Lennox Foundation Grant for Creek Daylighting on Willow Creek Academy Campus

Lennox Foundation Grant for Creek Daylighting on Willow Creek Academy Campus

This winter the Friends worked extra hard to apply for large private and public grants to make creek restoration on the Willow Creek Academy (WCA) campus a reality.   Board member Emily Schmidt was a sponsor for our application to the Lennox Foundation to design a daylighted creek in the upper campus, and remove the non-native eucalyptus trees to accommodate the restoration.  Also included is design of an outdoor classroom to accompany what would be a new, ¼-acre size outdoor laboratory with a year-round creek!  The drainage improvements would extend to the staff parking lot and possibly rehabilitate an old well and irrigation system for the campus.

Yesterday, the Friends of the Creek received $100,000 to make progress on these projects.  We have another application for State Prop 1 funding for a similar amount of money, using the Lennox funds as match.  With this significant endowment, as well as a $4,500 grant from the Rose Foundation, we are aiming to make our organization a little less informal, with membership, open meetings, and enhanced reporting moving forward into our Seventh Year as an organization.   We will be working to strengthen our connections to the community, both in the school and the watershed, and we ask that you seriously consider a more active role with us in restoring creeks to Sausalito.  There is much interest in the philanthropic, investor, and government funding sectors to invest in these multi-benefit environmental and educational projects for our present and future generations, and we need your help and enthusiasm!

 

We appreciate folks’ contributions to the Friends of the Creek over the years, as donations are tax deductible and can be done via our website.

 

Friends of Willow Creek Celebrates 6th Anniversary

March 31st, 2017 Marks the Sixth Anniversary of Friends of the Creek

Today marks our 6th anniversary as a 501c3 nonprofit, as we were established on March 31, 2011, in anticipation of Earth Day that year when we cleared the Nevada and Bridgeway Willow Grove site for the first time.   Since then, we’ve not looked back, taking advantage of the great opportunity we have to create stewardship of this Creek by the Willow Creek Academy public school and the local neighborhood.  We have planted over 3,500 plants, held over 20 cleanup events, and the site is enjoyed by the school and community more than ever.  And the creek just keeps flowing along, 24/7/365.  Our original mission of daylighting the creek through the school and the City remains strong!!

Campus Native Plant Gardens 2017

Friends Board member Anne Siskin has been working with head of School Tara Seekins and Maintenance Chief Alan Rothkop, as well as some WCA 3rd graders and mentor students from Marin Country Day, to design a drainage system to go with our new 2000 square foot hillside native plant garden.  On MLK Day this year, over 80 volunteers from local business Heath Ceramics helped the Friends clear weeds from this hillside in the center of campus and plant dozens of native plants and mulch.   The rainy winter resulted in some “run-on” of parking lot water washing out some of the garden, and we responded by designing flow paths that will keep the garden intact over time.  These trenches will eventually have rounded rocks so they look like a little creek (a preview of our big creek restoration to come!!!)

Celebrate our 4th Annual Earth Day cleanup and planting!

Please save the date to celebrate our 4th Annual Earth Day cleanup and planting!

When:  Saturday April 26, 9am to 12:30pm
Where:  Willow Grove at Nevada and Bridgeway, Sausalito
How:  Work with neighbors and naturalists to identify and remove nonnative blackberry, fennel, ivy, hemlock, and broom plants that crowd out natives and open space by the creek.  Also plant some native plants from our school’s hoop house that were donated by Marin Headlands Native Plant Nursery.
Why:  To create outdoor learning space for K-8 students (especially from Willow Creek Academy), and natural open space for neighbors to enjoy.  To demonstrate the benefits of bringing back creek resources in cities.
See you on Earth Day 2014!
Steve Moore, Friends of the Creek
Willow Creek Academy Parent Volunteer
www.friendsofthecreek.org
steve@friendsofthecreek.org

Happy New Year!

Thanks to all of you who joined us in Sept and Oct to clean up the creek area and plant some gorgeous native plants.  The place looks great (and ready for some more rain!).  On Nov. 20 we had a decent storm and I attached 2 pictures of the creek at the “Willow Grove” for your enjoyment.

