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October 21, 2007

Mori's Warriors: November 10 Next Work Party in Pacifica's Own National Park

Greetings, Mori Point Neighbors and Friends!

Many exciting milestones have been reached at Mori's over the past few weeks! Under the careful supervision of a remediation team, we've successfully removed all the diesel fuel around our southern pond site—a very big task! The excavation team removed 2,000 tons of material from the park, including chunks of cement platforms (4 feet thick in certain sections), remnant roadbed material, and gravel. The soil left on site is now at "non-detectable" levels, meaning there is no sign that the area had ever contained diesel. We also tested the groundwater just downstream from the site and, fortunately, it was not contaminated at all. Check out the photo below to see what the scooping looked like.


Many of you visiting the park have seen the hole left behind. Though impressive, a pond this deep won't support the right type of vegetation for frogs, plus the amount of rainwater the area normally gets wouldn't even fill it. So this week we've entered the reshaping phase. Our trusted contractor is back on site filling in the deeper parts of the hole and reshaping the edges to create natural-looking contours that will better capture the rainwater. Check out the aerial photo below of the pond during the cleanup, taken by the fantastic folks at the San Mateo Mosquito Abatement District on their routine helicopter survey.


Some visitors have asked us why we decided to create a "perched" pond in the disturbed area south of Mori Road. There are a few reasons—in the winter, surface water naturally pools in many little pockets in the grassland there, eventually overflowing onto Old Mori Road trail. By creating a place where water is consolidated into a single, longer-lasting pond, we're helping to keep Mori Road dry and we're creating good frog habitat that will function as a complete ecosystem, including mosquito predators such as dragonflies and mayflies. Also, by putting a pond south of Mori Road, we're preparing for the unlikely, but possible, event of a sea wall breach. If this happens, as it did in the mid-80s, saltwater would inundate the wetlands and prevent the frog eggs from maturing properly. Providing alternate habitat with freshwater gives the wildlife a safety net. And last but not least, we've successfully completed the installation of the "Bootlegger's Steps" and they're open to the public! Biomonitors and volunteers from the American Hiking Society and Oceana High School helped complete the final touches and took down the detour fencing. (See photos below.)


Minutes after we opened the area, park users happily found their way up and down the steps. One senior park user said that he had both hips replaced and was happy that he could now step up and enjoy the beautiful views from the top. Next you'll see the installation of erosion control materials in the area to help contain all the soil in preparation for the winter's rains. In December we'll start to put in native plants that will hold the soil as the erosion control material (coconut fiber netting) naturally biodegrades away in the coming years.

Come help heal the area by planting native plants! We'll have *many* opportunities to volunteer, and we need your help! The Site Stewardship Program regularly hosts drop-in volunteer programs at Mori Point. Come meet us at the Mori Road gate at 10 a.m. on November 10 to join the fun! Programs last until about 1 p.m. and we provide gloves, tools, and snacks. For more information, contact Ryan at rjones@parksconservancy.org


Mori Point Project Coordinator

(415) 683-8459

With the Mori Point Planning Team (Golden Gate National Recreation Area Staff Darren Fong and Steve Griswold and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Staff Kate Bickert, Christina Crooker, Sharon Farrell, Sue Gardner, Jen Greene, and Mary Petrilli)



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This Mori Point Project is good news for Pacifica. And let's not forget that Mori Point is actually Pacifica's second "own National Park", with Sweeney Ridge being the first. And, as a reminder, does anybody know about Cattle Hill?

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