Volunteers Expand Habitat and Storms Surge on our Land

erosion causing blue oak to hang over ledge at Anderson Ranch

Stewardship Update

Written by Haley Sutton, Land Stewardship Associate

land movement after atmospheric rains

Land movement after atmospheric rains. Photo by Haley Sutton

Storm Patrol

Written by Sean Burke, Land Programs Director

Stewardship staff has been busy monitoring storm damage and responding to neighbor inquiries on our lands after the atmospheric rains throughout the month, and things have been quite dynamic.

Staff addressing damaged to fire roads caused by stormwater runoff

Staff addressing damage to fire roads. Runoff carved huge chasms that will make travel difficult. Photo by Roxana Lucero

Mangini Ranch has seen Galindo Creek come back to life with ephemeral streams running from every canyon into the creek and moving quite a bit of earth along with it.

Curry Canyon has seen Curry Creek seriously liven up, with inlet streams moving lots of earth into drainages and creating landslides across the whole property, affecting vehicular travel on state park trails.

Marsh Creek is certainly alive, moving enough water to drown the crossing into Marsh Creek 4 and 6 as well as remove the bridge at Big Bend like Houdini.

Marsh Creek knocked down pedestrian bridge

Marsh Creek knocked down pedestrian bridge. Photo by Haley Sutton

Anderson Ranch has had major impacts to fire roads where drainage has carved chasms as storm runoff found its way into the creek.

The pond at Wright Canyon is holding strong with the overflow moving excess right on and into the spillway. Lot 25 also has found the need for attention with water running through the land and neighboring properties, filling swimming pools.

Staff visited many of these properties and implemented solutions to redirect some of the runoff.

For example, staff visited Marsh Creek 4 and installed copious straw bales along the access road to Marsh Creek 6 with the neighbor to help reduce mud draining into the creek and along access roads.

Hay bales help prevent further damage to roads.

Hay bales help prevent further damage to roads. Photo by Haley Sutton

Staff cleared a few clogged arteries at Wright Canyon beyond the pond where the spillway had numerous blockages. Staff also ran some wattle to redirect water from around the barn.

staff digging dead mans anchors to secure a tree at Anderson Ranch.

Staff digging dead man anchors to secure a tree at Anderson Ranch. Photo by Sean Burke

Anderson Ranch received a couple days of attention.

We dug trenches to reduce and redirect flow that had already created a decent sized landslide into the creek.

We also installed two large dead man anchors to hold a blue oak that hangs precipitously over the creek where the land gave way.

At Lot 25, staff installed some wattle and sandbags to redirect water down the driveway and away from neighbors.

At Curry Canyon Ranch, staff dug trenches to redirect water movement and installed sandbags and base rock to help fortify areas affecting vehicular access and experiencing increased drainage.

Staff has also been busy clearing downed trees along the Knobcone Point Trail.

Diablo Restoration Team in Action

DiRT volunteers planting at Wright Canyon

DiRT volunteers planting at Wright Canyon. Photo by Haley Sutton

We held our first Diablo Restoration Team workday of the year at Wright Canyon, where volunteers planted and protected many more natives to kick off our 2023 efforts towards our 10,000 Trees and Plants project.

Volunteers added 19 plants along the perimeter fencing of the property to expand habitat and attract pollinators to the perimeter of the property.

In several months, there will be pops of color from the sticky monkey flower, silver bush lupine, yarrow, and hummingbird sage.

Volunteers also spread some native flower seed around the plantings and walked around the upper trails of the property to protect an additional 58 tree seedlings. Thank you to our volunteers!

Stewards in the Field

erosion on trails. Curry Canyon Ranch Lower 200 (haley sutton)

Erosion on trails at Curry Canyon Ranch, lower 200. Photo by Haley Sutton

Many of our property stewards assisted our storm documentation and response efforts this month.

They recorded fallen trees, mudslides and erosion, and accumulated debris among other impacts of the historical rainfall experienced by the whole state.

The Trail Dogs worked with the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation to repair a sinkhole in the Twin Ponds Loop in Shell Ridge and maintained the Lime Ridge Trail in Lime Ridge.

Discover Diablo Program

January 21st Dr. Mary Bowerman Birthday Hike was canceled because of storm damage on North and South Gate Roads leading to the summit at Mount Diablo State Park.

January 28th Two Ridges and Creek Hike was led by Discover Diablo volunteer Jean Vieth and attended by eight participants. It was a beautiful clear morning for a hike that only required one route adjustment because of standing water on the trail.

Our 2023 Discover Diablo schedule is live! Please visit Eventbrite to view and sign up for upcoming outings. Join us as we hike, climb, mountain bike, run, and appreciate the breathtaking flora and fauna of Mount Diablo and the Diablo Range.

Thank you to all our Discover Diablo volunteers who make this program possible!

Farewell to Denise!

Denise Castro at Henry Coe State Park during Save Mount Diablo's 2022 BioBlitz

Denise at Henry Coe State Park during our 2022 BioBlitz. Photo by Haley Sutton

We recently said goodbye to Denise Castro. She was a valuable part of our stewardship team for the past four years. We will miss her contagious passion for nature and her wealth of knowledge about local plants.

She inspired many volunteers and students and strengthened our education and outreach program greatly. Thank you, Denise!

Top: Erosion causing blue oak to hang over ledge at Anderson Ranch by Roxana Lucero

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