We wanted to remind you about community native planting and cleanup work scheduled for the coming year.  Mark your calendars and join us down by the creek at “Willow Grove” at the corner of Nevada St. and Bridgeway in Sausalito.

Saturday January 25 (three weeks from now),  9am – about 12 noon (rain or shine):  Native planting, and some non-native plant clearing

Saturday April 26, 9am – about 12 noon:  4th Annual Earth Day cleanup and green debris removal

We’ll have coffee, water, snacks and a porta potty donated by Mill Valley Refuse Service at both events!

Thank you for your support of creek efforts, and please contact me if you would like to play a more active role in moving some of these exciting concepts forward in our community.  Check out our website at www.friendsofthecreek.org

Steve Moore, Parent at Willow Creek Academy
Director, Friends of Willow Creek
steve@friendsofthecreek.org

Creek Daylighting Plan Update

The plan and profile of the existing Willow Creek drainage through Sausalito is now mapped on an aerial photograph and available for review.  Email me if you would like a PDF for reference.  It is 5 MB and 7 pages of 11 X 17 dimension, in case you want to print it.

Creek board of directors have met with and selected Prunuske Chatham, Inc. of Sebastopol to assist in creek restoration design work between Lincoln Drive and the Bay.  The emphasis of the design will be in the upper part of the watershed, on the school campus, to provide a “proof of concept” design to share with the community and receive feedback, and build support.  But the whole creek alignment will be considered for daylighting, identifying opportunities and constraints.

Marin Watershed Forum, Sunday Nov. 17 meeting synopsis by Amy Pertschuk, FOWC board member

Marin County Watershed Forum
Watershed Groups Roundtable – November 17th, 2013, San Rafael Community Center

What watershed do you live in?

Steve Moore and Amy Pertschuk had the opportunity last weekend to gather with representatives from nine watersheds in Marin County to share the history of our efforts and to explore ways to work together to support each other and broaden public and policy level support for our efforts.

This was an impressive group of dedicated community leaders that included former Mayor Susan Stompe from Novato Creek Watershed, award winning educator Laurette Rodgers of S.T.R.A.W., public official Mitch Avalon from Contra County Public Works, hydrologist Rob Carson from Tomales Bay Watershed, Science teacher Sue Holland of Miller Creek and Zen Buddhist Mary Morgan of Green Gulch Creek all of whom have solid experience and much to share about day-lighting, invasive plant removal, restoration, community and government engagement. Inspiring!

Here are a few bright ideas and strategies used by some of these groups, ones that we might employ to help advance our own “Big Audacious Goal”.

In no particular order, would be great to gather in whole or in a smaller group to evaluate the merits of each of these and other ideas and see if one or two might rise to the top of our agenda for 2014.

Rachel Kamman, of the Watershed Forum, suggested that we have a mural painted on a wall downtown that was a visual rendition of what the creek will be once we have achieved our goals. Painted on the Southern wall of Driver’s? Her point was that it is hard to get a community engaged in a project unless they can “see” what they are working towards.

Many of the groups had worked directly with S.T.R.A.W. or with the Conservation Corp on multi-month or multiple year environmental education partnerships. Working with S.T.R.A.W. could help us expand and build on the 7th grade efforts to date.

Kate Powers of the Gallinas Watershed Council organized Watershed Tours to introduce the community to their creek. Is there a path through the creek to the corporate yard? Could we blaze one through and lead tours from the Bay to the highway, along and above the creek?

Community weed pulling events to grow community engagement and eradicate invasives. In Novato they are battling Spartina and cord grass. Threats to creek neighbors as well.

Susan Stompe emphasized the importance of getting local developers onboard. Could we develop a strategy to engage the developers in a win-win day-lighting proposal to put before the city council?

One group held “Dinner Meetings” with diverse stakeholders in the community to expand community involvement. Dinners or lunches with Rotary, Lions, Historical society, Woman’s Club etc could bring in new and deeper support.

