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

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