted outreach to local government and businesses, and (2) design and leverage resources to build a daylighted, forgotten creek through the City, including through the heart of the school campus.

At our Board meeting in August, discussion was centered around the upcoming school year, and the exciting opportunity to further elevate the creek-related education (and use and stewardship of Willow Grove) as part of a new Outdoor Education (OE) Committee being formed by volunteer parents at the WCA charter school.  WCA has a long history of outdoor, experiential education, and emphasizes project-based learning.  The new effort of the OE committee will recognize the garden and creek programs and coordinate calendars and resources for teachers in the culinary garden program, other garden initiatives including the chicken coop, and the creek restoration and education program.  We have also met with the folks of the reputable STRAW program (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) of the North Bay on July 29 to explore opportunities to facilitate the incorporation of creek education into the curricula of more teachers at WCA, and at the Board meeting we discussed strategies for getting them more involved with our efforts.

On June 4, 2014, we distributed the completed Phase 1 of the Willow Creek Daylighting Plan to the city, school district, some Willow Creek Academy board members, Marinship steering committee, planning commission, and Marin County stormwater program.  The design was funded by the private Jiji Foundation.  The city public works director Jonathon Goldman and the school district superintendent Steve Van Zant both were enthusiastically positive in their initial review, which is a great sign of things to come.  I also met briefly with city manager Adam Politzer about the upcoming sales tax measure that will help city drainage system funding (which I support), and he was very positive about our community efforts and our initial creek design effort.  Councilman Jonathan Leone is also a strong supporter of our creek daylighting proposal and he is similarly advocating for creek restoration at Dunphy Park.

As Friends, please take any opportunity you can to mention creek restoration and daylighting to our elected and appointed officials, as it broadens the community dialogue about bringing back these resources to our city, and increases our chances of success.

Security at Willow Grove Site – Liaison from Sausalito Police Department

There is a natural tendency for homeless and transient people to want to camp and live at this public, creekside site at Nevada and Bridgeway, but our increased use and care of the site has improved the situation.  Nevertheless, some transient use of the site has occurred in recent months, and Friends of the Creek have cleaned these areas of trash periodically and contacted the Sausalito Police Department to deter campers.  The police department has increased patrols at our request and successfully deterred some inappropriate activities.  At the end of the summer, Chief Jennifer Tejada designated an official liaison in her department for the Friends of the Creek and the Willow Grove site, Officer Sean Smagalski.  We met on the site on August 27, and reviewed the site history as well as common areas of habitation and accumulation of trash.  Officer Smagalski has a good understanding of the site characteristics, and now our history and efforts, and will be a great resource for us in case there are security matters associated with our activities or with general public use of the site.   If you identify a security issue that needs immediate attention, you may of course contact me via email (best first option), or for something urgent Officer Smagalski directly at (415) 289-4170 ext. 855 (ssmalgalski@ci.sausalito.ca.us).  We appreciate Chief Tejada’s consistent support and timely responsiveness!

Thank you for reading the Friends’ periodic newsletters, and your participation, at whatever level, in taking care of a small but significant piece of wild nature that is within our midst!  As Richard Louv (author, Last Child in the Woods), has said about STRAW, our humble efforts at creek restoration are actually a form of human restoration, reconnecting ourselves with the ecosystems that sustain us.

Hope to see you down by the creek!
Steve Moore, Director
Friends of Willow Creek of Sausalito
steve@friendsofthecreek.org
www.friendsofthecreek.org