DECEMBER 2011  |  JANUARY 2012  


In This Issue (Links)
Plant Sale Results
Creek Tips
Adopt a Drain
Donations Matter
Bioassessment Update
SOD on the Rise
Teaching Kids




Joaquin Miller


Sat., Dec. 3, 1 p.m. 




Dimond Library

Wed., Jan. 18

7-9 p.m.





Aquatic Insect Monitoring in Dimond Park

Sat., Jan. 8   

9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Bird Monitoring (start at Sequoia Arena) 

Sat., Jan. 21 

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


Collection Hike  (location TBD, check calendar) 

Fri., Dec. 16

10 a.m.-noon





Sat., Dec. 17 &  

Jan. 7 

1:30-4:30 p.m.


Thurs., Dec. 8 &

Jan. 26   

1:30-4:30 p.m. 





Barry Place

Sat., Dec. 17 

9 a.m.-noon


Beaconsfield Canyon

Sat., Jan. 28

9 a.m.-noon


Bridgeview Trailhead 

Sat., Dec. 10

9 a.m.-noon


Dimond Canyon 

Sat., Dec. 10 &

Jan. 14 

9 a.m.-noon


Fern Ravine

Sat., Dec. 3  

9 a.m.-noon


Marj Saunders Park

Mon., Dec. 5 &

Jan. 2 

10 a.m.-noon


Shepherd Canyon

Sat., Dec. 10 &

Jan. 16 

9 a.m.-noon 


Wood Park

Sat., Dec. 17 &

Jan. 21 

9 a.m.-noon




Park Blvd. Presbyterian Church

4101 Park Blvd. 

Wed., Dec. 14 

7-9 p.m.






For more information:

 FOSC Calendar 


 Megan Hess 

Restoration & Nursery




 Kimra McAfee 

Executive Director








Help us grow the  environmental stewards of the future by supporting our environmental education program. Your $10 donation covers our costs for one student's field trip to the watershed.

Photo Credits:
Kathleen Harris
Megan Hess
Karen Paulsell
Mark Rauzon
John Slaymaker

Richard Kauffman
Kimra McAfee
FOSC logo
Oakland HS Planting_Hess

It truly is a joyful time of year for FOSC volunteers. After months and months of removing invasive, non-native plants, it is finally time to plant! This year there are planting workdays on each of the first three Saturdays in December; check the FOSC calendar for locations and details. There will be more chances to plant in January and February if you can't make it out in December. 

Not to be missed in December and January:

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Field Meeting, Saturday, December 3, 1 p.m. at Joaquin Miller Park, Craib Picnic Area

Learn about Sudden Oak Death management and see a demonstration on treatment techniques by the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory. Download a flyer with directions and more details. (See SOD article below.) 


City of Oakland Sausal Creek Dimond Park Restoration Public Meeting, Saturday, December 10, tours at 10:30 a.m. and noon  

Don't miss this opportunity to learn about final design plans and to tour the restoration area with city staff and project designers. Meet at the entrance to Dimond Park at Wellington Street. Note that the event will take place if there is light rain; heavy rain will cancel. For rain cancellation information on day of event visit or call (510) 238-6600. 


State of the Creek--What's Happening in the Sausal Creek Watershed? Wednesday, January 18, 7 p.m. at Dimond Library

Restoration site leaders from throughout the watershed will share updates about their current projects, priorities for the year, and support needs. Please come to learn more about FOSC's work and volunteer opportunities. If you want to help organize your neighbors or adopt a spot, this meeting is for you! Download a flyer

A Stupendous--and Rockin'--Native Plant Sale

Thank you to all of the volunteers, shoppers, tablers, presenters, and musicians who helped make our Native Plant Sale and Open House the best ever! We sold a record $6,400 in native plants. In addition, shoppers generously donated an additional $600 to support our nursery costs for growing plants for watershed restoration sites. This rainy season we hope to plant over 4,000 plants (retail value $25,000) at these sites. What an amazing amount of volunteer energy goes into every step of the process--from collecting the seeds and cuttings, to transplanting the babies, to getting the nursery ready for this huge event.
In 2010, heavy rains kept all of our tablers at home and canceled all of our workshops. We were so pleased to have splendid weather this year. Thank you to presenters Jennifer Smith, Robin Gregg and Mauro Rubino of The Naturals Landscaping, Jenny Palka of Native Bird Connection, and Jeri Martinez of Alameda County Beekeepers. The Spider Chick Linda Erickson's native spider collection was simply amazing. We are grateful to our very own Alameda County Master Gardeners Margaret Burnett and Jeanne Coyne for once again sharing their wisdom with inquiring minds all day long. And what could have been more special then closing the day with the Harlan James Bluegrass Band?
Thank you to Cole Coffee and Noah's Bagels for supporting the event with their coffee and bagel donations and to Hayashida Architects for printing our signage. Red Boy Pizza generously provided pizza at greatly discounted prices so we could feed our volunteers.

