Good Morning Dear River Friends,
Spring is decorating the river flora with a wide variety of green hues. Nature has this magic touch of making sure that the perfect green appears to emphasize the plant’s blossom color. In the last 10 days my river visits have been sparse, because various San Lorenzo River topics were Zoom flowing through my life. Although I miss my physical river big time I take heart that I was still engaged with the river. You probably you have heard about the proposed Ordinance Amendment for regulating temporary Outdoor Living. It is on to-day’s City Council agenda. As you know I strongly care for the houseless Downtown Street Team(DST) members and the river ecosystems. And since I interact with both I have a different perspective than the people, who are barely familiar with either houseless individuals or the river vegetation.
The one thing I learned is that the houseless population is as diverse as any other human group. Unfortunately the bad apples catch our attention and become the yard stick for the rest. It’s a fact that I have confrontations with houseless campers, who have destroyed newly housed native plants and/or cut tree branches. The other fact is that I also have had those interactions with neighbors over illegally removing mature trees during nesting season. I have worked with DST members, who knew more about the river habitats than some of my dear friends. I do know that a safe setting takes a lot of anxiety out of a houseless person’s life and that the bad apples do irreparable environment damage. So my wish is that the City and County can find a solution for a safe location that prevents environment damages.
And then there was the levee lights topic with its potential night light pollution impact. It was very informative to share a meeting with the Santa Cruz Group of International Dark-sky Association(IDA). My main concern was to get the best wildlife friendly lighting, because artificial night light impacts the hunting of the nocturnal owls and bats, including the raptors, who are twilight hunters. There is this additional topic of interest: The CA Coastal Commission received an Appeal for the proposed 81 feet high Front Street/Riverfront project. You can e-mail your comments with the subject line A-3-STC-21-0013 Riverfront Mixed-Use Building to the CA Coastal Commission by March 5th 2021 at CentralCoast@coastal.ca.gov
It was especially wonderful to work with DST crew and my friend at the Mike Fox Park. It was a welcome highlight during my river visit drought. The City’s COVID guidelines require that our volunteer groups remain small. That group size reduction didn’t hold us back from having a good time planting 16 native plants in less than 2 hours. If you would watch us work together then you would notice the easy flow of our camaraderie. Who knows maybe one day you join us~
Previously I have mentioned that the river water level is so low. Nothing has changed. Now you can watch the waterfowl walk across the river to reach the swimming depths. There are a few stretches that allow the Mallards to swim and dive for their food goodies. I see the OSPREY circling over the river and refraining from diving, knowing full well that the shallow water would break her neck. The KINGFISHER’s hunting perches are now reduced to a small set of willows that hang over a deeper water section. Mary, a DST member, was telling me that she kept her eyes open for the KILLDEERS, who favor wide shoreline areas. Actually I have been expecting to see more shoreline birds along the low water line. Maybe they will arrive when I return to my usual river walking…In the meantime my eyes are feasting on the great number of picturesque SNOWY EGRETS, who are adorning the banks. Sending you happy spring chirps~ jane