Friday, May 26, 2017

Repaved Sawyer Camp Trail to Reopen Saturday Morning, May 27

The Sawyer Camp Trail's newly repaved southern half will reopen tomorrow morning, Saturday, May 27. We'll be closing it again for one more weekday some time later in June to paint the center stripe. Signs will be posted in advance at the trail entrances.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has repaved the trail’s entire southern half and, in partnership with the San Mateo County Parks Department, restored the adjoining shoulders with new gravel.  

Our thanks to the  Sawyer Camp Trail family for the patience and support!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sawyer Camp Trail South Half Still Closed--Looking for an Alternative?

The southern half of the Sawyer Camp Trail is still closed for repaving, this weekend and through May 26, from the Skyline entrance to the Jepsen Laurel. So check out the San Andreas Trail instead.

A short 0.7-mile unpaved section just to the north of the Sawyer Camp Hillcrest entrance takes you to Larkspur Lane and the entrance to the approximately two-mile paved trail past the San Andreas Reservoir to  San Bruno Avenue. 

The northern half of the Sawyer Camp Trail is also open, from the Hillcrest entrance to the Jepsen Laurel.

On the Sawyer Camp Trail, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is repaving the surface of the entire southern half, and restoring the shoulders. It will reopen for the Memorial Day weekend.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sawyer Camp Trail South Half to Close for Repaving May15 - 26

The southern half of the Sawyer Camp Trail will be closed for repaving for about 3-1/2 miles, from the Crystal Springs entrance to the Jepson Laurel every day, May 15 – 26, including the weekend of May 20-21. 

The northern half, from the Hillcrest entrance to the Jepson Laurel, will be open every day. 

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will repave the surface of the entire southern half of the trail, and restore the adjoining shoulders. 

The trail may also be closed for one more weekday some time after the Memorial Day weekend so that crews can finish painting the center stripe.  Signage will be posted in advance.

Bicyclists wanting through access should use alternative routes during this period. 

Thank you for your patience and support.  

Questions: (866) 973-1476;;

Friday, May 5, 2017

Trapping the Local Steelhead

It’s a gem of an urban creek with an endangered species running right through downtown.   

Biologists Scott Taylor (left) and Aaron Brinkerhoff discuss what's been trapped today.   

Any day—Monday through Sunday, rain or shine—one or more of our biologists will be out on San Mateo Creek with the trout.

The creek flows down to the bay from the Crystal Springs Reservoir through suburbs and downtown San Mateo as well as parts of the Peninsula Watershed. The SFPUC is dedicated to year-round restoration of both creek and critters that live there. We've been releasing small, prescribed amounts of water daily from Lower Crystal Springs Dam into the creek for habitat improvement since 2015, and lead biologist Aaron Brinkerhoff says conditions keep getting better.

These days, Brinkerhoff and team are trapping, then releasing, young so-called “steelhead"--the ones that migrate out to sea. (The rest in the same species are “residents," also known as “rainbow” trout. They'll stay in the fresh water of their birthplace all their lives.)

“This little urban creek is such a gem,” Brinkerhoff says.  “We have an endangered species running right through the neighborhoods."

The trap is set early each spring. That’s when the young steelhead—called smolt—enter certain physical changes that equip them for salt water. They’re now four to eight inches long, they’ve taken on  the silvery hue that distinguishes them from the residents, and they’re moving downstream. The hope is that they’ll survive the three years at sea and return home to spawn.

So any smolt happening into the trap is quickly and gently weighed, measured and implanted with an electronic tag for lifelong tracking. The young captives are kept in cool creek water during the process to minimize any stress before they’re released to continue on their way. “Even a small sample tells us a lot,” Brinkerhoff says. “Over time we’ll be able to see how the population is doing.

“This creek has a unique asset, and that’s our daily flow release. It’s like having a savings account of water.”

Friday, April 28, 2017

GSR Project is Going Very “WELL!”

Check out the evaluation —WELLvolution, if you will, of the Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery (GSR) project’s Linear Park Well Station.  

In April 2015, construction kicked off at the Linear Park site in South San Francisco. This particular well station involved drilling 620 feet and installing over 120 feet of pipeline. Construction challenges aside, after two years of hard work, the well station infrastructure and landscaping are complete. Now the team will focus on conducting extensive testing for the station to make sure the well is operational.  

Linear Park is one of 13 well sites nearing completion as part of the first phase of the GSR project.  It is anticipated that this phase of work will be completed in this fall. The project team is currently investigating three additional well sites as part of the next phase of this work. The entire GSR project is expected to reach final completion summer 2019.

     In July 2015, workers installed steel rebar to prepare for the wall pours at the
                                              Linear Park Well Station.

          One month later, August 2015, the wood and steel frames for the 
                                        well station were complete. 

      By July 2016, the concrete walls were built and the well pump was installed.

        By March 2017 the landscape has grown in and the site is almost complete.

About GSR

GSR includes the construction of up to 16 new recovery wells and associated facilities on the Peninsula. This project is the result of a landmark agreement between the SFPUC and City of Daly City, City of San Bruno and California Water Service Company to help manage the South Westside Groundwater Basin. In wet years, these entities will use Hetch Hetchy water in place of their groundwater supplies to allow the aquifer to store up to 20 billion gallons of water for use in times of emergency or drought.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Life on the Watershed: Lizards, Lyme Ticks and Us

They’ve been hibernating through winter, but the new clear weather is bringing out the sun-loving Western fence lizards--which happen to lower our risk for Lyme Disease. 

From grassland to brush and forest, we spot them basking on rocks, logs, trail-side benches, and other open areas—where they can be easy prey for certain birds and small mammals. But the native reptile has protective devices too, like quick reflexes and the ability to scurry quickly into a crevice or other shelter. It can readily discard its tail to get away--and the tail will grow back.  
Spring is mating season, when males establish and defend a territory. The "push-ups" we see them do are indicators of another nearby male, or a female. Females lay eggs, which hatch in mid- to late summer.

Western fence lizards eat spiders and insects. In turn, they are favorite hosts for tick nymphs--and that's a good thing for us.

It turns out that Lyme disease (carried by a tick species called the deer tick) is much lower out here in Western fence lizard country. That's because there's a particular protein in the lizard blood that permanently kills off the Lyme-causing bacterium inside the young insect, So only a small percentage of adult deer ticks are Lyme carriers.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Easter Wildflowers on the Watershed

Areas of serpentine soil are currently yielding a profusion of native wildflowers along the Peninsula Watershed ridges.

Serpentine soil is derived from California’s state rock—the greenish metaphoric serpentine rock originating from the earth’s mantle. Serpentine rock outcrops are closely associated with California fault lines. The soil is high in magnesium and iron, but low in calcium, aluminum, and nutrient-rich clay, so that it is thin and inhospitable to many plant types. Its plant communities are typically composed of stubby, low-growing native grasses and small herbaceous plants.

Conversely, serpentine soil attracts a variety of native wildflowers—many of them rare or endangered—that thrive in the extreme conditions so unfavorable to many of their more common or non-native competitors. To check out this year’s serpentine displays on the Peninsula Watershed, join a guided hike or bike ride along the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail.