Current Newsletter - San Geronimo Valley Planning Group

January 2015
Volume 6, Issue 2
Storms of December
December brought much needed rain. According to
Inc., under
contract with
MMWD, real
time gauges on
the San
Creek recorded
a peak stage on
Dec 3rd of 6 ft
with a flow of
900 cfs at
7:15am. That
was the
morning we had thunder and lightning!
I took the photo above while standing on my
footbridge Dec 10th . A whopper of a storm rolled
in that
night. The
photo on
the left was
taken 24 hrs
later, Dec
11th at
The real
time gauges
recorded a
peak stage
of 7.7 ft and
flow of
The Kent Lake Reservoir gauge on Dec. 7 (after the
first rainstorm
rolled through)
shows the water 25’
below the spillway.
On Dec 21st Paul
Berensmeier sent
an email “I just got
back from running
up there and it is only one foot from spilling over!
The level has risen forty feet in less than a month!
Given its recent progress, it will spill over late this
afternoon or early tomorrow morning’……the
reservoir waited for Paul and Tina….“We actually
got to see the water spill over the lip of the
spillway! I've never been there at exactly that time!
The big moment occurred at 8am, Monday, Dec 22”
It’s been 4 years since the spillway had an overflow.
Reactions to Kent Lake Spillover
Balance Hydrologics, Inc.
After reading about Kent Lake ready to spill over . . .
by Jerry Feickert
“I ran many years up to SG ridge, west to Peters
dam and from the east side to the west side of the
dam without getting wet. Ok, the area in front of
the dam was leveled off so it was completely flat
and dry about a hundred yards in front of the dam.
But if the water level was up enough there would
be about a hundred yards from the east to west in
front of the dam just barely under water. This
would last only about a week, until the water would
raise to the spillway level. But for about a week or
two the level would be perfect. I would run in
front of the dam several hundred yards, in mere
inches of water. I was absolutely running on water
only inches deep, an unbelievable feeling of being
suspended on water propelled by super human
legs. I am glad the water level is up, but wish my
legs could still fly across the water. Age has
disadvantages, I would avoid getting old.”
To track in real time the height and flow of the San
Geronimo Creek, go to the public link for the
gaging site:
River Otter at Cronin Viewing
Salmon Update
Supervisor Kinsey receives note and photo from
constituent and passes it
Hi Steve,
Otters eating salmon at the
Leo T. Cronin fish viewing
area from Jim Slack. Thought
you'd enjoy seeing these.
Photo credit: Susie Kelley
While Otters are a wonderful sign of a healthy
environment the news
on this year’s Salmon
run is NOT GOOD
December 5, 2014
looked so promising –
rain and fish! But as
time went on, despite
some good storms the
fish simply weren’t
returning home. Here’s
a summary of the season
with info from aquatic
ecologist Eric Ettlinger of
MMWD, Todd Steiner of
SPAWN and the IJ.
Planning Group,
In the natural world, we
aren’t the only ones who are
glad that the Salmon are
returning to the creeks.
Reminder: If you spot a river otter be sure to log in
the sighting with The River Otter Ecology Project
Under the tab Otter Spotter,
As Mark Woyshner, Senior Consultant points out,
‘there are several stations in Marin. All the data on
these sites are real time; meaning the data
collection is automated and not verified. The data
are posted for convenience and (like all real-time
data) very likely have errors and inaccuracies until
calibrated. We do not post any final data to the
real-time websites. We verify, summarize the data
and submit a gaging report to MMWD each year.’
The rain gauge in Lagunitas is not operational.
SGVPG is providing support to help rectify the
situation and hoping to get the rain gauge back
online soon.
December 5, 2014
From: Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic ecologist, MMWD
We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks on
Lagunitas Creek with lots of both rain and fish. In
that time we’ve received over eight inches of rain
and Lagunitas Creek flows increased from 20 cubic
feet per second to a peak of 1,800 cfs. During a
break in the rain on Monday we observed 63 coho,
28 Chinook, and one a chum salmon. The stats for
the season so far include:
117 coho, 74 Chinook, and two chum salmon
24 coho redds (gravel nests), 20 Chinook
redds, one chum redd, and nine redds we couldn’t
Our coho observations are far above average for
this early in December and we’ve already seen the
second-highest number of Chinook recorded for
the creek. Today we observed salmon jumping
through Roy’s Pools (at the western edge of the
San Geronimo Golf Course), at The Inkwells (the
confluence of San Geronimo and Lagunitas Creeks),
and spawning at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing
December 16, 2014
Eric Ettlinger, MMWD Aquatic Ecollogist
The third week of December is typically the midpoint of the coho spawning run on Lagunitas Creek.
