Good Morning Barbara,
I survived the grueling maze of the DEIR for the Downtown Recovery Plan and sent off my comments. I noticed that the Santa Cruz Bird Club concerns for the San Lorenzo River bird population had received some Mitigation Measures attention. Of course I thought the DEIR findings should have addressed the riparian corridor has a complex environment with its biodiverse microclimate ecosystems that interact with the others. Therefore it stands to reason that any impact on one ecosystem effects the others. Instead the Front St. river stretch was removed from its riparian interactive relationship and floated isolated through the DEIR.
So on Friday morning I decided to air out my DEIR soaked brain and go to the ocean, where the stunning absence of birds on the water and in the air surprised me. I saw a few gulls, but didn’t spot any of the usual ocean suspects like the TERNS, PELICANS, CORMORANTS. I went to check on the river mouth, where a dozen gulls were hanging out without any of their customary comrades such as MALLARDS, MERGANSERS, PIED-billed GREBES, CORMORANTS. The vegetation on the bank had no birds flitting through them. Let me tell you that I don’t like such a bird void. It’s creepy!
Thinking that the river would offer some normalcy, I headed for my levee walk. That was a wrong assumption. More perplexities were eager to meet me: the Coyote bushes were blooming and Poppies were birthing new seedlings.
Both plants are supposed to do their deed in spring instead of early fall. This out-of season quirk is making me nervous, because these plants offer early spring food to Birds and Bees. This wasn’t the end of oddities: although I was tickled to finally see 2 CORMORANTS in the river, I was dumbfounded by their behavior. One was circling around the other while showing off what a stunning stick it had it had retrieved. The fine achievement was eyed curiously, which was the cue for the finder to fly off with the stick in tow. I have seen this behavior in the spring breeding season, but not in the early fall. Then 2 KILLDEER were performing their catch-me-if you-can mating dance by the Riverside Ave. bridge while a CLIFF SWALLOW was peeking out of a nest. Now the question is: Did I happen to see a few peculiar Nature flukes or is something else going on?
Your superb Flood Control report offered such an in-depth insight of all the toils ups and downs. I rejoiced what all your hard work has achieved: a better method for the vegetation removal. So you can imagine that I am keen to hear more details about the grievous occurrence that happened next.
Here is my promised ‘bankfull’ update: The City has secured funding to create a ‘bankfull channel’ between Highway 1 and Water St. bridge. The work doesn’t technically qualify as ‘dredging’. This article sums up the background and details. My research about pros and cons for ‘bankfull channels’ has left me in the dark and it’s time to locate an expert.
I just love my little native survivors! After my failed rescue attempt, resulting in their heartbreaking July mow down, they are struggling back. The Wild-rose, Coyote bush and Yarrow are shyly reappearing and I am not giving up on saving them from the mower.
I am excited about our Sept. 19th radio interview with Bruce Bratton on KZSC.org from 7pm-7:30pm. We’ll have fun talking about our San Lorenzo River….till then, jane