On May 4, we joined with GreenTown Los Altos to present our Permanente Creek Watershed Tour. We had a beautiful day for being out at the creek, and our wonderful speakers presented a wealth of information about the watershed, the health of the creek, efforts to improve the water quality and the habitat for fish, and the wildlife in the area.
Our first stop was at Rancho San Antonio, where we braved the Saturday morning crowds to hear Matt Baldzikowski of Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District talk about the challenges for fish passage in Permanente Creek. Afshin Rouhani of Santa Clara Valley Water District and Mike Hayden, a community member of Los Altos, discussed the proposed flood basin project at Rancho San Antonio. Alice Kaufman, Legislative Advocate with CGF, gave an update on the Sierra Club’s recent settlement of the lawsuit against the Lehigh Permanente Quarry, in which Lehigh has agreed to reduce its discharges of selenium to within legal limits and to restore the reaches of the creek on Lehigh property.
Next, we visited the Diversion Channel, where the flows from Permanente Creek are diverted into Stevens Creek. Mondy Lariz of Santa Clara County Creeks Coalition and Brian Schmidt, Director with Santa Clara Valley Water District, discussed the history of the diversion channel and ways in which it might be modified to make it suitable for fish passage.
After a delicious lunch (provided by Plaza Deli in Mountain View), we proceeded to McKelvey Park, where Afshin Rouhani described the SCVWD flood control project proposed for this site and Gary Latshaw of Sierra Club discussed climate change impacts.
Our last stop was Shoreline Park. Under the supervision of Junko Bryant of Acterra’s Stewardship program, we all got the chance to participate in a creek restoration project by planting native grasses on the banks of Permanente Creek. Then Phil Higgins, biologist with the City of Mountain View, took us to the site in Shoreline Park where habitat is being created for burrowing owls (a species of special concern in California).
We had a wonderful day learning about Permanente Creek and its watershed. Thanks to our sponsors, Google and San Francisco Estuary Partnership, for making this tour possible!