San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) invites you to join us at San Gregorio State Beach on Coastal Cleanup Day, September 16th from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. This is an annual event sponsored by the California Coastal Commission.
Also visit the beautiful new interpretative panel installed at the beach near the picnic area. This panel describes how artificial breaching of the lagoon affects wildlife, and introduces you to a number of the fish and birds that live in this important habitat. We’ll be on hand to provide information about the lagoon and sandbar, and how to help keep this environment healthy.
SGERC sponsored this interpretative panel, installed with the help of our local office of California State Parks. If you are interested in helping offset the cost of this panel, or any of our programs, you can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting our website: www.sgerc.org (Tax ID # 94-3083465), or donate at this event. Our activities include a monthly stream monitoring program at several locations in the watershed (now in its 17th year), a watershed education program with local schools that is just beginning, Adopt-a-Highway litter removal on Hwy. 84, and pampas/jubata grass removal throughout La Honda and San Gregorio.
If you are interested in participating in any of these projects, or would like to propose further projects which enhance the health of the local watershed. Please send an email with your contact detail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Coastal Cleanup Day, tons of trash and recyclables are removed from beaches, streams, parks, schools, and other areas across California with the help of community volunteers. Last year in San Mateo County, 4,145 volunteers picked up more than 22,000 pounds of trash and nearly 4,000 pounds of recyclables. The most common items are cigarette butts and tobacco products, food wrappers, paper and plastic bags, glass and plastic bottles, beverage cans, and construction materials. SGERC will have all the necessary supplies including reusable gloves and buckets. If you like, bring your own sturdy gloves and bucket to help reduce waste from the event. Wear sturdy shoes and dress in layers since the weather can be unpredictable. We will have refreshments for volunteers.
Children welcome! We look forward to seeing you at the beach!
More info at:
https://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/cleanup/ - /map
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, August 2017.)
It’s hard to see what’s not there! As you drive along our coast, it’s easy to see Jubata/Pampas grass taking over hillsides and ranges. What’s harder to see is when it’s NOT there. Look along La Honda Rd. between the coast and La Honda. Also look along Stage Rd. between the General Store and Highway 1. You will not see Jubata/Pampas grass growing along the roadway (except for a few unsafe to reach).
That’s due to the efforts of the “Kick Pampass” team, a dedicated bunch of volunteers in the community interested in keeping invasive grasses from taking over San Gregorio Valley. The spread had become all too evident, particularly along Stage Rd., where over 430 plants were recently removed. On Hwy. 84 between La Honda and San Gregorio nearly 100 plants have been removed. On private property in Cuesta, La Honda and San Gregorio more than 100 plants have been removed. This was done entirely using manual methods, no herbicides.
Most would agree these are beautiful ornamental grasses. Pampasgrass from South America was sold in nurseries for decades. Without nearby male plants, female pampas can be kept under control. Jubata grass, on the other hand, spreads like crazy on it’s own. This is the grass that predominantly populates the coast from San Diego northward. It’s an invasive opportunist, crowds out native plants, and affects the ecology and wildlife that depend on native species.
There are alternatives! Check out ornamental grasses at Yerba Buena Nursery or California Invasive Plant Council web sites, or search for non-invasive ornamental grass:
What can you do? The next phase for our Kick Pampass team will be to help landowners interested in removing plants from their property. If you have plants you‘d like removed, or have interested neighbors, feel free to contact us. In addition, this is the time of year that tall seed heads develop. If you see plants we've missed, please let us know. You may want to join us! You can reach Neil at: (650) 726-2499 or email@example.com.
Many thanks to our hard-working Pampass team: Liz, Gary, Ellen, Denis, Jane, Ellen, Hilary, Sasha, George and Neil – plus the many landowners who have allowed access to their properties or taken steps to eliminate the plants themselves! We also thank Cuesta La Honda, Caltrans, State Parks and the County of San Mateo for permission to remove plants on their property or right-of-ways.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2016.)
Volunteers wanted to remove Pampas & Jubata Grass from our San Gregorio Valley.