Include T.E.K. all along the way. Traditional Environmental Knowledge, also known as Tribal Ecological Knowledge.

NOTE: Many of these groups came together initially in the face of adversity like the floods of 1982. Other hot topic community issues that fueled their efforts included water quality, environmental degradation, and endangered species.

Conclusion
Thank you for your support of creek efforts, and please contact me if you would like to play a more active role in moving some of these exciting concepts forward in our community.  Check out our website at www.friendsofthecreek.org

Steve Moore, Parent at Willow Creek Academy
Director, Friends of Willow Creek

steve@friendsofthecreek.org

Jiji Foundation Grant Obtained!!!!!!

The Friends of Willow Creek are honored and excited to announce our receiving an $8,000 grant to create a creek daylighting plan for the Willow Creek Watershed.  Daylighting is when you remove a creek from an underground pipe and re-create its open, vegetated channel above ground.  Since 2011, we have submitted numerous grant applications, including to the U.S. EPA Urban Waters Program, but we were finally successful in winning a grant from the fabulous Jiji Foundation www.jiji.org that supports community educational and environmental projects, including native plant restoration, from Baja California up to British Columbia.  We know we can make these funds go a long way to create a technically feasible vision for a sustainable, daylighted creek with native riparian vegetation through the neighborhood to the Bay, including the Willow Creek Academy campus, where it can be studied and nurtured by students in perpetuity.  Feel free to contact me (Steve Moore) if you are interested in helping manage this grant-funded effort, or if you know technical experts that would be interested in contributing to the design of this landmark project that we are only just beginning.

It’s Official: We are a Nonprofit!

With school out, Friends have been taking care of the Hoop House native plant nursery on Willow Creek Academy campus by watering our 3300 remaining natives twice and week, and also visiting the creek and checking on the native plantings there through the warmer weather.

The long days encourage the re-growth of the non-natives (blackberry, fennel, broom and ivy) and so it would be a good idea to spend a little time this summer weeding and watering our new native plant patches down by the creek.

Sunday July 22, 4pm, Weeding and Watering Gathering
The Board members of the Friends have conferred and selected Sunday July 22 to have a Board meeting and water and weed our latest wave of native plantings.  As has been our tradition, the 4pm Sunday slot is a standing time when Friends drop by the Creek and may run into one another.  We’ll make July 22 an official gathering time to bring gloves and trowels and get a little work done and get a lot of catching up done.  We hope to see you down by the Creek!  Bring snacks and water and wine, if you should be so inclined.  We’ll have a blanket, as is our tradition.
The Friends of Willow Creek board members are
Steve Moore, P.E., President, parent volunteer (Sausalito)  steve@friendsofthecreek.org
Anne Siskin, 3rd grade teacher (Sausalito)
Amy Pertschuk, parent volunteer (Mill Valley)
Carol Cooper, head of school (Sausalito)
Emily Brown, naturalist with Pt. Bonita YMCA (contractor to school with NOAA Ocean Guardian grant)

The Friends are a fluid organization and we welcome both membership and leadership representation from the neighbors and community.  If you are interested in participating at a Board Member level, please contact us or join us on July 22. Our website is www.friendsofthecreek.org .

June Re-cap – Native Plant Restoration and Community Awareness!
June 2 native planting efforts were very successful – over 1,000 plants were put in the ground and we mapped the work and took pictures the following week.  Our progress was enhanced by the Pt. Bonita YMCA naturalists’ rental of an augur machine.
Of the 5,643 plants that were donated to the Friends from the GGNRA Marin Headlands Native Plant Nursery, about 2,319 have been planted, or 38%, on April 21 and June 2.  A lot of the remaining plants are willow and dogwood trees which we are saving for the campus creek daylighting restoration (see below), although we could use them at the Willow Grove too, as we clear more non-natives out of the way.  Additionally we have a lot more wet grasses that will be great to plant this fall.
I really have to recognize Board Member Amy’s great sign “Willow Creek Restoration”  that has been up at the site for a month – I see people look at that sign every day I pass by – it’s such a great idea to raise awareness and interest in the work we are doing.
Some neighbors from the Willows Homeowners Association (HOA) joined the Friends on June 2.  We really appreciate the homeowners’ positive feedback and welcome them in the community and school effort to improve the HOA property with native plants.  We are trying to make parts of the area like a riparian/wetland plant botanical garden with pathways.
President’s Report – Institutional Awareness and Creek Daylighting Prospects!