--Pat Bacchetti 
C R E E K   T I P S
Taking Responsibility for Your Runoff

Make sure you are managing your runoff in a responsible and legal way. The most serious impact on Sausal Creek and its tributaries is the peak flow runoff during heavy rains. All our impervious surfaces--roads, driveways, sidewalks, and roofs--speed the flow of water into storm drains and creeks. During a cloudburst, all that water reaches the creek at once, scouring the creek bed, eroding the banks, and causing flooding when flows exceed creek and culvert capacity. Heavy rains last March caused numerous problems throughout the watershed. Here's a video from Dimond Canyon during the peak flows of March 11, 2011. 


Don't do this:                                                                   Or this:  



Why not? 

  • It's really bad for the creek, increasing peak flows and erosion during heavy rains.
  • It's a violation of Oakland's municipal code section 13.16 on watercourse protection to run plastic pipes like these into creeks or storm drains or onto city streets without a permit. 

What should I do?

  • Install rain barrels to manage your runoff. You can buy discounted rain barrels through the City's Rain Barrel Program
  • Run your plastic drain pipes downhill to a perforated pipe that runs horizontally across the hill. You'll convert one big gusher of flow into lots of small trickles.
  • Landscape to create low swales or rain gardens to temporarily detain rainwater. See our watershed plan for examples.
  • For more information on Oakland's watershed protection efforts, see
--Karen Paulsell
Adopt a Storm Drain Today

The Neighborhood Coalition for Positive Change (NCPC) Oakland Beat 22X Beautification Committee, in partnership with the Oakland Public Works Department, is organizing neighborhood volunteers in the Dimond, Oakmore, Montera, Lincoln Heights, and Woodminster neighborhoods to adopt storm drains in their areas. The volunteers will keep the storm drains free of debris to allow free runoff of water during storms. If interested, please contact Marion Mills.
Your Donations Make a Difference


Did you know that a crucial 20 percent of our annual operating budget comes from private donations? Last year, 166 folks made a donation to FOSC. The amounts ranged from $10 to $2,000, but all were given with the same, generous spirit--a desire to help FOSC preserve and enhance the Sausal Creek Watershed.

Fifteen years ago, the founders of FOSC intentionally set up the organization as an open membership organization. There are no dues; everyone is already a member. But we still need to ask for your financial help to keep doing all that we do each year: 

  • Leading 20-30 free environmental education field trips for local youth
  • Supporting the efforts of over 2,000 volunteers, folks who donate more than 6,000 hours of their time
  • Leading propagation and planting of 2,000-4,000 plants

Read our annual report to find out more about our accomplishments. 


Donate electronically or mail your check to PO Box 2737, Oakland, CA 94602.


If we can raise $8,500 by January 15, anonymous donors have generously offered a $1,500 match. Please donate today. 


Thank you!

C H E C K I N G   T H E   C R E E K ' S   P U L S E
New Bioassessment Team Performs Data Collection
The assessment team cleans the collection net and collects all the organisms in a composite sample.


On November 6, seven volunteers performed the first macroinvertebrate survey under the new aquatic insect monitoring program. They collected 322 organisms from a stretch of Sausal Creek in Dimond Park. The majority were mayfly larvae along with some caddisfly larvae, which hadn't been seen for some time. Using an EPT ratio as the primary metric, the team compares the number of mayfly (Ephemenoptera), stone fly (Plecoptera), and caddisfly (Tricoptera) larvae. Measuring the variation in levels of the three larvae over time is a standard method for gauging creek health throughout the U.S. and indicates whether or not the creek can support a diverse population of organisms.

The team plans to sample several sites over the course of the coming year to better understand the health of the creek as it travels from the more undeveloped reaches in Joaquin Miller Park to the more urbanized Dimond Park area. The ultimate goal is twofold: to educate a cohort of volunteers with expertise in insect identification and to allow the data to inform decisions on how best to improve the ecology of the creek. It's too early to draw any conclusions about the health of the creek with just one sample. Each time we sample, the data will go into our database. Eventually we will have a decent picture of the invertebrate populations in the creek.

The next data collection date will be Sunday, January 8, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For details or if you'd like to join the team, contact Kathleen Harris or Megan Hess. You can also visit our website for bioassessment team updates.

--Kathleen Harris

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) on the Rise in the East Bay

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) infestation in the East Bay spiked significantly in the past year, causing Dr. Matteo Garbelotto of the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory to conclude that the disease is here to stay. Dr. Garbelotto is one of the foremost authorities on SOD having been instrumental in developing data collection and analysis techniques that have led to much greater understanding of the pathogen and its transmission.



Growing Environmental Stewards

Our end-of-year appeal letter, reproduced here, detailed our efforts in environmental education.

We've always been a future-thinking organization, but as time goes on, we tend to think more and more about making sure that the foundation we've built lasts a long time. One way we do that takes place largely out of public view. Alongside our hands-on restoration work, for years we have been training the next generation of local environmental stewards.

It's a key part of our mission and one of our passions. We offer in-class and in-the-field education programs for students from kindergarten through high school. They learn about everything from food webs and recycling to water quality monitoring, native plant identification, and installing erosion blankets. We give kids an opportunity to get out of the classroom, get their hands dirty, and learn environmental science by being scientists. And they absolutely love it.

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or call (510) 501-3672.