Park Wavelengths - September 2008


September 27, 2008

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths subscribers:

Muddy Hollow Fish Passage Restoration Project site, with high tide reaching past the former dam site at Muddy Hollow near Limantour Beach. Muddy Hollow Creek flows into the photo on the right side.

This photo shows the high tide reaching past the former dam site at Muddy Hollow near Limantour Beach. This is the first time in over 40 years that the Muddy Hollow Creek has been naturally connected to the Limantour Estuary. Muddy Hollow Creek is sauntering into the photo on the right side. Over time, we do hope the stream will be used by federally listed spawning coho salmon and steelhead trout.

Note also, that park maps showing a connecting trail between the Estero Trail and Limantour Beach are now incorrect.

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September 24, 2008

Forwarded to local Park Wavelengths

Subject: Lagunitas Creek aka Levee Trail on Giacomini to Close Temporarily Starting Monday, September 29

Sorry for the short notice on this, but the construction schedule keeps shifting, and, now, they would like to start on some of the south East Pasture work.

Hauling from the East Pasture is still scheduled to start on October 14.


Lorraine Parsons
Wetlands Ecologist
Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project Manager

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September 23, 2008

Riots of fall colors with the autumnal equinox this week - check out brilliant red poison oak along Limantour Road. The new moon rises Monday, September 29 with higher than usual daylight tides 5.4 - 5.9 feet in the afternoons. Other fall delights - the continuing presence of humpback whales off the Great Beach, splashing and breaching; the fall bird migration is underway - blackpoll warbler at the Lighthouse and some redstarts.

A young bat has been stopping in at the Lighthouse over the past few weeks, lingering in the fog signal building, an unusual sighting for this spot.. The overall bat population in the park remains healthy, 325 Townsend's Big eared bats were counted in the annual survey last week at their roost in Olema Valley. Traditionally, roosts were inside cavities of old growth redwoods and hillside caves; as these roosts disappeared they have moved into old barns and attics.

Large fish observed under the green bridge in Point Reyes are not early salmonids - they are carp; look for the noticeable scales and the fact they are 'out in the open' not seeking deep cool waters to hide. They are native to Eurasia and like slow moving shallow streams with lots of organic matter to root around in.

Marin County Open Space rangers will be exploring the "Pond Life of the Palomarin Area" on Sunday, September 28th between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm; meet at the Palomarin Trailhead off Mesa Road near Bolinas.

A planned closure of the Olema Marsh Trail is now posted for October 6th (originally slated for September 22) as part of the Giacomini Restoration. Trail staff are working with Marin Conservation Corps groups on reconstructing the Abbotts Lagoon Trail; the reroute of Greenpicker, Rift Zone and Estero Trails. These are not closed but you may see the crews at work.

Prescribed burns may occur this week on Wednesday (24) and Friday (26), off Limantour Road west of the Hostel and off Highway 1 near the Randall Trail to manage fuel loads and reduce exotic plants.

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September 23, 2008

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths subscribers

Prescribed Burns Planned along Limantour Road and Highway 1 for week of September 22, 2008

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September 10, 2008

Forwarded to Park Wavelengths Subscribers; most recent update

What’s Happening at the Giacomini Wetlands This Week (Week of September 8 - 12, 2008):

  • West Pasture Starts Up Again: For several weeks, most of the activity in the West Pasture has been hauling of excavated sediment to the quarries. However, hauling from this pasture will end this week, and the contractor will begin next week removing portions of the northern sections of the Lagunitas Creek levee. The contractor will access this area from the North Levee, which will start to be deconstructed at the end of September. Construction and equipment activity on the North Levee will require permanent closure of the informal path in this area starting approximately September 15, as the trail will be removed as part of levee removal.

  • Olema Marsh Restoration: In two weeks, the contractor will breach a portion of a small berm that limits hydrologic connectivity of Bear Valley Creek with Lagunitas Creek. Bear Valley Creek flows into Olema Marsh, which is severely impounded due to loss of outflow through one culvert and the presence of an earthen berm near the inlet of the remaining culvert. No material will be off-hauled from Olema Marsh. This restoration component will require temporary closure of the Olema Marsh Trail starting approximately September 22. The closure is not expected to extend beyond October 1.

  • Hauling and Disposal of Sediment: Hauling of excavated sediment from the West Pasture to the quarries will end this week. Hauling from the East Pasture is expected to begin September 29 and run for two to three weeks. Hauling is being conducted with biodiesel-fueled trucks. Most of the East Pasture levee material has been used to fill drainage ditches and construct high tide refugia, with the rest being used at the Dairy Mesa to restore the natural topography of the Mesa.

