January 2015 Volume 6, Issue 2 J ANUARY N EWSL ETTER Storms of December December brought much needed rain. According to Balance Hydrologics, Inc., under contract with MMWD, real time gauges on the San Geronimo Creek recorded a peak stage on Dec 3rd of 6 ft with a flow of 900 cfs at 7:15am. That was the morning we had thunder and lightning! I took the photo above while standing on my footbridge Dec 10th . A whopper of a storm rolled in that night. The photo on the left was taken 24 hrs later, Dec 11th at 9:00am. The real time gauges recorded a peak stage of 7.7 ft and flow of 1500cfs. The Kent Lake Reservoir gauge on Dec. 7 (after the first rainstorm rolled through) shows the water 25’ below the spillway. On Dec 21st Paul Berensmeier sent an email “I just got back from running up there and it is only one foot from spilling over! The level has risen forty feet in less than a month! Given its recent progress, it will spill over late this afternoon or early tomorrow morning’……the reservoir waited for Paul and Tina….“We actually got to see the water spill over the lip of the spillway! I've never been there at exactly that time! The big moment occurred at 8am, Monday, Dec 22” It’s been 4 years since the spillway had an overflow. Reactions to Kent Lake Spillover Balance Hydrologics, Inc. After reading about Kent Lake ready to spill over . . . by Jerry Feickert “I ran many years up to SG ridge, west to Peters dam and from the east side to the west side of the dam without getting wet. Ok, the area in front of the dam was leveled off so it was completely flat and dry about a hundred yards in front of the dam. But if the water level was up enough there would be about a hundred yards from the east to west in front of the dam just barely under water. This would last only about a week, until the water would raise to the spillway level. But for about a week or two the level would be perfect. I would run in front of the dam several hundred yards, in mere inches of water. I was absolutely running on water only inches deep, an unbelievable feeling of being suspended on water propelled by super human legs. I am glad the water level is up, but wish my legs could still fly across the water. Age has disadvantages, I would avoid getting old.” To track in real time the height and flow of the San Geronimo Creek, go to the public link for the gaging site: http://www.balancehydro.com/onlinegaging.php River Otter at Cronin Viewing Salmon Update Supervisor Kinsey receives note and photo from constituent and passes it along. Hi Steve, Otters eating salmon at the Leo T. Cronin fish viewing area from Jim Slack. Thought you'd enjoy seeing these. Kevin Photo credit: Susie Kelley While Otters are a wonderful sign of a healthy environment the news on this year’s Salmon run is NOT GOOD NEWS. December 5, 2014 looked so promising – rain and fish! But as time went on, despite some good storms the fish simply weren’t returning home. Here’s a summary of the season with info from aquatic ecologist Eric Ettlinger of MMWD, Todd Steiner of SPAWN and the IJ. Planning Group, In the natural world, we aren’t the only ones who are glad that the Salmon are returning to the creeks. Steve Reminder: If you spot a river otter be sure to log in the sighting with The River Otter Ecology Project Under the tab Otter Spotter, http://www.riverotterecology.org/submit-yoursightings-online-here.html As Mark Woyshner, Senior Consultant points out, ‘there are several stations in Marin. All the data on these sites are real time; meaning the data collection is automated and not verified. The data are posted for convenience and (like all real-time data) very likely have errors and inaccuracies until calibrated. We do not post any final data to the real-time websites. We verify, summarize the data and submit a gaging report to MMWD each year.’ The rain gauge in Lagunitas is not operational. SGVPG is providing support to help rectify the situation and hoping to get the rain gauge back online soon. December 5, 2014 From: Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic ecologist, MMWD We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks on Lagunitas Creek with lots of both rain and fish. In that time we’ve received over eight inches of rain and Lagunitas Creek flows increased from 20 cubic feet per second to a peak of 1,800 cfs. During a break in the rain on Monday we observed 63 coho, 28 Chinook, and one a chum salmon. The stats for the season so far include: • 117 coho, 74 Chinook, and two chum salmon • 24 coho redds (gravel nests), 20 Chinook redds, one chum redd, and nine redds we couldn’t classify Our coho observations are far above average for this early in December and we’ve already seen the second-highest number of Chinook recorded for the creek. Today we observed salmon jumping through Roy’s Pools (at the western edge of the San Geronimo Golf Course), at The Inkwells (the confluence of San Geronimo and Lagunitas Creeks), and spawning at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area. December 16, 2014 Eric Ettlinger, MMWD Aquatic Ecollogist The third