MARCH  |  APRIL 2015   


In This Issue (Links)
Upcoming Events
For locations, see event calendar

Dimond Branch Library

iNaturalist and Social Media
Ken-ichi Ueda
Wed., Mar. 18
7-9 p.m.

Mushrooms in the Garden
Debbie Viess
Wed., May 20
7-9 p.m.


Fruitvale Bridge Park
Sat., Apr. 18
8-11 a.m.

Sat., Apr. 18
9 a.m.-noon



Austin Square

Sat., Apr. 4

1-3 p.m.


Barry Place

Sat., Apr. 18

9 a.m.-noon 


Beaconsfield Canyon

Sat., Mar. 28, Apr. 18  

9 a.m.-noon


Bridgeview Trail

Sun., Mar. 8, Apr. 12

Sat., Apr. 18 

10 a.m.-noon


Bridgeview Trailhead Native Bee Garden 

Sun., Mar. 15, Apr. 19

10 a.m.-noon


Dimond Park

Sat., Mar. 21

9 a.m.-noon

Sat., Apr. 18

8:45 a.m.-noon 


Marj Saunders Park

Mon., Apr. 6 

11 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 18

9 a.m.-noon 


Montclair Railroad Trail

Sat., Mar. 21, Apr. 18 

9-11 a.m.


Wood Park

Sat., Mar. 21, Apr. 18 

10 a.m.-noon




Location TBD

 (see event calendar

Fri., Mar. 13

10 a.m.-noon




FOSC Native Plant Nursery

Joaquin Miller Park 


Fri., Mar. 13

12-2 p.m.


 Sat., Mar. 14 & 28

Apr. 11 & 25 

1:30-4:30 p.m.


Sat., Apr. 18

9 a.m.-noon 




Sequoia Arena Gate

Joaquin Miller Park

Sat., April 11

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 




Orinda Public Library

Sat., April 11, 10-11 a.m.

UC Berkeley, 159 Mumford Hall

Sat., April 11

1-2 p.m. 




Wed., April 8

7-9 p.m.

Park Blvd. Presbyterian Church 



For more information:

Event Calendar 


Michelle Krieg 

Restoration & Nursery Manager

(510) 325-9006


Helen Dickson 

Restoration Intern


Kimra McAfee 

Executive Director

(510) 501-3672


FOSC logo

When it comes to conservation, YOU can make a difference. Read on for ways to learn how and to steward our small corner of the planet.

iNaturalist and Social Media for Conservation (and Fun!)

Wednesday, March 18, 7 p.m.

Dimond Branch Library

3565 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland is an online social network for naturalists where you can share your passions and explorations in nature and learn more about them from others. iNaturalist co-founder Ken-ichi Ueda will show you what you can do on the site and discuss how social media sites like iNaturalist can be critical conservation tools--not just for collecting data but for underscoring the importance of ecological issues. Download a flyer.


Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitz East Bay

Saturday-Sunday, April 11-12

Your help is needed to track Sudden Oak Death (SOD), the pathogen that is decimating our beautiful coast live oaks. See our event calendar for details on the trainings on April 11, and then collect samples at your leisure that weekend. Please email Kimra if you can help collect Sausal Creek Watershed samples so we can coordinate routes and improve the citizen science dataset.

Earth Day Workdays

Saturday, April 18

Find an Earth Day workday near you on the FOSC event calendar. If you are interested in being a crew leader or have a group interested in volunteering, please contact Michelle. All volunteers under 18 must bring City of Oakland and FOSC waivers signed by their parent or guardian.

May 5: A Day of Giving

Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 5. FOSC will be participating in

East Bay Gives 2015, a one-day philanthropic-palooza that will allow us to leverage your mid-year donation with additional awards. It will give us an opportunity to share our good work with new donors and boost our mid-year fundraising drive through online and social media. You'll be able to donate on the East Bay Gives website, our website, or through our Facebook page (please Like Us if you haven't already--that will help spread the word). We've also started a Twitter account, so you can now Follow Us. Look for further details on our website and updates via our listserv, where we will announce the cash prizes that the East Bay Community Foundation is offering for different giving benchmarks on this day of giving.


If online giving isn't for you, checks to "East Bay Gives" dated May 5, 2015 with FOSC in the memo line can be mailed to FOSC at PO Box 2737, Oakland, CA 94602. They will be included and count toward extra monetary awards if we have them by May 5. Thank you!

Friends of the Month:
Marysue Fisher and Kathy Kenworthy

This issue's special thank you goes to a duo.  
About three years ago,

Marysue Fisher and Kathy Kenworthy took over stewardship of the area at the end of Benevides Avenue at the top of Dimond Canyon. Dedicated and steadfast, they give the native plants at this site the attention they need--weeding and watering--for a few hours each month. They have also been leading workgroups in this area during our large Creek to Bay Day and Earth Day events. Over the years this special spot has evolved into a welcoming garden at the entrance of the Old Caņon Trail, a distant cry from the thickets of blackberry, acacia, broom, and ivy that once had to be hacked through with a machete. Although this spot has been tended to by many neighbors, Marysue and Kathy don't even live on the street--in fact they are neighbors on the other side of Dimond Canyon. As we prepare for repairs to the storm drain at the end of the street under the Sausal Creek Erosion Control Restoration Project, they know there's going to be some heavy equipment coming in to address the problem. But in the meantime, these Friends continue to remove the invasive nonnatives and to tend to the native plants that have been put in over the years. Marysue is also a regular on the Dimond Canyon creek cleanups, helping to clear pounds and pounds of golf balls and trash out of the creek. Thank you, ladies! 

