Friday, February 17, 2017

Wishing You a Wonderful President's Day

There will be no construction work on our projects through Monday, February 20th. Work will resume on Tuesday, February 21st.

Sawyer Camp Trail Update: San Mateo County Parks Department rangers reopened the northern half of the trail this afternoon, February 17th. The entire trail is now open, dawn to dusk. For questions over the three-day weekend, please call the Ranger Station at 650-573-2592. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Southern Half of Sawyer Camp Trail Reopened

The San Mateo County Parks Department has reopened the Sawyer Camp Trail from the South Gate to the Jepson Laurel. The section between the North Gate and the Jepson Laurel remains closed until further notice. 

Park rangers have cleared away approximately 10 tons of material from the trail surface and built berms to keep water and gravel from flowing down the trail. 

For updates, please visit the Parks Department website here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Storms Close Sawyer Camp Trail until Further Notice

The San Mateo County Parks Department has temporarily closed the entire Sawyer Camp Trail until further notice because of flooding, other storm damage, and the possibility of falling trees and landslides.

For updates and further information, visit the San Mateo County Parks Department website here.  

Friday, February 3, 2017

What Is so Hot About Hot Tapping?

A hot tap is not the next latest craze in hot stone massage.  It is, however, a very important tool that we at the SFPUC, as well as many other utilities, use to complete important upgrades to water transmission lines without any impacts to our customers. And it is coming to a pipeline near you.

The procedure involves attaching special fittings to the outside of the pipe that create a hole and connection to the new pipe while it is still full of water and under pressure. Ten of the 13 new well sites that were recently constructed through the Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project required hot taps to connect the well stations with pipes belonging to the SFPUC as well as our partners in Daly City and Cal Water. This work was completed in 2016. This first phase of the project should be complete in 2017.

Why are hot taps important? Hot taps allowed us to connect these new groundwater well sites to the existing water pipes while they were still servicing our customers.

About the Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project (GSR)

The Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery (GSR) project 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 drought.   

 Thirteen well sites are now in construction on the Peninsula and the project has completed drilling the last well apart of the current construction contract.

To learn more about the GSR project visit

Friday, January 27, 2017

Life on the Watershed: Wild Mushrooms

It’s been a good rain year, and so it follows that mushrooms are popping up on  the watershed. These varied and colorful organisms are not plants, but seasonal fruits of certain underground fungi. And those fungi are doing what they have always done—promoting forest health and diversity.  

Many mushroom fungi species have long-established, mutually beneficial interactions with partner trees—like our native Coastal live oaks—that depend on them for sustenance and protection from disease and pests.

The fungi themselves are robust, wide-ranging underground webs of long thread-like tubes that connect with the fine tips of partner tree rootlets.  While they’re conducting sugars and other compounds from tree to mushroom, they’re relaying vital minerals and water from the soil to the rootlets—invigorating the root system and boosting tree nutrition and health. They can even penetrate and extract water from rocks for a partner during a drought.  

The mushrooms above will also be meals for deer, squirrels, raccoons and other woodland dwellers. The fruiting will continue through winter. But the fungal network below will be at work throughout the year, helping to sustain partners with water and nutrients when needed. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What’s on Tap for the Peninsula in 2017?

Happy New Year to all of our customers and neighbors on the Peninsula! We have a busy year planned as we continue to repair, replace, and upgrade the water system that serves you. We are continuing work on Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) Projects that restore crucial habitat (Bioregional Habitat Restoration Project) and provide crucial water supplies in times of drought (Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project).  We are also ramping up our efforts through our 10 year capital program to ensure that vulnerable portions of the system that were not addressed in the WSIP are upgraded. As always, subscribe to this blog to stay on top of our progress.

Peninsula Watershed Bioregional Habitat Restoration Program

Crews worked extensively in 2016 to remove invasive trees for habitat restoration.  In 2017 our crews will continue to monitor these areas for any re-sprouted weedy invasive trees and remove them. The trail will remain fully open, except for approximately two weeks in early spring, when we will completely resurface the trail’s southern half from the entrance to approximately mile marker 3. We will continue to restore habitat in less visible areas of the Peninsula Watershed this year as part of this effort. Work will continue through January 2018. For further information, please see here

SFPUC Peninsula Ridge Trail Extension Project

Environmental review of the proposed approximately 6-mile extension southward to Phleger Estate is now under way. The San Francisco Planning Department will host a public meeting on Wednesday, January 18, 525 Golden Gate Avenue, 2nd floor, 6:30 – 8 p.m. The purpose will be to receive public comments about the scope of potential environmental issues to be addressed in the pending Environmental Impact Report. The draft EIR is expected to be released in late summer or early fall, 2017.  For further information, please see here

San Andreas Pipeline #2 Upgrade Project in San Bruno

We are proposing to replace four separate segments of the 54-inch San Andreas Pipeline #2 within the City of San Bruno. These sections are almost 90 years old. Design began in 2016 and will continue through the first quarter of 2017. Construction is expected to start in later summer or early fall 2017.

Peninsula Pipeline Seismic Upgrades (Phase III)

From approximately mid-March through mid-July, we’ll be making seismic upgrades to a number of valves, service pipes, and other small facilities along our Sunset Supply Pipeline at different locations in South San Francisco and Colma. It’s being done to ensure that this major water transmission line serving both the Peninsula and San Francisco will withstand liquefaction and/or landslides caused by an earthquake. Every effort will be made to avoid inconvenience to residents, businesses, shoppers and drivers. 

Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery Project

Charging forward, the Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery project completed the drilling and the building of well facilities at 13 separate sites throughout the Peninsula in 2016. This year the focus will shift to testing the well sites to make sure they are operational and able to provide critical drinking water in an emergency. The project anticipates achieving completion in fall 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Season’s Greetings: Native Christmas Berries Light Up the Watershed

Small wonder they’re called “Christmas Berries,” for this time of year is when they're at their peak, and they're everywhere along the Sawyer Camp Trail.     

They’re the fruit of a hardy native shrub, the Toyon, which thrives in oak woodland surroundings. While they’re brightening the watershed surroundings for the rest of us, the vivid hue also alerts the neighborhood wild that the season of holiday feasting is here.

The Toyon is one of the few native plants that provide winter food for fruit-eating birds, such as robins, thrushes, jays, hummingbirds, and more. Those flurries of activity draw in the mammals (which are color blind but love the berries too).  And all return the hospitality by dispersing the berry seeds elsewhere in winter-wet soils, where they take root before the dry weather sets in. 

The dense shrubbery also provides safe habitat for bird nests, along with cover for other species, and black-tailed mule deer nibble the
young green sprouts.

The robust evergreen usually ranges in height from 6 to 12 feet, but in shady area  can grow to more than 30 feet in quest of sunlight.