week of December is typically the midpoint of the coho spawning run on Lagunitas Creek. With five weeks of surveys behind us, how do I feel about this year’s coho run? In a word, disappointed. To date we’ve seen 51 coho redds, which is somewhat below average, and predicts a season total in the neighborhood of 150 redds. That total would rank in the bottom third of runs over the last 18 years, in a year when abundant rain has allowed coho to spawn wherever and whenever they want, unlike some past years. It may be that this week will mark a sharp upswing in coho spawning activity, but for now things don’t look encouraging. December 25, 2014 from the IJ What started off as a boon has turned into a bust for Marin's endangered coho salmon. Copious amounts of rain in late November and early December brought more than 100 fish into Marin, and scientists were hoping for a bumper crop of the species that has been in a steep decline. But despite the continuing rains, the number of fish returning from the sea has flattened and it looks to be a poor year for the coho."What looked to be a great start didn't ramp up like we were hoping," said Eric Ettlinger, aquatic ecologist for the Marin Municipal Water District, which manages much of Mount Tamalpais. "It's looking pretty mediocre." The most recent counts show 51 coho redds — or egg nests — which is below average, and predicts a season total in the neighborhood of 150 redds. That total would rank in the bottom third of runs over the last 18 years, in a year when abundant rain has allowed coho to spawn wherever and whenever they want, unlike some past years, Ettlinger noted. MMWD has recorded more than 31 inches of rain since July 1. The average is 16 inches, and last year at this time only 3.79 inches of rain had fallen. Coho will continue to come in, but for now, "things don't look encouraging," Ettlinger said. Todd Steiner, who heads West Marin-based Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, said the numbers of coho in the waterways his group monitors are also poor with a total of 12 fish seen in Arroyo Creek and Woodacre Creek and none in any other. "This is usually the peak right now," Steiner said. "This is another bad year in a series of bad years. The species is on the "verge of extinction" he said, noting the target number for a recovery is to see 2,600 fish in Marin's system. The most seen since 2000 was 625 in the winter of 2004/2005. LET’S HEAR IT FOR CHINOOK SALMON On a positive note, there are large numbers of chinook salmon being seen in Lagunitas Creek, about 22 chinook redds at last count, which matches the pace of a big Chinook run of 2004-05, when 125 Chinook and 44 redds were seen. The chinook have been listed as "threatened" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1999, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. American Dipper in Lagunitas As you might remember, we reported last month that on Thanksgiving weekend the Ink Wells became a mecca for Birders from all over the Northbay who toted cameras with long powerful lenses hoping (some successful) to capture shots of an American Dipper, a rare bird who is able to swim under fast moving water while seeking larvae to eat. Well this lovely little bird has taken up residence in Lagunitas and can often be found ‘dipping’ into the creek. The bird is easy to spot because of its unique bouncing action at the water’s edge and on rocks in the creek. Then this intrepid little bird will jump into the rushing water and pop out a few feet away defying the current. CLIMATE CHANGE Marin County Climate Action Plan* 2014 Update Editor’s note: The following information confirms that our Supervisors are not only taking climate change seriously but are ahead of the game. Read on . . . BACKGROUND The County of Marin (County) acknowledges the consensus among leading scientists that without action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change due to global warming will pose a considerable threat to the environment and to human health and society. Marin County was one of the first counties in California to take formal action addressing GHG emissions when it adopted the Marin County Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan in 2006 (2006 GHG Reduction Plan). Measures identified in the GHG Reduction Plan were then incorporated into the Marin Countywide Plan update which was adopted in 2007. The 2006 GHG Reduction Plan set a target to reduce GHG emissions from both community and municipal activities in the unincorporated areas of Marin County by at least 15% below 1990 levels by 2020. The County government and private sector have invested heavily in energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, water conservation, and waste minimization to reduce GHG emissions substantially. By 2012, the County had already reduced community emissions to 15% below 1990 levels — 8 years ahead of the 2020 target. CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 2014 UPDATE This document builds on the 2006 GHG Reduction Plan and provides an update of GHG emissions