<![CDATA[SGERC - News and Events]]>Mon, 14 Jun 2021 05:22:53 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Go With the Flow! Barriers to Fish Passage]]>Sun, 02 May 2021 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/go-with-the-flow-barriers-to-fish-passage Picture
This is the season Steelhead (and hopefully Coho) swim upstream to the reach where they spawned so they can create a new generation of fish. Nature has a wonderful way of keeping the streams flowing and clear of debris so this cycle continues. Unfortunately, the cycle can be disrupted by a variety of events. Sometimes weak winter storm flows aren’t strong enough to clear fallen trees or branches and create a passage. Other times human beings interfere with the natural process.

It’s a time-honored tradition for young folks to play in the creek; skip stones, wade in the water, swim in the pools, and build dams. Thankfully most of these activities are not too disruptive to the ecosystem, but creating and leaving dams or obstructions in the flow are extremely harmful. This is especially true in “low flow” situations such as we’re experiencing this year. There’s hardly enough water in many places for these beautiful 20” – 24” fish to struggle upstream from the ocean to their birthplace, and they can be completely stopped by any barriers.

Artificial dams have been a recurring issue in the stretch of La Honda Creek flowing past the Playbowl area. It’s not surprising this is a popular place to play and hang out. It’s a natural get-away for adults and youngsters alike. The volunteers from SGERC (San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center) that monitor the stream systems in the San Gregorio watershed have often had to break up artificial dams in the flow which can be just an inch or two deep some years. We’d like to get the word out to parents and young people about the importance of keeping the flow going! If you move rocks around in the stream (not a great idea for many reasons), be sure to remove any barriers before you leave the area.

This is a great opportunity to enlighten your friends, students, neighbors, and children about how they can help keep our environment healthy, and how innocent actions can sometimes create a significant threat to our wildlife.

With gratitude from the fish and the community volunteers of SGERC.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, May 2021.)

<![CDATA[The Pampas Fighters are Back]]>Sat, 31 Oct 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/the-pampas-fighters-are-back Picture
After a nearly three year hiatus, our team of intrepid volunteers gathered in Cuesta La Honda to tackle new and old pampas/jubata grass plants. Evidence of the heroic work this group has done is the absence of hundreds of plants along Highway 84, Stage Rd and in Cuesta. Not that plants haven’t crept up here and there, but with many people alert to the baby plants as they sprout up, they are quickly removed. There are still a number of plants on private property that continue to bloom, but we have managed to control the roadways and public areas.

This year it was time to revisit La Honda proper, and the several hotspots known to us from previous years. A scouting trip was planned to take inventory and develop a game plan. We re-affirmed our permission to remove or control plants on Guild property and spoke with several landowners for their permission. Though this grass is considered a beautiful ornamental by many (myself included), there are other varieties available that are not invasive and equally beautiful. Workdays were scheduled for mid-October and early November.

This was a little late in the season to tackle the plants as seeds were already starting to fly off and disperse. Careful handling of the flowers kept distribution to a minimum as the plumes were bagged. The rest of the foliage was trimmed with a hedge trimmer and pick-axes were used to dig up and overturn the shallow root ball.

More than 30 plants were removed, and plumes removed from half a dozen more. Some plants are so large and difficult to reach it can be a multi-year project to remove them entirely. One strategy is to control the seeds each year in the fall until the plants either die or are removed. Another strategy is to return to the plants every month or two and keep all new growth trimmed away. The plants eventually give up. This is particularly effective on steep slopes and areas where erosion is an issue and removal of the plants could cause problems. The plants don’t flower, but the roots remain in the soil holding things together.

If you are interested in joining us on future adventures, or would like info about non-invasive ornamental grasses, please contact Neil Panton at (650) 726-2499 or npanton@earthlink.net.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2020.)

<![CDATA[“San Gregorio Starfish” – group cleanup name]]>Thu, 03 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/san-gregorio-starfish-group-cleanup-name Picture
It’s a little incongruous to think about litter removal in the midst of a pandemic following a frightening wildfire evacuation, but it might bring a little normalcy back to your life. As the air quality continues to improve, it might be good to get outdoors and participate in this year’s “any day in September” cleanup event. Please monitor AirNow or PurpleAir before going outside for extended periods.

Rather than gather in a large group, cleanup will be all of September and utilize the CleanSwell app to log and submit data. Clean up around your house, your neighborhood, or a nearby trail or park. Pretty simple. It’s a cool app, and can be used all year long to help the Ocean Conservancy track trends in litter. The information helps their efforts to bring available resources and funding to the most critical areas.

