Re the Sharp Park post below: What came before the "before"? Golf course advocates have been relying on the name “Laguna Salada” to make the argument that the area was always a salt marsh environment, and thus in a biological sleight of hand the golf course and the berm are what brought frogs and snakes to the site. It is this fundamental error, using the start of the golf course as the baseline for the biological morphology of Laguna Salada that undermines their argument.
It is easy to dispel the golf facilitation mythology by looking at the available historical, ecological information. Laguna Salada in its natural state is very similar to Lake Merced, Rodeo Lagoon, Abbot’s Lagoon, and Pescadero Marsh, which are all coastal lagoon systems that experience limited saltwater influx as a result of winter storms, but which are primarily influenced by the freshwater streams that feed them. We know this to be true from the earliest 1869 U.S. Coastal Survey maps of Laguna Salada that show the “tule” symbol and not the salt marsh symbol. Since tules (cattails) can exist only in freshwater, we can readily understand that the historical environment needed to support the snakes and frogs existed long before the golf course, so it is a reach to believe that the snakes must have migrated over because of the golf course. But why believe an old map when you can believe your own eyes. Above is a picture of the pre-golf course days, and lo and behold, in the foreground are tules indicative of freshwater.