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.