in 2012, forecasts of emissions for 2020, and an assessment of actions that the County will take to further reduce emissions by 2020. The CAP Update includes two targets: 2020 Community Emissions Reduction Target — a goal to reduce GHG emissions from community activities in the unincorporated areas of Marin County by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020. This target is more than the 2006 GHG Reduction Plan target and more ambitious than the state’s goals in Assembly Bill (AB) 32, which commits to reducing statewide GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. California Executive Order S-03-05, which was issued in 2005, articulates a long - term goal for the state of 80% below 1990 emissions levels by 2050. If adopted, the County’s target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 would be one of the most ambitious local jurisdiction reduction targets in California and the United States. Because the County is already ahead of their 2006 community target for 2020 Marin is now adopting a more aggressive community target in the CAP Update to achieve even greater reductions than previously planned in an attempt to get ahead of the curve and be ontrack to meet the S-03-05 statewide target for 2050. 2020 Municipal Emissions Reduction Target — a goal to reduce GHG emissions from the County’s municipal activities by at least 15% below 1990 levels by 2020. This target is consistent with the 2006 GHG Reduction Plan target. Because the County is on-track to meet the original 2006 municipal target for 2020, Marin is retaining the same target for the CAP Update. The proposed new community emissions target would put the County on the forefront of climate action planning in California, and put the County on a trajectory to reduce emissions significantly by the year 2050. The 2014 draft plan update can be accessed at www.marincounty.org/climate http://www.marincounty.org/climate * The above was taken from the Introduction of the 2-014 draft plan update. BREAKING NEWS! COYOTE KILLING! In mid-afternoon on Sunday, January 4, 2014,the corpse of a freshly killed, small, male coyote was discovered by a property owner in the middle of Montezuma Creek in Forest Knolls. He had an arrow through his body, the sharp end protruding downward, out of his belly about 10”, as if shot from above. It appears that someone on the creek bank shot downward to hit it. It was all very gruesome and sad. The Planning Group and many Valley residents do not condone this kind of behavior. Our job is to respect and protect our wildlife neighbors. For info on coexisting with coyotes see: http://projectcoyote.org/ If anyone has any information about this terrible incident please contact the Marin Humane Society or one of the Planning Group’s Forest Knolls Steering Committee Representatives: Fred Mundy [email protected] or Dan McKenna [email protected] or Paul Berensmeier [email protected] Your name will be kept confidential. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS Golden Gate Bridge Closure The Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic the second weekend of January 2015. The roadway will be closed starting at 12:01am on Saturday, January 10* and will reopen at 4:00 am on Monday, January 12. The Bridge will be closed to install a moveable median barrier which will provide a safer and more efficient system of separating opposing lanes of traffic. * Pay attention! 12:01am Saturday is one minute after midnight FRIDAY! PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC CO. Date: Jan. 12 – Jan. 31 Location: Do you live in Lagunitas at 180 East Cintura Ave., 6790 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. or 105 Rosario? Pay attention! PG&E will be upgrading a power pole in your community. To ensure public safety around the poles and work areas they will post “No Parking” signs at least 72 hours in advance of the project start. They may also temporarily close some nearby roads, trails or public spaces. What you can expect: You may see PG&E crews with equipment, including bucket trucks and a crane that will be used to move the electric distribution power lines to the new pole. This equipment may require traffic to be routed around the work areas and you may experience minor delays. For info: Contact Customer Outreach Specialist, Linda Clifton 707-577-7218. WOOD SMOKE That cold stagnant air you’re feeling is because a high pressure system continues to sit over Marin and the Valley. And no wind means smoke that can cause poor air quality that impacts our health. On January 6, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued its 6th consecutive Spare the Air Alert which makes it illegal to burn wood in the fireplace, wood stoves or in any other wood burning device. Wood burning stoves in the San Geronimo Valley owned by residents who do not have any other source of heat has been exempted. Try explaining that to the neighbor who has asthma or a lung condition that is seriously aggravated by wood smoke. (Photo taken from top of Whites Hill looking out over Woodacre on12-28-14, a