In order to direct water from our dirt road and into the creek, Jesse, one of our work-study students, is continuing a big project that was started last semester by work-study student Nathan. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, you will find Jesse working on a swale lined with Glauconite schist, a blue-green metamorphic stone that is found on the property.
Today we finished the retaining wall supporting the culvert. The wall building is done. Next, a drainage swale will be added on the north end to direct water from the road into the creek. We will also finish the south edge of the culvert wall with large rocks from the garden. Once we have a master plan and do the renovations to the top of the creek we will plant some native riparian species of plants under the large leaf maples and redwoods that grow in that area.
Our creek restoration project continues... Last Friday we started working on the culvert near the head house. We began by excavating the old concrete pieces around the old culvert that was originally installed during the 1970's. Over time projects like this need maintenance. We reused some of the old concrete and continued building with recycled concrete pieces donated by one of our volunteers, Celia. Behind the concrete pieces we sandwiched a geo-textile to prevent erosion. Darryl & Alex, work-study students from the Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning program, Anastasia from UC Media Studies and volunteers Peter and Sid, a UC engineering student helped with the project. At the time of this posting we are half way there. Next Friday we will try to install the upper courses of the wall, and re-grade the road above.
After much effort by many student and volunteer groups over the past two years to remove the invasive species from the creek edge, the UC Hydrology for Planners (LA222) class came to the garden and surveyed the upper reaches of the tributary of Cerrito Creek. After surveying and studying the flow of the creek this group of students will make recommendations to Blake Garden on how to proceed with the creek restoration project.
This year 28 students from UC Environments of the San Francisco Bay Area (ES 125)class taught by Prof. Bill Berry came to the garden for restoration efforts of several areas. Along with graduate and undergraduate workstudy students from UC Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department, Blake Garden Staff and Garden volunteers, we were also joined by a Cal alumni, Rusty Lamer (LAEP '08) to work on the projects. WETLAND GROUP: This area had been overtaken by Pampas grass among other invasive species that was choking out a small wetland that is perfect for frog (Pacific Chorus frog) and bird habitat. The group helped eradicate the invasive species, re-establish the shallow pool and plant native wetland species of plants around the pool. The frogs are happy, singing and proliferating already! [nggallery id=77] CREEK PATH GROUP: Himalayan blackberries and Algerian ivy had take over this area and made it impenetrable. The invasive species were choking out the trees and remaining native species of plants along the creek. Before the students arrived the process was already underway uncovering this portion of the creek. This is a tributary of Cerrito creek and it runs through the length of the garden . We had put in a path and now are working on opening up by eradicating invasive species in the area adjacent to the creek for views of the creek to the south and views of the northwestern parts of the garden. On old maps of the garden there is a rock out cropping noted somewhere buried under all the invasive species. We are working to uncover this out cropping. [nggallery id=75] CREEK RESTORATION GROUP: Invasive species such as Himalayan blackberries and Algerian ivy have covered this area and threatened the health of the redwoods planted here. By eradicating the invasives we expose the creek to access the conditions of the channel, the restoration efforts done in the 70's and to design for further improvements. Students from UC Hydrology for Planners class are now able to survey and make recommendations for a redesign of the creek bed and banks. We will replant the area with native riparian species of plants.
Theron Klos, Operations Manager from UC Berkeley campus asked Blake Garden for assistance in replacing a thirsty lawn on campus near Kroeber Hall. Since we had experience with that kind of project here at the garden (see Lawn Project posting) we were happy to help. First we met with Theron for a mini charrette, a design workshop, to brainstorm about a new design for that area. Attending were Blake staff, Landscape Architecture grad & undergrad students and UC campus grounds staff. After coming up with a design scheme, the real work began. Removal of the turf at the edges was done by UC campus grounds staff first. The existing inefficient irrigation was then disassembled. The Blake crew, made up of staff, volunteers, and work study students from the College of Environmental Design, came next. Along with UC grounds staff we rolled out layers of cardboard over the grass to deprive it of sun and eventually die out. Next on top came a 1" layer of compost, then 3" layer of mulch. The new drip irrigation is ready to be installed and finally we will plant drought tolerant, mostly native, habitat friendly plants. A new path has been made and will be surfaced with permeable pavement- decomposed granite. It will be stable enough to hold up to heavy foot traffic but will allow water to drain through capturing the water into the planting beds instead of running off and into the already taxed drainage system.