Explore the Watershed
A Really Wild Cucumber 

Common name: California manroot 

Scientific name: Marah fabaceus


A member of the cucumber family, the distinctive vines of the California manroot are on display in the late winter and early spring. Flowers are yellow to white in color, and the plant produces heart-shaped leaves and spiky seedpods. Slender tendrils reach up and away from the plant at a rate of several inches a day, curling tightly around nearby foliage and pulling the vine up and towards the sun. (For more on the interesting mechanism fueling the tendrils, click here.) The vines die back in the heat of summer leaving an underground tuber that remains dormant until the next season. The tuber stores carbohydrates and can weigh more than 200 pounds, sometimes partially dividing into two "legs." Taking into account tuber shape and size, there's little wonder why it's called manroot!

Water Quality

Friends of Sausal Creek's dedicated volunteers have been collecting data on water quality in the creek since 1994. Water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and E. coli levels have been measured at sites from the hills to the estuary. These parameters tell us a lot about what the creek is like to live in: whether it's nice and cool, whether there is enough oxygen for the critters that need it, and more.

What are the results? Overall, Sausal Creek is pretty darn healthy! Read the analysis of each of the monitoring parameters by clicking the links below: 


Dissolved Oxygen 

E. coli


Water Temperature 

Phytophthora: Keeping Ahead of the Plant Destroyer


Restoration practitioners and the native plant community have been talking about Phytophthora for years, but recently this disease has gotten more attention, and organizations are becoming more diligent in their efforts to control its spread.


What is Phytophthora? With a name coming from the Greek words for "plant" and "destruction" or "ruin," Phytophthora refers to the genus of water molds that are capable of causing extensive plant die-off and ecosystem devastation.


FOSC has been concerned with the species Phytophthora cinnamomi because it threatens the endangered pallid manzanita, and Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death (SOD). There are hundreds of other species of these fungus-like water molds however, and they are making their way through California's wildlands with lethal effects to a number of native plants.


We are continually assessing and improving our practices at our native plant nursery in Joaquin Miller Park and in the field so that we can keep our plants and our watershed healthy. Next time you visit the nursery or volunteer in the watershed you will notice some of these changes, including a recently installed shoe cleaning station at our nursery gate. You can learn more from recent talks on Phytophthora here.


As a citizen scientist, you can help track the advance of Sudden Oak Death by participating in the annual East Bay SOD Blitz. See the event calendar
for the training details on the events on Saturday, April 11, in Orinda (10 a.m.) or at UC Berkeley (1 p.m.). Plan to spend a few hours that weekend enjoying the outdoors while looking for infected bay trees to sample.


Information on results of previous SOD surveys and on treating and slowing the spread is here. Information on how to avoid spreading Sudden Oak Death is here.


Good precautions for avoiding spreading this deadly disease include:

  • Do not move soil.
  • Stay on established trails; respect closures.
  • Brush and, where possible, wash dirt off tires, boot treads, camping equipment, horses, and dogs before you leave an area.
  • If you have been in a suspect or infected area (e.g., you observe significant die-off of many plants, most noticeably tan oaks or other shrubs), use Lysol or a 10% bleach solution on your shoes.
  • If you buy plants (native or nonnative), ask nurseries what they are doing to prevent spread of these water molds.
   SOD infected oaks in Oakland's Garber Park as viewed from Panoramic Trail
Kudos Korner


Congratulations to all the FOSCers who were recognized by Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington as Local Heroes on February 28. In particular we'd like to congratulate restoration site leaders Barbara Brochard (Montclair Railroad Trail), Marysue Fisher (Benevides streetside native plant garden), Elaine Geffen (Marj Saunders Park), Kathleen Harris (Bridgeview Trail, also FOSC Bioassessment Team leader), and Wendy Tokuda (Beaconsfield Canyon). We are also grateful for Dimond Park steward Hayward Blake, broom warrior Sue Duckles, Dimond Oaktoberfest leader Daniel Swafford, and trails champion Stan Dodson--check out the latest on his upcoming documentary TRAILHEAD here.


Big thanks to Eagle Scout candidate Everett Ellis for raising the funds and overseeing the construction on two new redwood benches for our nursery. We really needed this growing space!


Oakland's Brotzeit Lokal Boathaus & Biergarten continues to support FOSC by processing their credit card purchases through Ethix Merchant Services, Inc. and deeming FOSC their charity of choice. These quarterly donations help keep our cash flowing and are much appreciated. If you haven't tried Brotzeit, please do. It's an informal, fun, and lively place, right on the water (1000 Embarcadero)--great sausages and beer!


Peet's Coffee & Tea Dimond customers donated a total of $1,712.45 to FOSC during the shop's 2014 Holiday Giving campaign, guaranteeing the full $750 match from Peet's corporate headquarters. Thank you to Peet's and Dimond supporters!

Events of Others

Join Speaking Tributaries for their Echoes participatory, multimedia event centered around Sausal Creek and Salem Lutheran Home, on Sunday, March 22, 2-6 p.m. in Dimond Park.


Catch the Bay Currents talk series presented by Friends of Five Creeks. Jerry Kent will speak on How the East Bay Got its Forest on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Albans Parish Hall in Albany.


Explore the world of the Ohlone and other indigenous peoples of the East Bay at the Peralta Hacienda's Hands-On History Events series on Saturdays in March and April.


Register for the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour on Sunday, May 3 to visit bird-and-butterfly friendly, pesticide-free, water-conserving, low-maintenance gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Also check out the spring 2015 workshops.

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


Please help us maintain and expand our efforts in the Sausal Creek 
Watershed by making a donation today!

Donate online via PayPal or Network for Good, or mail this form with your check made payable to:
Friends of Sausal Creek, P.O. Box 2737, Oakland, CA 94602
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