Let’s control these grasses so they won’t spread as they have in Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, and along the coast. SGERC has received permission from Caltrans to control and remove invasive Pampas and Jubata grass along Hwy. 84 between Hwy. 1 and La Honda. If you’re interested in helping with this project, please contact Neil Panton, (650) 854-8038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We use manual methods, no chemicals. We plan to clear the Hwy. 84 corridor, but since a number of plants exist on private property as well, we’d like to help interested landowners remove these invasive plants from their property. For those who’d like to keep ornamental grasses on their property, there are several non-invasive alternatives, like these suggested by the Native Plants Society and Yerba Buena Nursery:
Anyone 16 years or older can participate. We’ll schedule several morning work days over the coming year beginning in April. All safety and other training will be provided. Removal of seed heads is the first step in preventing further spread. Next we cut back vegetation to control plant growth, and finally remove the plant. Smaller plants come out in a few minutes. Larger, established plants take more effort, but can be removed with pick axe and shovel. The root balls are amazingly small and shallow considering the size of these plants.
The biggest concentration of plants is around the 2.0 and 3.0 mile markers on La Honda Rd. With team effort, we should be able to remove the remaining plants along the highway in short order. After that, we just monitor for new growth.
Feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think may be interested. We can use help on work crews, communicating with neighbors, and identifying remaining plants in the watershed. With your help, we should be able to remove Pampas and Jubata grass from San Gregorio and La Honda completely in a year or two. As one of our community leaders says “It Takes a Village”! We look forward to hearing from you!
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, February 2016.)
Many consider Pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata) to be an ornamental, and it is. Although it can be quite beautiful, it’s also extremely invasive, and can take over coastal and grassland sites. There is plenty of evidence of this along the Coast Highway and Pescadero Creek and Bean Hollow Rds. When controlled or confined, it can be a lovely plant, but its seeds travel over long distances, and each plume can produce up to a hundred thousand seeds! The plant thrives on bare soils, and takes advantage of drought conditions when other plants have trouble surviving.
We’re seeing more of this perennial along Hwy 84 and Stage Rd. in La Honda and San Gregorio, and because of it prolific seed production and highly competitive nature, it may not be long before our roadsides and slopes are taken over by this grass. Once they’re established, removal of the plant can be quite a bit of work, but controlling the spread can be as simple as removing the plumes before they go to seed in late summer or early fall.
If you’d like to help control this invasive grass in our watershed, or have plants on your property controlled or removed, please contact SGERC at email@example.com or call Neil Panton at (650) 854-8038.
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2015.)
Parking lot at Highway 1 and La Honda Road; Saturday, September 20, 2014; 9 -noon.
Please join us for the 29thannual Coastal Cleanup Day at San Gregorio Beach. Since the first Cleanup day in 1985 more than 6 million cigarette butts and 2 million plastic bags have been picked up. We’re making a difference! Rewards are given for the most unusual find. Last year we thought San Gregorio would win, based on the safe that was found flung off the overpass. But the winner was a pair of speakers with a live octopus inside!
For information please see website http://flowstobay.org/ccdlocations or contact Kathleen Dickey at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, September 2014.)
The San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) is seeking an Executive Director to manage a community-based non-profit organization. SGERC volunteers monitor the San Gregorio watershed’s physical characteristics to assure its ability to support steelhead and, potentially, salmon. The data collected over the past 25 years have been used in studies by Stillwater Sciences to develop a Watershed Management Plan (WMP), which is posted on our web site (http://www.sgerc.org). Completed in 2010, the WMP contains scientifically supported recommendations for a variety of potential steelhead and Coho habitat enhancement projects. A dedicated group of volunteers continues to collect water quality data at five locations within the watershed.
As an ideal candidate, you would have substantial knowledge in watershed and fish ecology, and demonstrate a passion for leading the strategic planning, development and execution of watershed projects. You would be adept at writing grant proposals in order to support the ongoing stream monitoring program and fund your Executive Director salary.
The role of the Executive Director of SGERC:
There is an active core group of dedicated volunteers available to help with many of these tasks.
The San Gregorio watershed on the San Mateo County coast is the southernmost California watershed where Coho salmon were historically found to spawn. With approximately 45 miles of blue line streams, the watershed still attracts steelhead trout and tide water gobies and empties into a lagoon which is their year round habitat and portal to the sea. Agriculture, housing, and Hwy 84, all introduce challenges to maintaining a clean watershed which is inviting to steelhead, and which allows adult populations to find the depth and oxygenation of water adequate for their spawning needs. San Gregorio is one of nine priority creeks selected by CDFG for Coho salmon reintroduction.
For more information, please visit our website: http://www.sgerc.org
Send a resume and letter of interest to:
PO Box 49
San Gregorio CA, 94074
Email: Neil Panton – email@example.com or Michael Braude - MABraude@aol.com
San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) will lead a training session for anyone interested in stream monitoring Sunday morning, September 9th from 10am-noon.