Check out the short video for Coastal Cleanup 2020 - https://youtu.be/-Zg7AfmIesI, and register with me (your local team captain) using this link: https://www.smchealth.org/general-information/coastal-cleanup-day

Next, download the CleanSwell app to get started. It's fun and easy to use. Create an account and use the group name “San Gregorio Starfish” to keep our data together in the database. When done with your cleanup, be sure to hit “Submit” so the data will be uploaded to the Ocean Conservancy. You do not need to have wifi or cell connection at the time, the data will be uploaded automatically once you’re within wifi or cell range.

It’s easiest to go out in pairs – one person picking up litter, the other doing the logging. It’s a great activity for families. If you‘d like help with the CleanSwell app or need supplies or trash pickup, contact me: Neil Panton; sgerc@sanmateo.org or by phone (650) 726-2499.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, September 2020.)

<![CDATA[Local Cleanup in September]]>Sat, 01 Aug 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/local-cleanup-in-septemberSafe and Local
At Coastal Cleanup Day, a child playing in collapsible collection bin smiles and gives the peace sign.
September marks the 36th annual California Coastal Cleanup. This year, rather than meeting up at public events throughout the state on a single date, cleanups will happen throughout the month. Clean up any day and time that works for you.

Cleanups will be self-guided and close to home. Local parks, shores, creeks, streets, sidewalks, drainage areas, natural areas, and trails are good choices. Participants must practice physical distancing and strictly follow both local ordinances and the set of guidelines provided on the California Coastal Commission website. Safety first! 

Although the cleanup model will be different in 2020, it will still be an effective, educational, community-building event. Trash within our neighborhoods will become the trash polluting our coast once the rains come.

CleanSwell App and Data Keeping

Download CleanSwell Here

We need your help to record your participation and your diligence to collect data on all litter you remove. Data will be collected primarily through the CleanSwell app for smartphones, or you can download the paper data card: English/Spanish. Please count every piece of trash you collect! Reporting thoroughly and accurately will help put together a more complete picture of Coastal Cleanup 2020. For help downloading or using the CleanSwell app, contact our local coordinator, Neil Panton.

Connecting with your Coordinator

Neil Panton will be your Local Coordinator and your contact for learning about local conditions and how to report results. Neil can help you with the CleanSwell app, arrangements for any supplies you may need (trash bags, gloves, etc.), and retrieval of trash in case you collect too much to handle in your regular trash. He may also have suggestions for some hotspots that need attention. Contact Neil at sgerc@sanmateo.org  or call (650) 726-2499.

Since the CleanSwell app is a new addition this year, a primer on its use will be in next month’s Voice. It’s very handy and easy to use and can be used all year long whenever you do a cleanup!
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, August 2020.)
<![CDATA[Coastal Cleanup Day – A New Approach]]>Tue, 30 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/coastal-cleanup-day-a-new-approach Trash collected at Beach Cleanup: Karl holds broken umbrella over Rita, holding her hand out like it's raining.
Due to COVID-19 and important safety protocols that will likely be in effect in September, there will be significant changes to Coastal Cleanup Day to protect us while we protect the environment.

Dates: The event will be held every Saturday in September from 9 a.m. - Noon.

September 5th | September 12th | September 19th | September 26th 

Cleanup Locations: Volunteers will be encouraged to clean up their own neighborhood, or visit select litter "hot spots" outside of a volunteer's neighborhood identified by captains, and assigned to a limited number of households and/or families to prevent large gatherings. San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) will again be the local sponsor, and the captain will be Neil Panton.

Materials & Data:
  • Bag and hardcopy paper supplies provided will be significantly reduced this year. 
  • Environmental Health Services is encouraging households to reuse reusable durable plastic bags provided by stores, and other bags provided by retailers to pick up litter. 
  • Gloves will still be provided and are encouraged now more than ever to protect volunteers that participate this year. 
  • Data will be reported electronically through the Clean Swell mobile application.
  • Waivers will either be electronic or eliminated. 
  • Stay tuned for more information in August when additional details are finalized.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, June 2020.)

<![CDATA[Coastal Cleanup Day on Sep 21]]>Sat, 28 Sep 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/coastal-cleanup-day-on-sep-21 Looking south over San Gregorio Creek lagoon breach, with waves of ocean water flowing into the lagoon.
Coastal Cleanup Day this year is Saturday, September 21st 2019, 9am-Noon. SGERC will again sponsor the cleanup at San Gregorio State Beach. We expect to remove many pounds of trash and recyclables from the beach, picnic, and parking areas.

After a brief orientation, volunteers collect debris and record the trash picked up. Data collected from these events guide efforts to reduce trash and their impacts on the environment. Picking up the trash... well, you immediately see the difference!

Parking for volunteers is free at San Gregorio State Beach. Plan on joining us! More information at SMChealth.org/CCD or at sgerc@sanmateo.org.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, September 2019.)

