San Lorenzo River revelations…

Good Morning Barbara,pacific-bonefish

I am back again to lure you in with more scaly news to tickle your fish curiosity: three new 2016 visitors were recorded in the San Lorenzo River: bluegill, rainbow surfperch and Pacific bonefish. Finding the Pacific bonefish in our river was a historical record setter, because bonefish hadn’t been observed in North America since its first 1914 sighting in the San Francisco Bay. El Niño’s warmer ocean temperatures must have enticed the two bonefish to swim from their tropical/subtropical waters of Mexico and Central America into our river. They were only a few inches long and about a year old in early summer, so they had completed their 6-7 months ocean drifting in the currents and were ready for coastal environments such as estuaries and shallow bays. The bonefish will primarily feast on small crabs and macro-invertebrates in the San Lorenzo River Estuary, grow about one foot long and maybe live for over 20 years in our river, sharing the water with the other 25 fish species.

slipping & sliding…

A juv. BLACK-crowned NIGHT-HERON was stalking slowly crossing the riverbed, reached the Tule, examined it thoroughly, crawled underneath it and popped out of the Tule up the bank, climbed on top of it and began slipping and sliding towards the waterline, stood motionless for a moment then with outstretched neck eyed the reeds intently. After brief deliberations, the young bird decided to repeat the joyride. An adult BLACK-crowned NIGHT-HERON, perched on a log, was watching the juvenile behavior as its shoulders kept slumping down. The scene made me laugh as I sympathized with the beaked adult…

slumped shouldered adult

To be frank, I had a hard time visualizing the Head Driven Culvert concept, which is the 2nd flood device in the 2015 IMP. So I asked for help and this is the understanding I gained: Three partially buried 4’ diameter standpipes ( risers) with porous bottoms will be vertically installed along the cliff bank. The riser is hooked up to a 450’ long horizontal culvert, which crosses the river mouth at 5’ height and is buried in the Main Beach where the Culvert then spills the Lagoon overflow into the Ocean. This method keeps the Lagoon water level at 5’ thus below the flooding height. Water export to Culvert ceases when the gage reads 3’.


The Culvert will be installed before the river mouth sandbar creates the Summer Lagoon, then it is dismantled before the Winter storms arrive. Approximately 500 cubic yards of sand will be excavated by the Main Beach for a 2’-3’ deep channel bed, which will be build in segments that are right away backfilled. The estimated Culvert construction is 2 weeks. A newly approved grant will make this pilot project a reality after further engineering details are addressed and the construction bidding is completed.

another paddler?!

“Not again!” flashed through my head as I watched the paddler coming around the bend from the river mouth direction. I had been trying to figure out the reason for waterfowl’s agitated behavior and their quick succession take off. Not being a bird, I hadn’t sensed the invisible paddler approaching unlike the flocks, who were escaping in an upstream wave motion, leaving a bird empty river behind. Wouldn’t it be ironic, if the paddler had hoped to commune with nature and was unaware that he had just blown that great chance with his activity? I took heart when the motorcycle Police Officer appeared on the levee, being sure he would deal with the no-paddling issue. Can you imagine my thoughts as the Officer slowly rode right by the paddler, never stopping and addressing him?

escaping the paddler…

This defiantly was a day for unsettling revelations! My levee compadre has to move, because his landlord, the Seaside Company, no longer accepts Section 8 vouchers. Since the Seaside Company owns quite a few Beachflat properties, many renters are effected by this decision, which is horrid considering our local housing crisis. Geez, what is with us that we can’t figure out how to create safe housing for humans and environment?

On an upbeat note: It’s exciting that Lisa Sheridan, you and I will talk about the San Lorenzo River on Steve Pleich “Voices from the Village” show. It airs Jan. 8th at 7pm on  Community TV, Comcast channel 27, also 74. See you there then, jane

2 thoughts on “San Lorenzo River revelations…

  1. Thanks for the river update! It is great to get news about new biota. FYI on enforcement of ‘no paddling’ zones…until our DA starts enforcing environmental laws like that, it won’t matter if police enforce. Next time a DA runs for office, it will be up to us to find a candidate that will expend resources for the environment.

Leave a Reply