busy river scrutiny…

Good Morning Barbara & all you Fellow Nature Admirers,

seal dreaming of annoying the OSPREY…

As you recall our Estuary Project had achieved finding new homes for native plants by the Trestle path. For the past 12 days I have been hand-watering them, tying them over until the expected rain could soak their roots better thoroughly. I was inspecting the plants when I the hovering shape appeared above me, which I wrote off as a gull, seeking river shelter from the arriving storm. Then the flash raced through my head that gulls don’t hover flapping their wings, so a closer look turned the gull into an OSPREY, scrutinizing something in the water. I assumed that it was hunting, getting ready for his lighting fast plunge to catch a fish, but he kept flying off, circle back and hover over the same spot. I was curious what was holding the OSPREY’s attention and so edged closer to the river bank. And there was a seal, watching the bird angler in the air. I figured neither one was excited sharing the fish breakfast table with the other one. The staring contest continued for a while until the seal slowly descended under the water surface and the OSPREY flew upriver.

the cause of my roller coaster emotions…

A few days later I was down at the Mike Fox Skatepark, frustrating myself with examining the damage the tent campers had done to the vegetation in that area. I am dealing with a situation that has taken me on a roller coaster ride of a wide range of emotions. The reason for my quandary is: community volunteers and houseless members of the Downtown Street Team have restored that site for months with native plants and liberated some of the overgrown, neglected naive plant survivors. We were all happy and proud of the plants for responding so well with new growth. Then the campers moved in and either cut down the plants to make a smoother sleeping surface or crushed the plants by storing their belongings on them. I have asked them to please not damage the vegetation, with the result that my request was ignored and more vegetation was damaged. Asking Rangers to help explain to the campers that they were damaging public property got me nowhere and resulted in the appearance of 2 additional tents. Now I was looking at 5 tents, the bare banks, which are eroding quickly due to lost vegetation, heavy foot traffic and the current rains. The financial $1000 loss of the plant expenses is hard to take, but what sends me through the roof is the waste of all our volunteer work, which were many hours of dedicated restoration efforts. Your last post was a heartwarming report about the dilemma of the houseless population, which is, without question, intensely horrible. I am well aware that houseless people vary just like family and neighbors: some are great to get along with and some hear a different drum. These campers hear a drum that hurts the environment, which I find hard to deal with.

migratory YELLOW-rumped WARBLER keeping an eye on me…

Yesterday there was a short rain break, which allowed for a dry river visit and watching the birds eagerly dashing around for food. The shy YELLOW-rumped WARBLER dared to come out into the open, pecking at some goodies on the path while keeping an attentive eye on me.

rain soaked PEREGRINE…

The wet PEREGRINE and RED-tailed HAWK were sitting in the Trestle trees, ignoring each other, because preening their soaked plumage took up all their beak time. 5 DOUBLE-crested CORMORANTS were taking advantage of the rain break. Perched on a cliff rock, they were spreading their wings wide open in the hope to dry them out. The river level is high and the water flows rapidly, making the AMERICAN COOTS swim sideways when they attempt to cross the river. The rain started again, sending me home enriched with river observations that feed my soul.

proposed Front St Project…

You might be interested in the public scoping/content meeting for the Front St. project, which is the 7 story high development adjacent to the river, current location of Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, India Joze’s, University Copy Service businesses. The meeting will address the environmental information to be included in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The development has received little community attention since it’s not affecting any residential neighborhood. Yet this project will impact the character of Santa Cruz as well as the river habitats.
The meeting takes place:
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 5:30p.m. at the Louden Nelson Center, Multi-purpose Room, at 301 Center Street in Santa Cruz.

Sending you river love greetings, jane

4 thoughts on “busy river scrutiny…

  1. Jane, I’m really disturbed to learn of this egregious destruction of the good work of you and your restoration group.

    This is what happens when we make decisions for humans with no regard to their environmental consequences. When we allow one segment of the population to flout the environmental rules and regulations intended to protect the non-human world, we increase already unacceptable human impacts that are rapidly diminishing biodiversity, habitats and species viability throughout Santa Cruz County, and everywhere else.

    No one gets a free pass. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their environmental impact, regardless of their economic and/or physical conditions. Those who cannot, or choose not to manage their own lives are subject to governmental intervention, for the greater good of all life, including humans.

    In Nature, there is no free ride.

    1. Hi Michael, it was really an education for me to deal w/the Mike Fox Park campers! I have interacted for years w/houseless people along the levee. Many of them know more about the habitat, wildlife than community members. I do agree that we all need to respect & protect our natural resources, which the campers refused to do. Unfortunately this environmental disregard is present in all walks of life…may that tide turn!

    2. This is precisely why society must be more proactive with helping the majority of homeless who are conducive to improvement of their situations. In our smaller Community of Felton, most of those who are able to work and procure housing eventually do so, even if it is necessary to relocate for work. Sadly, there are a few who are too mentally incapacitated to function. The sorts of services and facilities that they would have benefited from decades ago are now gone. Some of the institutions were considered to be too inhumane and too expensive back then, even though they were infinitely more humane and much less expensive that abandoning those who need such services and facilities. Addiction is a much more significant factor than it has ever been, but society is at least trying to do what it can in that regard. No one is actively deciding to be a detriment to the ecosystem. Most of the homeless are more concerned with survival. Most are unaware of the damage they cause (even though some collect huge volumes of debris because of hoarding disorder.) (In Felton, some of the homeless do more than the housed to remove trash and pollutants from riparian environments and roadways.) Realistically, as unsightly and environmentally detrimental as their lifestyles are, the homeless are less detrimental to the ecosystem than those of us who live in homes are.

  2. Poverty is no friend of the natural world. We are now forced to deal with this reality internationally, as poor countries full of people struggling for survival do some of the very things that we know are killing us. I hope that we can come around to responding with transferring wealth to support regenerative development instead of with military repression.

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