The session will be on Alpine Creek, meeting at Heritage Grove parking area at 10am. We'll provide everything you'll need, though you may want to wear rubber boots if you want to get into the stream.
You'll learn how to properly collect and handle water samples, perform five basic water quality tests, and keep good records. It's all fairly easy, good for all ages, and helps provide important information about the health of our waterway. Each monitor is part of a team that visits their site on a monthly basis, so it's not a large commitment of time. Most teams choose to monitor Saturday or Sunday morning, usually starting at 9 or 10am. Monitoring our streams is a rewarding experience, as evidenced by the many members of our group that have participated for more than 10 years!
SGERC would love to see more members of the community become involved in some way with our organization. If you're not interested in monitoring, maybe there's another way you'd like to assist. We sponsor a number of activities, including highway and coastal cleanups, public events and educational opportunities. Maybe you'd like to help with our website or maillist, data analysis, GIS layers, or grant writing.
Please call if you have questions about this event or our organization, otherwise hope to see you the 9th!
Neil Panton - Executive Director
San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center
PO Box 49, San Gregorio, CA 94074
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, August 2012.)
This year's event at San Gregorio State Beach will be Saturday, September 15th, 2012 from 9am-noon. Parking has always been free for cleanup volunteers. Bring sturdy shoes or boots, layered clothing, sunscreen, and the whole family! We encourage reusable water bottles, heavy gloves and plastic buckets for cleanup, but we'll have plenty of supplies on hand.
There are many other cleanup locations along the coast and inland. Visit Coastal Cleanup Day to find more information about the event and how to find cleanup sites.
San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center (SGERC) is proud to have been site captains for Coastal Cleanup Day at the State Beach since 2003. SGERC has also assisted in cleanup efforts at Pomponio and Tunitas Creeks. The organization also has adopted a stretch of highway along Hwy 84, keeping that area cleared of trash since 2007. 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 2012.)
Do you like playing in the creek? Enjoy spending time in beautiful places? Do you like science and making a difference in the community? You might want to join our stream monitoring team!
SGERC’s volunteers spend a few hours each month performing simple water quality tests in La Honda, Alpine and San Gregorio creeks. They record the results and make observations that create a record of stream conditions at various locations in the San Gregorio watershed. You could be monitoring the beautiful Heritage Grove site on Alpine Creek, or El Corte de Madera Creek feeding into San Gregorio Creek. You might prefer to join a team at a site nearest to you.
This is a great activity for all, young and old, for parents wishing to involve their family in environmental awareness and community service. Most of us love the excuse to get into the creek once in a while and enjoy the solitude and beauty of this area. Why not do something to benefit the environment and the community at the same time?
Training is provided by our organization and basic water quality tests are easy to learn. You’ll be working right away with our dedicated volunteers, many of whom have monitored with us for ten years or more!
For those who would rather stay indoors, you could help with tasks that keep the organization running smoothly, like equipment maintenance, data management, publicity, education, or fundraising. Maybe you’d prefer to participate in cleanup events like Coastal Cleanup Day at San Gregorio State Beach or Adopt-A-Highway on Hwy 84.
In any case, join the fun. Call or email for more information about SGERC’s programs, or visit our booth at the La Honda Fair, June 16th and 17th.
San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center
Neil Panton – Director
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, April 2012.)
Who knew they were swimming in our lagoon? Amy knew. Local fish biologist Amy Haas led a number of intrepid souls on a journey into the San Gregorio lagoon recently to discover the life within. The lagoon, or estuary, is an incredibly complex system. The mixing of salt and fresh water forms a unique environment, with varying temperatures and water quality conditions vital to a number of species. Amy introduced us to several of these including the Tidewater Goby, Three-spined Stickleback, Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon.
In addition to describing the life cycle and needs of these fish, Amy answered many questions, and provided beautiful color handouts with photographs for aquatic species identification. Amy then led the group into the water with snorkel gear to have a look around. The first observation was how cold the water was!
We also learned how important it is for the lagoon environment to be protected. When the mixture of salt and fresh water or temperatures are artificially altered, an entire season of a particular species can be wiped out. Ocean waves build up the sandbar that partially separates the salt and fresh water, and also tears it down at other times to allow this natural connection between stream system and ocean. Artificial breaching of the sandbar can have disastrous effects on the species in and around the lagoon.
If you see this event advertised again on local bulletin boards, you might not want to miss it! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest in this activity, or any of SGERC's programs.
Neil Panton - Director, San Gregorio Environmental Resource Center
(Also published in The La Honda Voice, October 2011.)
Protecting the San Gregorio Watershed.