Notes from the Field: Poppies Springing out of Dormancy

CA Poppies
Spring has sprung and so has the California poppy.

It’s hard to deny that spring has arrived in California. Our coastal areas and foothills are lighting up with the floral blues of miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor), the vivid purples of blue-eyed grass (sisyrinchium bellum), the glowing oranges of sticky monkey flower (mimulus aurantiacus) and our state flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica). Though the scientific name of the California poppy may be nearly impossible to pronounce — it gets its namesake from Livonian naturalist Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz — this doesn’t stop us from celebrating the beauty and resiliency of this iconic flower.

On April 6th, 70 Save The Bay volunteers gathered at Eden Landing in Hayward and the MLK shoreline in Oakland to celebrate California Poppy Day by participating in a public community-based restoration program. Though the California poppy is just one of roughly 30 native plants we propagate and install at wetland restoration sites around the Bay, it is certainly one of my personal favorites. Not only is the California poppy quite beautiful, it is also extremely hardy, making it a prime species for use in wetland restoration.

The California poppy is native to the west coast of North America, ranging from Washington state down through Baja California, and as far inland as Texas. Pollinated by beetles as well as introduced European bees, the poppy can exhibit the lifecycle of both an annual (living for one growing season) or perennial (living for multiple growing seasons) flowering plant. The poppy acts as an annual when in harsh, dry living conditions or during drought years, while it can function as a perennial when in more favorable conditions. This flexibility makes the California poppy a wonderful drought escaper, as it can remain in an area in dormant seed form until adequate moisture is available.

Though our restoration sites are a great place to see California poppies in bloom, true poppy enthusiasts recognize the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve as the Holy Grail of poppy populations. Located in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles, this state park’s rolling hills explode with acres of poppy fields every spring. Want to get to know the poppy a little better? Come join us for a restoration program?

Weekly Roundup September 14, 2012

weekly roundupThis week, we announced our 6th annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots, creeks and shorelines that are so polluted they are in violation of the Clean Water Act. Check out the coverage below. As tens of thousands of volunteers prepare for tomorrow’s Coastal Cleanup Day, they may find tsunami debris and tiny plastic pellets present an extra challenge to clean up. Beyond plastic pollution, a strong case against a peripheral tunnel around the Delta. Finally, take a look at this reminder of the Bay that we are saving — a great place for birdwatching along the Hayward Regional Shoreline.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/12/2012
Coyote Creek tops list of dirty waterways
Forget the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We have our own version right here in the Bay Area.San Jose’s Coyote Creek is so clogged with candy wrappers, diapers, beer bottles, cigarette butts and other debris that, in some spots, one can practically walk across the waterway without getting wet. The creek, one of the two largest waterways in the South Bay, is likely the dirtiest waterway in the Bay Area and has earned the dubious distinction of making Save the Bay’s annual list of “trash hot spots,” which the group is to release Wednesday.

East Bay Express 9/12/2012
Three East Bay “Trash Hot Spots” Violate Clean Water Act
Forty years after Congress passed the Clean Water Act — a landmark law sparked in part by the work of Bay Area environmentalists — five local waterways identified by Oakland nonprofit Save the Bay are so cluttered with trash that they’re in violation of federal law.

KQED 9/13/2012
The 5 Trashiest Places Around the Bay
Save the Bay released its sixth annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots on Wednesday. The places on the list are such major contributors to the flow of junk into San Francisco Bay that they actually violate the Clean Water Act.

Bay Citizen 9/12/2012
Nonprofit names the five trashiest Bay waterways
According to Oakland nonprofit Save the Bay, five local sites have such high levels of trash that they are in violation of the Clean Water Act.The Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, lays out regulations for pollution in waterways and the quality of surface water nationwide. This marks the sixth year the organization has identified “Bay Trash Hot Spots” using data reported by the cities, as required by The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Oakland North 9/12/2012
Oakland’s Damon Slough named one of area’s most littered
Damon Slough, a chunk of preserved parkland in Oakland that stretches for more than eight acres along the Martin Luther King Jr. shoreline, was named one of the Bay Area’s top five most littered waterways in 2012, environmental groups said today.

NBC Bay Area 9/12/2012
‘Save the Bay’ Reveals Bay Area Trash Spots
Five Bay Area waterways top the list of “trash hot spots.” Arturo Santiago reports.
Watch >>

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CBS5 9/12/2012
Some Bay Area Waterways ‘Hot Spots’ For Trash
Some Bay Area waterways, including Coyote Creek in San Jose and the Hayward shoreline, have made Save the Bay’s list of trash “hot spots.” Don Ford reports.
Watch >>

Oakland Tribune 9/10/2012
Will California coast clean-up volunteers find debris from tsunami?
More than a year after a tsunami struck Japan’s east coast, California beachcombers are preparing for a wave of debris expected to hit the U.S. Pacific Coast in coming months.”It’s going to be a growing issue over the coming year as more debris starts to arrive in California,” says Eben Schwartz, California Coastal Commission outreach manager. “It will be a good opportunity to educate Californians about the ongoing marine debris problem.”

Bay Nature 9/12/2012
Tiny plastics pellets a big problem in coastal cleanup
On September 15, tens of thousands of volunteers will participate in California Coastal Cleanup Day, donning work gloves to gather up the tonnage of manmade debris along California’s coastal regions and inland waterways.

Huffington Post 9/13/2012
San Francisco Plastic Bag Ban Gets Go-Ahead From Judge
Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson on Tuesday upheld a San Francisco ordinance that would ban most retail locations in the city from distributing plastic bags and begin charging customers a dime for each paper bag (or comparatively more expensive compostable plastic bag) they use.

Sonoma News 9/10/2012
The case against the peripheral tunnel
We have warned in this space repeatedly about the dangers of rushing an ill-conceived peripheral tunnel around the Delta, but no one has made the case against the tunnel more clearly than Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sport Fishing Protection Alliance, who wrote the following column in the Sept. 5 issue of Capitol Weekly.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/12/2012
Cogswell Marsh Loop: great bird watching
Just minutes from the frenzy of Hayward’s Southland Mall, you’ll find serene Cogswell Marsh, a 250-acre restored tidal saltwater marsh that is part of the Hayward Regional Shoreline. The levees along the shoreline were originally built for salt harvesting, but they were breached in the 1980s, and tidal flow returned to the land.

Hot Spot or Not? Bay Trash Hot Spots 2012

Hot Spot or Not
Cast your vote for the trashiest waterway around the Bay.

Remember that website Hot or Not? You know, where people upload photos of themselves and users vote whether they are “HOT” or “NOT”. That site was pretty trashy, but we’ve got something even trashier…

Bay Trash Hot Spots 2012: Hot Spot or Not?

Instead of people, you get to vote on the trashiest waterways around the Bay. Here’s the deal:

Each year, Save The Bay releases a list of Bay Trash Hot Spots highlighting the most polluted waterways around the Bay. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, yet toxic trash continues to plague our waterways, flow into the Bay, and out into the ocean. Save The Bay’s five Trash Hot Spots are each located in one of the top ten cities that contribute the most trash to the Bay from storm water systems, and are all in violation of the Clean Water Act.

This year’s Hot Spots are:

• Coyote Creek in San Jose
• Damon Slough in Oakland
• The Hayward shoreline
• Baxter Creek in Richmond
• San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara

Our fearless Policy Associate Allison Chan took a Tour de Trash  to scope out these sites and snapped photos to share with you. We’ve uploaded the photos into our own ‘Hot Spot or Not’ contest. Now’s the time to vote!

We’ll tally the votes and adopt the winning Hot Spot for cleanups in 2013. Be sure to vote and share with your friends. You may even find a spot that is actually hot…

Cast your vote today!