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 — October 2019
Ducks for Bucks Final Update
According to the Kiwanis Club, overall D4B sales were down this year. This was possibly due to the time change from April to September. However, the ecology center earned $766 which is enough money for at least 2 Youth Eco-Grants or eight newsletters. Many thanks to all of you who participated. And thanks also to Ann Morrison and her team for their fine efforts.
Coyote Hills Expansion (Patterson Ranch) Approved
On September 3, 2019, the EBRPD Board of Directors approved the EIR and Land Use Plan Amendment for the restoration and public access plan for the donated 300+ acres of Patterson Ranch acreage.
In 2014, the Patterson land was donated to the park district…at a value of $14 million, the largest donation ever to the Park District. The preservation of the agricultural heritage was important to the Patterson family. It has been intensively farmed for more than 150 years.
The three co-equal guiding goals for the property are: Urban Agriculture, Public Access and Restoration. Preserving views and planting oaks are a part of the restoration. Public access includes observation decks for birders among others It is also considered a climate smart park. To read the minutes of the September 3 meeting go to: https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=32521
Park District Phasing Out Glyphosate
The EBRPD has joined the growing list of public agencies in the nation that are phasing out glyphosate. On July 16, 2019, the Park District Board approved Resolution 2019-07-187 calling for immediate ban on glyphosate use in picnic areas and full elimination in all developed park areas by the end of 2020. Glyphosate is currently used by the by the Park District for fire ignition prevention and vegetation maintenance. Since 2016 the Park District has reduced the use glyphosate for park maintenance by 66%.
How Safe is Bottled Water?
We all know about the scourge of single-use plastic. Now another concern has been raised and that is bottled water. About a third of Americans choose bottled water over tap water. The reason is safety and quality. Generally, most water is safe, but not always. Glaring examples are Flint, Michigan, Newark, NJ and Puerto Rico. People want assurances their water infrastructure is safe and consequently their tap water. If we let go of our need for bottled water, we will see, according to author Seth Siegel, “less trash, cheaper water, better health and a better environment”.
For more information, check out these two recent magazines: Time Magazine, October 7. 2019, pages 17-18 and Consumer Reports, November 2019, pages 38-47.
Update from TCEC’s own…Tri-City Urban Forest Alliance, T.U.F.A.
A subgroup of TCEC that began earlier this year, T.U.F.A., is coordinating with the City of Fremont’s Kit Jory, the city’s new director of Urban Forestry. While the city is spending the next 18 months obtaining a citywide tree inventory and software system, our group is working to get trees into residential front yards, as well as streets and parks. We are propagating Oaks, purchasing trees wholesale, working with Elaine at LEAF to have “Tree Planting and Care Classes”, developing a tree list from the best research on climate adaptation, habitat value, and drought tolerance for our Sunset climate zones 15 and 16. For more info, contact Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To visit our website and learn more, check us out at the TCEC list of local environmental groups, click on Tri-City Urban Forest Alliance
What Went Wrong at Stivers Lagoon and How Can It Be Fixed?
By Caroline Harris, (TCEC), Joyce Blueford (MSN), and Donna Olsen (TCEC)
Stivers Lagoon located at the south end of Lake Elizabeth in Fremont is an urban marsh, a natural wetland with Muskrat Creek Flowing from spring You may have walked through it on a self-guided nature tour or with a Ranger or on an Educational tour with school or Math Science Nucleus (MSN).
This riparian habitat is one of the last in Fremont, is vital for habitat and food source for wild animals that live in our urban interface with nature. The Lagoon and marshlands were compromised by flood control measures in 1950s and rerouting Mission Creek during construction of Lake Elizabeth in 1968. In the late 1990s the City of Fremont partnered with MSN to restore Stivers Lagoon knowing this location is vital to capture rain and filter it into ground water.
MSN worked with the City of Fremont and Fremont Unified School District and used student volunteers to clear the area and create trails. School field trips were developed and for over 20 years Fremont children were introduced to environmental principles.
“The goal is to develop and provide an outdoor education program and to reestablish the natural environment for future generations to enjoy” (1). “Preservation of areas like this is not only a historical glimpse, but a valuable part of the entire ecosystem” (2).
In 1974, the Candlelighters, Tri-City Ecology Center and The City Beautiful Committee sponsored construction of a viewing kiosk and boardwalk It’s a hot spot for birders. “This refuge is home to a wide variety of different animals and plants that need this area to survive because they cannot survive anywhere else so please treat this area with care and respect!” (3)
Imagine the dismay of visitors earlier this summer when they found the south-west portion being clear cut and bulldozed, chipped and removed. City Staff had been advised by Fire, Police and internal staff that the area was a fire hazard, unsafe for walkers and potentially a site for homeless encampments. After consultation with Alameda Flood Control an over-zealous work order was issued to clear dead trees and create a clear line of sight to Muskrat trail from Paseo Padre. TCEC, MSN and Ohlone Audubon Society * met with City Staff ** on September 17th to review why this action was taken without an Environmental Impact Report or public outreach. The outcome was a promise by city to halt all further planned clearing, publish a plan to move forward with creation of a wildlife outdoor classroom (4) and engage in public outreach, via TCEC and MSN for the planned replacement and maintenance of habitat with native trees and Flora. The “Plan” isn’t expected until spring 2020.
* Gus Morrison, Caroline Harris, Rich Godfrey, Joyce Blueford (MSN) and Pat Gordon (Ohlone Audubon Society)
** Suzanne Wolfe, Kathy Cote, Kim Beranek, Juan Barajas