<![CDATA[Beach Cleanup July 13th in San Gregorio]]>Mon, 01 Jul 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/beach-cleanup-july-13th-in-san-gregorio Group of SGERC volunteers smiling and presenting many buckets and bags full of trash collected at beach cleanup.
Join us for beach cleanup at San Gregorio State Beach Saturday, July 13th from 9-11am. Bring your own bucket and gloves, or we can provide if you prefer. Dressing in layers is recommended, and bring sturdy shoes or rubber boots. Everyone who participates in this event leaves with a big smile on their face. It's great for young and old. Parking is free for all volunteers. Help keep our beach beautiful!!

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, July 2019.)

<![CDATA[San Gregorio Beach Cleanup Sat. April 27th]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/san-gregorio-beach-cleanup-sat-april-27th Child volunteer smiles and gives the peace sign from inside a cloth pop-up trash bin, laying on the ground.
Saturday, April 27th from 9am-12 will be a cleanup day at San Gregorio State Beach. Join your friends and neighbors, bring your kids, and play a part in keeping our beautiful area beautiful! Parking is free for volunteers, and SGERC (San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center) will sort all the trash and recyclables. Bring re-usable buckets and gloves, dress in layers and bring sunglasses and sunscreen just in case! We'll have extra garbage bags and gloves for anyone who needs them.

This is always a fun event and provides instant gratification.  SGERC, in partnership with State Parks, will hold cleanup events each year in May, July and September as part of the Adopt-A-Beach program. We look forward to seeing you there!

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, April 2019.)

<![CDATA[SGERC Adopts San Gregorio State Beach!]]>Sat, 29 Sep 2018 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/sgerc-adopts-san-gregorio-state-beach Group of young female volunteers smiling with gloves on and holding buckets, in front of SGERC check-in tent at beach cleanup..
San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) has officially adopted San Gregorio State Beach through the Adopt-A-Beach program. SGERC will hold three cleanup events each year and promote awareness of the benefits of a healthy beach and marine environment. SGERC has been site captain for the annual Coastal Cleanup Day for more than a decade, and continued the tradition this year with a hugely successful cleanup of the beach and surrounding area this September.

More than 30 people participated in San Gregorio’s cleanup, which brought in 79 pounds of trash, 14 pounds of recyclables, and 20 tires! One individual deserves extra EXTRA credit for arranging for these tires to be brought up from the beach just north of San Gregorio. In San Mateo County, 4,920 volunteers picked up 27,813 lbs of trash and 4,534 lbs of recyclables. In California, preliminary results show more than 53,000 people volunteered, picking up 698,931 lbs of trash and 35,674 lbs of recyclables!

Most unusual items found in San Mateo County include a marijuana chocolate bar, a Jimmy Buffet book, an Apple laptop, a bag full of knee and leg braces, and 21,000 cigarette butts picked up by the Pacifica Beach Coalition. Most unusual items in the state; in Marin County a volunteer found a painting of a marsh, in a marsh. In Los Angeles County a volunteer found a Coca-Cola can from 1963.

On the one hand, it’s too bad this much litter is left behind, but on the other hand volunteers enjoy the rewards and immediate results of their efforts to keep our beaches and landscape healthy and beautiful. Consider volunteering at one of SGERC’s future beach cleanups. The next will be in April 2019 to celebrate Earth Day, and another will follow the 4thof July weekend. Watch their website for more information on cleanup events.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, September 2018.)

<![CDATA[Sept. 15 Cleanup Day, San G. State Beach!]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 07:00:00 GMThttp://sgerc.org/news-and-events/sept-15-coastal-cleanup-day-san-g-state-beach
Join us Saturday, September 15th 9am - 12noon at San Gregorio State Beach to help clean up our local beach. Each year volunteers remove hundreds of pounds of trash and recyclables.
Parking has always been free for cleanup volunteers. Bring sturdy shoes or boots, layered clothing, sunscreen, and the whole family!  We encourage plastic buckets, reusable water bottles, and heavy gloves for cleanup, but we'll have plenty of supplies on hand.

There are additional cleanup locations along the coast and inland.  Visit smc health (https://www.smchealth.org/general-information/coastal-and-bay-cleanup-day) to find more information about the event and cleanup sites.

San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) is proud to have been site captain for cleanup at the beach since 2003. SGERC has also assisted in cleanup efforts at Pomponio and Tunitas Creeks. The organization adopts a stretch of highway on Hwy 84, keeping that area clear of trash since 2007. SGERC has also been removing invasive plants such as pampas/jubata grass and stinkwort since 2016. To find out more about SGERC, call their office at (650) 726-2499, or visit their website sgerc.org.

(Also published in The La Honda Voice, August 2018.)