In This Issue
Creek-to-Bay Day
Creek Tips
FOSC Endowment
Board of Directors




Joaquin Miller

Native Plant


Sun., Oct. 16

10 a.m.-3 p.m.



Sudden Oak Death 

Wed., Nov. 16

7-9 p.m.

Dimond Library



Bird Monitoring  

Sat., Oct. 15

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.





Sat., Oct. 8 & 22, 

Nov. 5 & 12

1:30-4:30 p.m.


Thurs., Oct. 13   

1:30-4:30 p.m. 


Fri., Oct. 14

10 a.m.-1 p.m. 


Sat., Oct. 15 

10 a.m.-3 p.m.






Beaconsfield Canyon

Sat.,Oct. 29 &

Nov. 26

9 a.m.-noon


Dimond Canyon 

Sat., Oct. 8 &

Nov. 5

9 a.m.-noon


Fern Ravine

Sat., Oct. 22 

9 a.m.-noon


Marj Saunders Park

Mon., Oct. 3 &

Nov. 7

10 a.m.-noon


Shepherd Canyon

Sat., Oct. 8 &

Nov. 5

9-11 a.m


Wood Park

Sat., Oct. 15 &

Nov. 19

9 a.m.-noon




Wed., Oct. 12

7-9 p.m. 

Park Blvd.

Presbyterian Church






For more information:

FOSC Calendar 


Megan Hess 

Restoration & Nursery




Kimra McAfee 

Executive Director








The FOSC nursery supplies native plants for our restoration sites. You can make a donation as a plant sponsor. For example, a donation of $50 sponsors five one-gallon plants or 10 four-inch plants. You can donate any amount you choose--the watershed will thank you!

Sponsor plants at these sites:

Barry Place

Beaconsfield Canyon

Fern Ravine

Marj Saunders Park

Montclair Railroad Trail

Shepherd Canyon

WD Wood Park

Richard Kauffman
Kimra McAfee

Nancy Karier
FOSC logo

We've already seen our first bit of rain this early fall. For native plant lovers, this means it is planting time! Don't miss your chance to stock up on local native plants at great prices at FOSC's annual Native Plant Sale on Sunday,

October 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the native plant nursery in Joaquin Miller Park.  

Come for the plants, but plan to hang around for the speakers (talks on native bees, urban beekeeping, native plant propagation and gardening), cool exhibits (spiders, raptors, Master Gardeners), and live bluegrass music. Visit the 
plant sale website for more details and a flyer to share with your friends.  

Please also rally your friends and neighbors to join us for our next member meeting on Wednesday, November 16, 7 p.m. at the Dimond Library, on Sudden Oak Death and the Sausal Creek Watershed. The pathogen that carries Sudden Oak Death (SOD) was found at several sites in the upper Sausal Creek Watershed during last spring's SOD-Blitz survey. Sudden Oak Death is a fungus-like mold that is killing oak trees in coastal California. UC Berkeley pathologist Dr. Matteo Garbelotto will discuss the pathogen, the survey results, and the possible next steps that FOSC volunteers can proactively take to slow down the epidemic. 
Volunteers Throng to Creek-to-Bay Day
Fruitvale Bridge Park Volunteer on Creek-to-Bay Day
Fruitvale Bridge Park

Thank you to the more than 300 volunteers who helped out in the watershed for Creek-to-Bay Day on September 17. From hills to bay, major progress was made on restoration projects and trash removal. The Fruitvale Bridge Park team collected roughly 500 pounds of garbage at the creek mouth, preventing harmful waste from entering the estuary. Upstream, more than 50 cubic yards of invasive blackberry, ivy, broom, and other invasive plant species were removed from along the creek and surrounding parks. Volunteer crew leaders skillfully led first-time and returning volunteers in plant identification and removal techniques, rescuing trees from ivy invasion, and clearing new areas to be filled in by native plant communities.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of the vendors who contributed food and drink to fuel our volunteers: Berkeley Bowl, Cole Coffee, Farmer Joe's, La Farine, Noah's Bagels, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods.