  • Tidal Channel Creation and Realignment of Tomasini Creek: Construction contractors are currently focusing on creation of tidal channels and sloughs and high tide refugia for rails in the northern and central portions of the East Pasture. The middle and lower Tomasini Slough channels have been completed, and contractors are working on the upper Tomasini Slough currently. In addition, this week, contractors will be starting on connecting the currently leveed section of Tomasini Creek to the new upper Tomasini Slough. The Tomasini Slough will be the new alignment for the currently leveed portion of Tomasini Creek within the Giacomini Ranch. Starting today, the contractors will begin some of the smaller tidal channels in the East Pasture.

  • Levee Removal: All of the levees have been removed in the East Pasture, and the central and southernmost portions of West Pasture levees have been removed. Final removal of levees in the West Pasture will begin next week (see West Pasture Starts Up Again). At some of the southernmost areas, levees have been completely removed, but in the middle and northern portions of the ranch, a small amount of outer levee material is being retained as a berm to maintain dry working conditions through late October.

  • Eucalyptus Removal: a separate set of contractors has completed removal of a large portion of the non-native Eucalyptus trees on the Giacomini Ranch property near the Martinelli Ranch, which is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Thanks to a donation by a local member of the Point Reyes community, more than 60 medium- and large-sized Eucalyptus trees were felled and, when possible, chipped and evenly redistributed within the work area. Smaller-diameter trees will cut by Park Service staff during the next month. This week, Park Service staff will begin felling some of the smaller trees within the work area.

  • On Saturday, September 27, Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) and the Seashore will be hosting the second of four field seminars on the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project. The seminar on September 27 will focus on challenges and opportunities in restoring estuarine wetlands and changes expected with the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project. The presentation will be led by Lorraine Parsons, Wetland Ecologist for the Seashore and Project Manager for the Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project. In addition, there will be an update on status of the Giacomini construction project. All of the seminars are open to the public at no cost. The workshops and seminars will meet at 10 a.m. at the corner of 5th and C Streets in Point Reyes Station.

Other Field Seminar Topics include:

  • Saturday, October 25: Giacomini Wetland Restoration Project: Dynamics of bird use (Jules Evens, Principal, Avocet Research Associates);
  • Saturday, November 22: Changing flow patterns and fish use in the Giacomini Restoration Area (Brannon Ketcham, Hydrologist/Water Resources Chief; Michael Reichmuth, Fisheries Biologist, Seashore).

Lorraine Parsons
Wetlands Ecologist
Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project Manager
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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September 9, 2008

The full moon rises on September 15 at 2:13 a.m. This moon brings some very high afternoon daylight tides between 5.7 and 6.3 feet, so plan beach excursions early in the day. The autumnal equinox follows on the next Monday, August 22nd as we begin to lose a few moments of daylight each day.

Warm weather has created excellent marine mammal viewing from Limantour Beach. Breaching minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises were observed across the weekend from the beach along with many loons and common murres. It is possible some type of "bloom" of food associated with warmer water temperatures is drawing in the feasting crowds although we often see humpbacks and blues at this time of year. Large numbers of Sooty Shearwaters are feeding off Abbots Lagoon. On Tomales Bay, a die off of moon jellies has washed in many blobs of clear jelly with the trademark white crescents. These are a favorite food for sea turtles. Unfortunately, plastic bags in the water can mimic the drifting jellies and are eaten by turtles. The indigestible bags block absorption of nutrients and food and can cause malnutrition and death for the turtles. A reminder, the brown colored Lions Mane jellies can cause an allergic reaction if you brush against; a sting was reported from Drakes Beach last Saturday. Avoid them on the beach!

Snowy Plovers hung in there this year, final numbers approximately 16% survival rate; 33 birds hatched and five fledged. Some of the nesting area was disturbed by clean up for a shipwreck that washed ashore at Kehoe Beach; cautious Dad Plover managed to shield the last three from this disturbance.

Excellent year for berries all round, the latest fruit is Blue Elderberry, large dusky dark purple-blue clusters are draped over Bear Valley Road and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard especially in the San Geronimo Valley. Buckeye nut pods are appearing as the leaves are dropped, the green balls can be seen on the trees.

Coastal Clean Up Day is coming up on Saturday, September 20th. Meet at Limantour Beach at 9:30 a.m. to clean up trash and enjoy the day.

A permit has been issued for September 14th for the annual "Piper On the Ridge" event on Mount Vision Road. The annual event features a bagpiper greeting the rising full moon and begins approximately 7:00 p.m. Free, but no dogs permitted. Check on whether extreme fire danger may close the road.

PG&E will be working in the pastures off North Beach for the next few weeks, restringing lines over the fields; no effect on services or traffic is expected.

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September 4, 2008

Park rangers were called to car break-ins at the Lighthouse parking lot and Chicken Ranch beach yesterday afternoon. These were 'smash and grabs' where items like backpacks, wallets, cameras etc. were left in view and a quick smash of a window and grab of the item was made. Please leave valuables at home or secure out-of-sight. Unfortunately, watch for broken glass along the roadway entrance for Chicken Ranch—they are not sure they got it all cleaned up yet.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


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