Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Watershed Legacy: Protection and Preservation

The 23,000-acre Peninsula Watershed  has been a key source of high-quality drinking water since the 1860s, when our predecessor, the private San Francisco-based water company Spring Valley Water Company, turned to the neighboring Peninsula to help meet the needs of a mushrooming population. The first dam, the Pilarcitos,was built in 1866. 



This hidden reservoir lies deep in woodsy and water-rich Pilarcitos Canyon, to the west of the Crystal Springs and San Andreas reservoirs that we see from Highway 280 and other roads paralleling the watershed's east boundary, Today, Pilarcitos water serves primarily the Coastside County Water District. . 


While the company’s legendary engineer Hermann Schussler was surveying an alignment for the future pipeline to connect Pilarcitos Reservoir north to San Francisco, he saw the potential for the next reservoir—in flat San Andreas Valley. Spring Valley soon added that valley and surrounding watershed to its other Peninsula holdings. Schussler and his superiors believed the way to protect the quality of a water source was to manage and preserve the surrounding watershed—a conviction that we have upheld ever since.  

The watershed itself continues to sustain a historic diversity of natural habitats, ranging from old-growth Douglas Fir forest to coastal chaparral, serpentine bunch grasses, and wetlands.  Together they harbor an abundance of native plant and animal life, including
many rare, threatened and endangered species.

The endangered California Red-Legged Frog

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