TCEC members receive the Eco-Logic Newsletter, which is published monthly except for July/August and November/December issues. Each issue is full of local environmental news, events and activities, and ways you can get involved in environmental issues. Review a sample (past) issue.
Online, we feature the Closer Look column, written for our newsletter by TCEC Publications Chairperson, Donna Olsen.
Closer Look — July 2019
What’s Happening at Stiver’s Lagoon?
By Gus Morrison, TCEC Chair
The two most distinctive features of Fremont are our hills and our Central Park/Lake Elizabeth. Fremont residents point to both as things that make our quality of life better and our environment more pleasant. We have voted to keep the hills open and relatively free of development and, in general, any discussion of any further development is discouraged and it ends there, simply a moot discussion.
Fremont folks are equally protective of Central Park and the lake. 74% of the voters approved a $2.1 million bond issue to build it in 1968 and it has come to be a community asset probably worth 100 times that price today. The park has a range of uses, from active to passive. There is something for everyone, even for the geese.
The designers of the park thought it important to preserve a part of Stiver’s Lagoon, the area south of what is now the water slide area, as a nature area, to remind us and to teach young people about what was here before the Europeans arrived, and probably before the Ohlone people arrived. Stiver’s Lagoon historically captured rain water from our hills and served to protect the broader area from flooding. It still functions as a flood control asset, as does Lake Elizabeth which is managed by the Alameda County Flood Control District. The lake level is managed so that rain water is captured and held until it can be sent to the bay in the flood control channels.
The nature area is an educational asset with park rangers teaching school classes about the unique environment and how each element of the complex ecosystem works with the other elements to create a marvelous whole. TCEC donated microscopes and binoculars for the educational programs.
In 1972, Candlelighters, Tri-City Ecology Center, and the City Beautiful Committee funded the Gazebo in the nature area, known as Stivers Lagoon, where one could walk out into the area on a boardwalk to observe the fauna and flora of the center. The whole park was a smashing success.
Imaging our distress when Joyce Blueford from Math Science Nucleus informed us of a massive destruction of the natural environment of the nature area – trees and bushes cut down and run through a chipper. We lost much of 50 years of growth with no public discussion beforehand, no public hearing, no public review of replacement plans, and no specific requirement that the replacement plants be native species. Essentially, it seems, the whole plan was “Tear out the vegetation and plant something.” The whole intent of destroying this unique part of Central Park was that some people believe that the homeless are living among the plants and, if we get rid of the plants, the homeless will find somewhere else to sleep. To us, that seems like a lame rationalization .
TCEC is preparing a communication to the city council and staff, stating our concerns about what has happened and demanding public hearings about it. We want to know how this happened without any environmental review of the removal of the vegetation, with no environmental review of the replacement planting, with the process being done entirely outside the public purview. The park is a major community asset which the public voted to tax themselves to pay for.
You all now have a specific councilmember representing your neighborhood. Please contact that person and let them know you are not happy about the destruction. Some of them are relatively new and do not have a grasp of the history of Central Park and Stivers Lagoon. Take the opportunity to educate them, both about the nature area and about your specific feelings about the park and the current problem. Ask them to support a public process. Ask them to take action to keep our park the special and unique place it has become, for all of us.
TCEC Picnic a Great Success
Thanks all for turning out to make our first picnic in the park a grand slam success, 51 guests participated in a zero waste picnic by bringing their own plates, cups, silverware and napkins in some very fancy picnic baskets. Everything went home to be washed and used again or into the green cart to become garden compost. A beautiful location next to Lake Elizabeth beneath undeveloped hills, glorious Mission Peak our backdrop, and waterfowl our inquisitive companions.
Tacos created and served by Melissa Canela, (510 300 7479) were beautifully presented and complimented by home grown fruits, prepared salads and baked cookies shared by guests and enjoyed by all; good food makes a good picnic. During our picnic there was a lot of catching up with old friends, making new friends, sharing news, ideas & infor-mation; great chat makes a great picnic. The birthday game resulted with two double birthdays, Virginia and Duane in May and Bob and Kathy in July, plus a double surname shared by Marc from Barcelona and Walter from Peru; connecting people makes an outstanding picnic.
More activities during the leisurely afternoon were beading bookmarks for Ohlone Human Society; 84 created-thank you & greatly appreciated notes; also suggestions for what should TCEC focus on in coming years; home based water conservation & youth involvement came out strongly, it’s a perfect combo and an awesome outcome for TCEC summer picnic in the park.
Watch Tom’s YouTube video; it’s fabulous!
Looking forward to next year, Caroline & Patricia
Is the FUSD Joining the Anti-Plastic Movement?
Subject: Alternatives to lunchtime plastics
On Earth Day, we invited visitors to our exhibit to write a brief description of a problem or issue they would like the Tri-City Ecology Center to investigate and, perhaps, take on. One person wrote that everyone who ate lunch in a Fremont school was provided plastic cutlery for the meal, each piece being a “single use” utensil, sent to the landfill to never, ever degrade. Our board thought there ought to be discussion of alternatives and Gus was directed to contact the FUSD to initiate that discussion.
To our delight, FUSD board member Ann Crosbie told us that they have already initiated a process to seek a different direction. Acknowledging that there are several alternatives to petroleum-based plastic, there is one that is readily available, and made of compostable, plant-based, plastics. That is World Centric which the Ecology Center provides for our members at cost. As most of you know, the cutlery is of high quality (as good as the high end plastic products) and composts in a commercial composting facility in 6 months. The product is durable and strong.
TCEC has provided the FUSD Board samples of the utensils (for more information go to: www.worldcentric.com). We strongly support the FUSD’s efforts and stand ready to help where we can. Good luck with this effort.
Join us for a refreshing cup of lemonade at TCEC’s Lemonade Booth
Where? Fremont Festival of the Arts, located on Paseo Padre Pkwy near Walnut Ave. between Chase Bank and Union Bank.
When? Saturday & Sunday, August 3 and 4, 10am to 6pm
2015 – 2018 were great years at the Lemonade Booth. Let’s make it another… remind your friends, relatives and neighbors to drop by! Bio-compostable straws by request only. Stainless Steel Straws for sale.
Remember these dates…………
California Coastal Cleanup Day
Come out for the 35th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 21, 2019. For more information and to register for the event, check this list of Coastal Cleanup Day Contacts. This cleanup is considered the world’s largest volunteer event.
Niles Canyon Stroll & Roll
The 3rd Niles Canyon Stroll & Roll will be on Sunday, September 22. This is an opportunity to walk, bike or run through Niles Canyon along the road, on a day the roadway will be closed to car traffic. It is an opportunity to visit some of the route locations for the planned Niles Canyon Trail. More details soon.