With five weeks of surveys behind us, how do I feel
about this year’s coho run? In a word, disappointed.
To date we’ve seen 51 coho redds, which is
somewhat below average, and predicts a season
total in the neighborhood of 150 redds. That total
would rank in the bottom third of runs over the last
18 years, in a year when abundant rain has allowed
coho to spawn wherever and whenever they want,
unlike some past years. It may be that this week will
mark a sharp upswing in coho spawning activity,
but for now things don’t look encouraging.
December 25, 2014
from the IJ
What started off as a boon has turned into a bust
for Marin's endangered coho salmon.
Copious amounts of rain in late November and
early December brought more than 100 fish into
Marin, and scientists were hoping for a bumper
crop of the species that has been in a steep decline.
But despite the continuing rains, the number of fish
returning from the sea has flattened and it looks to
be a poor year for the coho."What looked to be a
great start didn't ramp up like we were hoping,"
said Eric Ettlinger, aquatic ecologist for the Marin
Municipal Water District, which manages much of
Mount Tamalpais. "It's looking pretty mediocre."
The most recent counts show 51 coho redds — or
egg nests — which is below average, and predicts a
season total in the neighborhood of 150 redds.
That total would rank in the bottom third of runs
over the last 18 years, in a year when abundant rain
has allowed coho to spawn wherever and whenever
they want, unlike some past years, Ettlinger noted.
MMWD has recorded more than 31 inches of rain
since July 1. The average is 16 inches, and last year
at this time only 3.79 inches of rain had fallen.
Coho will continue to come in, but for now, "things
don't look encouraging," Ettlinger said. Todd
Steiner, who heads West Marin-based Salmon
Protection and Watershed Network, said the
numbers of coho in the waterways his group
monitors are also poor with a total of 12 fish seen
in Arroyo Creek and Woodacre Creek and none in
any other. "This is usually the peak right now,"
Steiner said. "This is another bad year in a series of
bad years. The species is on the "verge of
extinction" he said, noting the target number for a
recovery is to see 2,600 fish in Marin's system. The
most seen since 2000 was 625 in the winter of
On a positive note, there are large numbers of
chinook salmon being seen in Lagunitas Creek,
about 22 chinook redds at last count, which
matches the pace of a big Chinook run of 2004-05,
when 125 Chinook and 44 redds were seen. The
chinook have been listed as "threatened" under the
U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1999, according
to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
American Dipper in Lagunitas
As you might remember, we reported last month
that on Thanksgiving weekend the Ink Wells
became a mecca for Birders from all over the
Northbay who toted cameras with long powerful
lenses hoping (some successful) to capture shots of
an American Dipper, a rare bird who is able to swim
under fast moving water while seeking larvae to
eat. Well this lovely little bird has taken up
residence in Lagunitas and can often be found
‘dipping’ into the creek. The bird is easy to spot
because of its unique bouncing action at the
water’s edge and on rocks in the creek. Then this
intrepid little bird will jump into the rushing water
and pop out a few feet away defying the current.
Marin County Climate Action Plan* 2014 Update
Editor’s note: The following information confirms
that our Supervisors are not only taking climate
change seriously but are ahead of the game. Read
on . . .
The County of Marin (County) acknowledges the
consensus among leading scientists that without
action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
climate change due to global warming will pose a
considerable threat to the environment and to
human health and society. Marin County was one
of the first counties in California to take formal
action addressing GHG emissions when it adopted
the Marin County Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan
in 2006 (2006 GHG Reduction Plan). Measures
identified in the GHG Reduction Plan were then
incorporated into the Marin Countywide Plan
update which was adopted in 2007.
The 2006 GHG Reduction Plan set a target to
reduce GHG emissions from both community and
municipal activities in the unincorporated areas of
Marin County by at least 15% below 1990 levels by
2020. The County government and private sector
have invested heavily in energy efficiency,
renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, water
conservation, and waste minimization to reduce
GHG emissions substantially. By 2012, the County
had already reduced community emissions to 15%
below 1990 levels
— 8 years ahead of the 2020 target.