In June I spent some time with the School District Board Members and the City Public Works and City Councilman Jonathan Leone discussing the prospects of daylighting the creek channel through public properties and have had positive progress on both fronts.  Creating more creek channel in the neighborhood will enhance the value of the habitat on the HOA property known as Willow Grove and bring back forgotten water resources for the local community to nurture and enjoy.

The master planning efforts on the Nevada campus (Bayside and Willow Creek) now recognize the creek as a vital component of renewing the campus – that is a huge victory, because now the architects working for the District have ownership on the concept, and to be successful, the creek needs to be sited first, where above- and under-ground flows naturally occur, and all other campus uses come after that fundamental natural setting.   We have made a huge stride forward in June.  The dream of a daylighted creek through campus from Lincoln Drive to Buchanan Street just became a shared community vision at a community workshop, including Marin City interests.  Did I mention how huge that is?  It is huge.

Similarly, I met with Public Works leadership and they support relocation of the Corporation Yard at the highest staff level.  We just need to help them by vocally supporting moving the facility and supporting them in their choices of a new corporation yard location – a good candidate is MLK park, because there is plenty of acreage there, but there are competing visions for that property as you can imagine.  Our organization will be critical in daylighting the creek from Tomales St. to the Willow Grove and getting rid of that pollution factory that sends polluted runoff directly into our creek.  Ridiculous!

It’s Official:  We are a Nonprofit, and the Donation Webpage is Days Away

We have established Friends of Willow Creek of Sausalito as an official 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization with the IRS.  It cost us $400 to file, so we will be accepting donations from fellow Friends to help defray these astronomical governmental costs.   But all donations are tax deductible!  Our EIN is 45 3709094 when you give money to our organization and need to document charitable donations.

We will be unveiling a donation webpage on our website in the next two weeks at www.friendsofthecreek.org .  It will be linked to the Friends of the Creek’s Bank Account that was set up this week (!).  This will enable us to grow the organization’s standing as a viable entity that can enable capital creek daylighting projects in Sausalito.  Willow Creek is our focus, but as of May 30,  Councilman Jonathan Leone has set aside budget for daylighting the creek through Dunphy Park to the south, and our organization could strengthen his leadership efforts to draw attention to Sausalito’s perennial drainages that should be flowing free above ground.  Of course, our creek has the best potential for headwaters-to-Bay restoration, but the City Council will eventually warm up to this fact if we keep focused on our mission and vision for full watershed restoration.  The Arques Shipyard downstream of Bridgeway can be feasibly turned back to an estuary, and that is part of our organization’s vision.  Think Big!  Let’s Build Something Tangible for our Children!

Our nonprofit was formed to be independent of the school and the City so that funds obtained will be solely dedicated to planning and implementing creek restoration in Sausalito.  The funds will not be used to pay salaries – only to pay for event costs and eventually contractors that develop technical plans and specs under my  volunteer direction as a registered civil engineer.  This single-purpose mission will enable us to achieve amazing tangible results if we all stay involved and focused on these goals.    We have applied for federal and private foundation grants in 2012.  While we have not been successful yet, one private foundation, Jiji Foundation (www.jiji.org) encouraged us to re-apply in the fall for the $10,000 to support technical creek channel-sizing consultant work.  Stay tuned and let me know if you would like to help out!

Contact me if you would be interested in reviewing our watershed restoration conceptual plan.

I hope to see you on Sunday July 22 @ 4pm, but if not then, soon after school’s back in session in late August.

See you down by the Creek,
Steve Moore, President
Friends of Willow Creek of Sausalito, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization