Bottom: Human "Slash Oil" circle at Ocean Beach, San Francisco (John Montgomery photo). Top: Protesters also formed "Hands Across the Sand" at Montara Beach (Ian Butler video and photo). See more photos from MONTARA by Diane Varner.
State Senator Gloria Romero recently introduced Senate Bill 624 to remove serpentine as California's state rock due to the presence of carcinogenic asbestos in the rock. Romero and her staffers say asbestos—and by extension, serpentine—is a bona fide health hazard. The bill has received unanimous approval from the state Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee. But the bill does not mention the importance of serpentine to California's biodiversity. For instance, it has been estimated that serpentine-endemic plant species represent 10 percent of the California Floristic Province's endemics. If you think Senator Romero overlooks serpentine's important role in California natural history, let her know at DISTRICT 24 and also tell your own state representatives in the Assembly and Senate. (from Jake Sigg's Nature News)
"We were the first state to have a state rock,” said State Geologist John Parish. “California leads the way.” But now some activists say that designation was a mistake. So what’s not to like about shiny green serpentine? Well, it turns out that one of the minerals in the rock is asbestos, which has been blamed for causing mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. That makes serpentine not just a rock but rather a political hot potato. When serpentine gets broken up—for example, during construction or excavation—asbestos particles can go into the air and become a health hazard."
On the map below you will see the network that we have worked on since January, widening to make some trails accessible and closing duplicate spurs or steep ascents when necessary to aid habitat restoration on the cuts. For the sake of clarity, the trails have been given names (which can be changed at a later date with more input) so that we can pinpoint areas when talking with one another. Any of you who have helped up here know that this has been a big challenge. On June 27 we had an AWESOME work party (above) with 18 volunteers, including our youngest volunteer Jack, 10; our oldest volunteer (to date) Doretta, 80+; and birthday woman Deidra, who treated us to homemade birthday cake and lemon-pear bubbly! We had enough people to split into three teams:
Team 1 watered, weeded, and mulched around the 110 native plants that were planted for Earth Day. Susan Miller, native-plant specialist, thinks that all but 10 of the plants have survived. These can use water through the summer. If interested in watering them periodically, or even once a month, please let me know. I'll set up a watering schedule and arrange for a 50-gallon drum of water up there.
Team 2 cleared and widened the middle ridge trail where it joins the arroyo trail, which was completely closed in for a pretty long stretch with pampas grass, pine, and coyote bush. It is now open if you want to walk a loop and not go out and back.
Team 3 forged to the northern edge of the headlands and installed signs on the bluff trail and north ridge trail to help people find their way to and from the "point" on paths we deemed most sustainable and gradual (whenever possible).
Once the work was done, all the teams joined back at the base and toasted with bubbly, enjoyed cake, sang happy birthday to Deidra, and reveled in a GREAT DAY.
widen western end of the arroyo trail
widen closed-in section of the bluff trail
water natives and check mulch
install more directional signage
NEXT WORK DAY, Sunday, July 25 at 10 a.m. Meet at Old Pedro Point Firehouse on Danmann Ave. to carpool up.Join us and bring your friends and family! Lots to do. Lots of memories to make, lots of fun to have. Let's do it together! LYNN ADAMS
Pedro Point Headlands, Volunteer Coordinator http://www.pedropointheadlands.org
650.355.1668 Office, 415.309.5856 Cell
You can buy a DVD of the documentary film RememberingPlayland at the Beach from Playland-Not-at-the-Beach Museum, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $20. Or you can order it for $25 with a credit card by calling 510-232-4264, extension 24. The preview DVD sold at the Balboa cinema premiere did not include extras that are now in this full-length DVD.
When a doe crosses the road, her fawns will follow, so please slow down and be extra cautious, especially along Rosita Road, Sharp Park Road, and other areas where deer come down from the mountains to reach the creeks and delicious ornamental plants growing in our yards. Another way to protect the lovely creatures that share our environment is to keep dogs out of San Pedro Valley County Park, which is clearly posted "No Pets Allowed" precisely to protect wildlife. If you see a dog in the park, call the ranger at 650-355-8289.
Broad opposition to offshore drilling and support for smart ocean policy are part of California's Marine Life Protection Act, which expands its Marine Protected Area (MPA) system. In August 2009 the state Fish and Game Commission approved this network of protected areas for the north central coast, and is developing similar networks for the rest of the California coast. Resources:
THE FRAGILE EDGE: DIVING AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
By Julia Whitty
Rangiroa, Funafuti, and Mo’orea are among Earth’s 330 coral atolls. From space they look like pearl necklaces whirled onto a cobalt blue sea. First formed around volcanic mountains, they became, as the great mounts wore down, chains of living coral surrounding shallow lagoons that can stretch more than 50 miles: 500-pound spotted eagle rays leap and somersault; bluefin tuna, marlin, and blackfin barracuda hunt their prey outside the thin circlet of isles, while within the glassy waters of the lagoon, rainbow-colored juvenile sea creatures swarm, flying fish glide in long, glittering flights, terns drop like arrowheads. On the windy side of an atoll, which might be as little as a football field in width and nine feet in height, 15-foot swells break in a continuous roar against a protective berm. Down from the atoll, a shelf slides thousands of feet into the utter darkness of the sea floor.
Mainland environmental issues deeply affect the much more fragile atolls: pollution, lack of fresh water, overpopulation. rising sea levels, more powerful storms. When surface-water temperatures climb or fall, polyps die and the dead reefs crumble. As hurricanes scour the atolls, people still tie themselves to coconut palms. In Whitty’s rich, humor-filled language, the creatures that live there become palpable. Fat little poi dogs learn to team up to catch fish in the lagoons, or starve. Each page is a festival of detail. “On the outer edge of Tiputa Pass, gray reef sharks … spend the daytime hours schooling. At about one hundred feet underwater, we find shoals of ten or twenty gray reef sharks drifting in close formation. At one hundred fifty feet, the shoals coalesce into squadrons. Below two hundred feet, they become curtains of shark drifting slowly in the bottleneck of the deep pass.” Whitty’s prose rivals Rachel Carson’s, or Annie Dillard’s, or Gary Snyder’s, with much of the storytelling talent of Barry Lopez. This is a blue jewel of a book, and you won’t put it down. I finished it and, sorry it was over, immediately began it again.