This document builds on the 2006 GHG Reduction
Plan and provides an update of GHG emissions in
2012, forecasts of emissions for 2020, and an
assessment of actions that the County will take to
further reduce emissions by 2020. The CAP Update
includes two targets:
2020 Community Emissions Reduction Target — a
goal to reduce GHG emissions from community
activities in the unincorporated areas of Marin
County by at least 30% below 1990 levels by 2020.
This target is more than the 2006 GHG Reduction
Plan target and more ambitious than the state’s
goals in Assembly Bill (AB) 32, which commits to
reducing statewide GHG emissions to 1990 levels
by 2020.
California Executive Order S-03-05, which was
issued in 2005, articulates a long - term goal for the
state of 80% below 1990 emissions levels by 2050.
If adopted, the County’s target of 30% below 1990
levels by 2020 would be one of the most ambitious
local jurisdiction reduction targets in California and
the United States. Because the County is already
ahead of their 2006 community target for 2020
Marin is now adopting a more aggressive
community target in the CAP Update to achieve
even greater reductions than previously planned in
an attempt to get ahead of the curve and be ontrack to meet the S-03-05 statewide target for 2050.
2020 Municipal Emissions Reduction Target — a
goal to reduce GHG emissions from the County’s
municipal activities by at least 15% below 1990
levels by 2020. This target is consistent with the
2006 GHG Reduction Plan target. Because the
County is on-track to meet the original 2006
municipal target for 2020, Marin is retaining the
same target for the CAP Update. The proposed
new community emissions target would put the
County on the forefront of climate action planning
in California, and put the County on a trajectory to
reduce emissions significantly by the year 2050.
The 2014 draft plan update can be accessed at
* The above was taken from the Introduction of the 2-014
draft plan update.
In mid-afternoon on Sunday, January 4, 2014,the
corpse of a freshly killed, small, male coyote was
discovered by a property owner in the middle of
Montezuma Creek in Forest Knolls. He had an
arrow through his body, the sharp end protruding
downward, out of his belly about 10”, as if shot
from above. It appears that someone on the creek
bank shot downward to hit it. It was all very
gruesome and sad. The Planning Group and many
Valley residents do not condone this kind of
behavior. Our job is to respect and protect our
wildlife neighbors. For info on coexisting with
coyotes see:
If anyone has any information about this terrible
incident please contact the Marin Humane Society
or one of the Planning Group’s Forest Knolls
Steering Committee Representatives: Fred Mundy
[email protected] or Dan McKenna
[email protected] or Paul Berensmeier
[email protected]. Your name will be kept
Golden Gate Bridge Closure
The Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to vehicle
traffic the second weekend of January 2015. The
roadway will be closed starting at 12:01am on
Saturday, January 10* and will reopen at 4:00 am on
Monday, January 12. The Bridge will be closed to
install a moveable median barrier which will provide
a safer and more efficient system of separating
opposing lanes of traffic.
* Pay attention! 12:01am Saturday is one minute
after midnight FRIDAY!
Date: Jan. 12 – Jan. 31
Location: Do you live in Lagunitas at 180 East
Cintura Ave., 6790 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. or 105
Rosario? Pay attention! PG&E will be upgrading a
power pole in your community. To ensure public
safety around the poles and work areas they will
post “No Parking” signs at least 72 hours in
advance of the project start. They may also
temporarily close some nearby roads, trails or
public spaces.
What you can expect: You may see PG&E crews
with equipment, including bucket trucks and a
crane that will be used to move the electric
distribution power lines to the new pole. This
equipment may require traffic to be routed around
the work areas and you may experience minor
For info: Contact Customer Outreach Specialist,
Linda Clifton 707-577-7218.
That cold stagnant air you’re feeling is because a
high pressure system continues to sit over Marin
and the Valley. And no wind means smoke that can
cause poor air
quality that
impacts our
health. On
January 6, the
Bay Area Air
District issued
its 6th
Spare the Air
Alert which
makes it illegal
to burn wood
in the
wood stoves or in any other wood burning device.
Wood burning stoves in the San Geronimo Valley
owned by residents who do not have any other
source of heat has been exempted. Try explaining
that to the neighbor who has asthma or a lung
condition that is seriously aggravated by wood
smoke. (Photo taken from top of Whites Hill
looking out over Woodacre on12-28-14, a no burn
By Jean Berensmeier
Plenty of rain has fallen! But nobody is fooled. Last
year was the third driest year on record behind only
1924 and 1977. It was also the warmest year on
record. In Lagunitas our family owns and uses the
spring that once fed all the homes in Lagunitas
before MMWD took over and returned all the
Valley springs to the property owners. We’ve
enjoyed delicious spring water for over 50 years.