no burn day) DROUGHT By Jean Berensmeier Plenty of rain has fallen! But nobody is fooled. Last year was the third driest year on record behind only 1924 and 1977. It was also the warmest year on record. In Lagunitas our family owns and uses the spring that once fed all the homes in Lagunitas before MMWD took over and returned all the Valley springs to the property owners. We’ve enjoyed delicious spring water for over 50 years. This year was the first time it ran dry. What a shock! We’d hoped the recent rains would help but they haven’t. At the request of MMWD Marin folks have voluntarily cut their water use. A good sign but despite full reservoirs we will need to continue to conserve. We’ll keep you informed of the MMWD Directors actions to keep on top of this problem. Valley Observations Coyote in downtown Woodacre by Eric Morey “I saw a medium-sized coyote casually wandering across San Geronimo Valley Drive at Park Avenue on Wednesday, December 24th at 2:30 PM. S/he wasn't fazed at all by the passing cars and then disappeared into the creek.” From Woodacre artist Griffe Griffiths I AM REJOICING . . . I have a new friend . . .. actually I have two . . . 2 Crows greet me in the morning as I walk my dog Betsy and they follow me all the way up Railroad around and down Central . . . cawing at me to give them a treat. I save any stale bread and they get it . . . I have seen the Coyote again at the bottom of Hill Ave and Central Ave. . . . he / she gives me the look . . . I salute this wild animal . . . we do look at one another and would like to think he / she is giving me a nod as a fellow creature as we go along our life's path . . . Salmon I love it . . .Have yet to see or hear any action behind my house yet . .. Salmon news from Anne Faught of Woodacre “I saw an enormous coho right behind my property on Railroad about 10 days ago, the biggest one I have seen in 34 years of living here. I saw what looked like a long steelhead (but was probably a chinook) farther up, almost to Carson. Down by the Park Street bridge between Railroad and Redwood I have seen coho on three occasions last week. They were spawning in the gravel almost out of sight but I walked up the road and watched them with my binoculars. I saw another really large one, old with a lot of white on fins and then five others viewed a week apart. Thrilled!!” Mushrooms Found in Lagunitas Internet research shows this to be Clathrus ruber (Red Cage) mushroom. It fruits from a white scaly egg with a large, often red, cage like body. Stinkhorn-like in that it has a stinky slime that appears inside the cage which attracts flys. The flys distribute the mushrooms seeds. PLANNING GROUP NEWSLETTER • Co-Editors: Linda Nave and Jean Berensmeier, • Proofreader: Barbara Ures -Email Technician: Eric Morey • Newsletter Contributors: SC members; Chairpersons, PG members and Valley submissions. • Suggestions, and Valley Observations are welcome. Send to Co - Editors Linda Nave [email protected] or Jean Berensmeier, [email protected] Found this jaunty mushroom while hiking on Whites Hill. The Woodland Fairy had been lost on the trail, a bit of frost on her wings. I tucked her in my pocket. After she warmed up she graciously agreed to pose. Of course, we all know the rule of magic is ‘catch and release’. Watch for her on your next hike! February Newsletter submissions due Jan 29, 2015 PLANNING GROUP MEMBERSHIP Please urge a friend or neighbor to join us. ____ $15 Single ____ $25 Family ____ $0 Over 65 Request a membership form: [email protected] Make your check out to SGVPG and mail to: P. O. Box 57, Forest Knolls, CA 94933 Little Store The Little Store in Forest Knolls is under new ownership. The community invited Hector Bezanis, to our December meeting. He brought his portfolio showing the amazing wood work he does for a living. Everyone enjoyed meeting him and all believe he is an important addition to our community. The mural on the park side of the building was discussed. Dave Cort knew the story. Hector noted that the mural is wonderful, but he’d like to restore that side of the building putting back the windows that were there historically. The group present that night thought it would be fun to get all the kids (now grown) who originally painted the mural together and celebrate with photos of the artists in front of the mural. After Hector completes the restoration he is open to the idea of a new mural. This community mural project could use an industrious person at the helm. Hector notes that nothing is going to happen too quickly. So think about it…. * “This is the last place. There is nowhere else to go.” - Lou Welch This line, always at the top of our agenda, is an excerpt taken from a poem by Lou Welch that was included in the extraordinary document “Can the Last Place Last?” which, in the late ‘60’s laid the ground work for the unique County Wide Plan that was adopted in1972 and created zoning, policies, codes & regulations that has served to preserve major parts of Marin from inappropriate development.
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