Notes from the Field | Where is your water… shed?

Jack  with map
Jack gives students a bird’s eye view of our local watershed.

Have you noticed a recent upsurge in interest concerning the health and resilience of the Delta in light of the proposed Delta tunnel plan? This got me thinking about how little we see of our watersheds and how they affect our lives, and the lives of plants and animals that also call these watersheds home.

I must admit I am a bit of a history and map nerd, so I jump at any chance to combine those two subjects in my work. As a Restoration Project Specialist, I lead Save The Bay’s Restoration Education Programs, which gives me the opportunity to explore the ecological history of the Bay through maps. I often start programs with a map of the Bay from space so that students can get a bird’s eye view of their home and the surrounding geographical features and landscapes that encompass this region. When teaching students about watersheds, I love using a relief map of California because it helps them see the immensity of the San Francisco Bay watershed which extends the length of the Central Valley. The maps help students understand the myriad of uses and stressors that we have put on such an important, fragile and interconnected ecosystem.

I recently wrote about my restorative hike through Redwood Creek in the Oakland hills where I discovered the headwaters of the San Leandro Creek watershed. This exploration got me excited to find other watersheds around the bay. I came upon an awesome website created by the Oakland Museum that sheds some light on these hidden creeks and streams. Spring has sprung so I encourage bay area residents to explore these green spaces and learn more about your local watershed!