--Megan Hess
Creek Tips
Get ready for the first flush


Litter and other pollutants build up throughout the watershed during the last few dry months of the year. The first big rain event is typically considered the "first flush" in any storm drain system, when the greatest amount of trash and pollutants are flushed through the watershed all at once. You can help reduce the effects of this year's first flush by removing litter from streets, sidewalks, parks, and other areas. Check your car for oil leaks, which also contribute to harmful runoff during each rain event. Pick up after your pets to prevent bacteria from washing into Sausal Creek, its tributaries, and, eventually, the estuary. Maintaining these habits year-round will improve overall watershed health. Spread the word! 

Firming Up FOSC's Future


FOSC's success over the past 15 years has become something of a local legend among environmental groups. But the truth is, we've barely scratched the surface in terms of what needs to be done to restore and protect our watershed. That's why we've established the For the Future Fund, an endowment that you can use to help FOSC sustain itself and grow far into the future. If you are considering including FOSC in your will or trust, or if you would like to donate seed money for the new endowment, please contact Board President Carl Kohnert via email or phone, 510-654-4062.  

It's All About the Bugs
How we monitor the creek's water quality


The tiny organisms that inhabit Sausal Creek provide the basis for the web of interactions that supply food for bird and beast. These freshwater invertebrates are mostly insect larvae that molt to become adult winged insects, but they also include worms, snails, and relatives of the spiders that make their homes in the creek for some or all of their lives. The number and diversity of these freshwater invertebrates gives us vital information on the health of the creek. 


FOSC's aquatic insect monitoring team has performed three bioassessments so far by taking a detailed look at these organisms. We wade into the creek and use special nets to collect the tiny invertebrates that live under the rocks and stones. Using tweezers and pipettes, we separate them from the surrounding debris, categorize and count them, record the data, and then release them back into the creek. 

Bioassessment Team-Netting

We analyze the data using an industry standard called the EPT ratio. EPT stands for Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), and Tricoptera (caddisflies)--three families of invertebrates that show various degrees of sensitivity to pollution. Mayflies are very resistant to pollution, stoneflies are somewhat resistant, and caddisflies are not very resistant at all. So if we find a lot of mayfly larvae, not many stonefly larvae, and very few caddisfly larvae, then the ratio of pollution-tolerant larvae is high, indicating the creek has some problems. And indeed, that is what our three assessments to date have shown. In two assessment areas in Dimond Canyon and one in Dimond Park, we have found a complete absence of caddisfly larvae. 


The assessment is based on a ratio because the sheer numbers of organisms in the creek will vary greatly with the season, weather, the collection method, and other variables. By comparing one family to another at a given point in time, we can get a more accurate sense of what's affecting these populations. Scientists focus on the insect family, as opposed to genus or species, because identification is easier at that level. A well-trained amateur can spot the mayfly larva's smooth shape and three "tail feathers" or the stonefly larva's three distinct thorax segments. 

Mayfly nymph
Mayfly nymph
Stonefly nymph
Stonefly nymph

The team plans to survey several locations in the Sausal Creek watershed on a monthly basis. One location will be in Joaquin Miller Park above Highway 13, another in Dimond Park, and a third on the Dimond Canyon Trail. Sampling multiple locations will give us a new perspective on the workings of the creek from the point of view of these tiny, usually overlooked inhabitants of the biosphere.



Interested in joining the team? FOSC provides equipment and training. The complete bioassessment takes two to three hours, from collecting the samples to keying out the organisms and recording the data. We will make the information available on the FOSC website when we have enough to report. Please contact Megan or Kathleen if you would like to join us.


--Kathleen Harris

Openings at the Top

Interested in helping the watershed without getting your hands dirty? FOSC is looking for a couple new members for its board of directors. In particular, we're seeking someone with a passion for or experience with financial management, website development, or fundraising. Our board is a diverse, dynamic, and committed group that establishes the priorities and direction of this model watershed organization. For more information on what board involvement entails, please contact Kimra at coordinator@sausalcreek.org or (510) 501-3672. You can also come to our next monthly board meeting--they're open to the public--Wednesday, October 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church.

To subscribe to this e-newsletter, email
or call (510) 501-3672.