This year was the first time it ran dry. What a
shock! We’d hoped the recent rains would help but
they haven’t. At the request of MMWD Marin folks
have voluntarily cut their water use. A good sign
but despite full reservoirs we will need to continue
to conserve. We’ll keep you informed of the
MMWD Directors actions to keep on top of this
Valley Observations
Coyote in downtown Woodacre by Eric Morey
“I saw a medium-sized coyote casually wandering
across San Geronimo Valley
Drive at Park Avenue on Wednesday, December
24th at 2:30 PM. S/he wasn't
fazed at all by the passing cars and then
disappeared into the creek.”
From Woodacre artist Griffe Griffiths
I AM REJOICING . . . I have a new friend . . .. actually
I have two . . . 2 Crows greet me in the morning as I
walk my dog Betsy and they follow me all the way
up Railroad around and down Central . . . cawing at
me to give them a treat. I save any stale bread and
they get it . . . I have seen the Coyote again at the
bottom of Hill Ave and Central Ave. . . . he / she
gives me the look . . . I salute this wild animal . . . we
do look at one another and would like to think he /
she is giving me a nod as a fellow creature as we go
along our life's path . . . Salmon I love it . . .Have
yet to see or hear any action behind my house yet .
Salmon news from Anne Faught of Woodacre
“I saw an enormous coho right behind my property
on Railroad about 10 days ago, the biggest one I
have seen in 34 years of living here. I saw what
looked like a long steelhead (but was probably a
chinook) farther up, almost to Carson. Down by the
Park Street bridge between Railroad and Redwood I
have seen coho on three occasions last week. They
were spawning in the gravel almost out of sight but
I walked up the road and watched them with my
binoculars. I saw another really large one, old with
a lot of white on fins and then five others viewed a
week apart. Thrilled!!”
Found in Lagunitas
Internet research shows this to be Clathrus ruber
(Red Cage) mushroom. It fruits from a white scaly
egg with a large, often red, cage like body.
Stinkhorn-like in that it has a stinky slime that
appears inside the cage which attracts flys. The flys
distribute the mushrooms seeds.
• Co-Editors: Linda Nave and Jean Berensmeier,
• Proofreader: Barbara Ures
-Email Technician: Eric Morey
• Newsletter Contributors: SC members;
Chairpersons, PG members and Valley submissions.
• Suggestions, and Valley Observations are
Send to Co - Editors Linda Nave
[email protected] or Jean Berensmeier,
[email protected]
Found this jaunty mushroom while hiking on
Whites Hill. The Woodland Fairy had been lost on
the trail, a bit of frost on her wings. I tucked her in
my pocket. After she warmed up she graciously
agreed to pose. Of course, we all know the rule of
magic is ‘catch and release’. Watch for her on your
next hike!
February Newsletter submissions due Jan 29, 2015
Please urge a friend or neighbor to join us.
____ $15 Single ____ $25 Family ____ $0 Over 65
Request a membership form: [email protected]
Make your check out to SGVPG and mail to:
P. O. Box 57, Forest Knolls, CA 94933
Little Store
The Little Store in Forest Knolls is under new
ownership. The community invited Hector Bezanis,
to our December meeting. He brought his portfolio
showing the amazing wood work he does for a
living. Everyone enjoyed meeting him and all
believe he is an important addition to our
The mural on the park side of the building was
discussed. Dave Cort knew the story. Hector noted
that the mural is wonderful, but he’d like to restore
that side of the building putting back the windows
that were there historically. The group present that
night thought it would be fun to get all the kids
(now grown) who originally painted the mural
together and celebrate with photos of the artists in
front of the mural. After Hector completes the
restoration he is open to the idea of a new mural.
This community mural project could use an
industrious person at the helm. Hector notes that
nothing is going to happen too quickly. So think
about it….
* “This is the last place. There is nowhere else to
go.” - Lou
This line, always at the top of our agenda, is an
excerpt taken from a poem by Lou Welch that was
included in the extraordinary document “Can the
Last Place Last?” which, in the late ‘60’s laid the
ground work for the unique County Wide Plan that
was adopted in1972 and created zoning, policies,
codes & regulations that has served to preserve
major parts of Marin from inappropriate