This guest blog post was written by Josh Sonnenfeld, Campaign Manager for Save the Bay. This post is cross-posted from Save the Bay’s blog, one of the handful of environmental blogs I read regularly. If you care about the Bay, you should be reading it too.
A gem at the heart of Oakland, Lake Merritt has been many things – the nation’s first wildlife refuge, beloved waterway, sewage-filled cesspool, and even the rumored home to a lake monster. There’s one thing that Lake Merritt has never been, however – and that’s a lake.
What we now call Lake Merritt has for most of the past ten thousand years been a tidal lagoon where the waters of several East Bay creeks met the brackish tides of the Bay. Ringed with mudflats and tidal marsh, this lagoon was home to an abundance of native wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds.
This changed dramatically in 1869 as Oakland Mayor Samuel Merritt dammed the channel connecting the lagoon to the Bay. Later becoming the 12th Street Bridge, the lagoon’s water was forced through narrow culverts on its way in and out of the Bay, significantly reducing circulation and largely disconnecting the waterway from the rest of our great estuary. Continue reading
Blogging’s been a bit light here lately because I’ve been super busy and I was in Chicago last week for a much-needed vacation. I’ve been working on a long blog post (or possibly series of blog posts) about the County’s Measure B transportation reauthorization plan, but you’ll have to wait until next week for that. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of updates on issues I’ve blogged about – Damon Slough and the MTC headquarters relocation.
I’ll start with the bad (though unsurprising) news. The MTC voted last Wednesday to purchase 390 Main Street in San Francisco for their headquarters. Here’s a report from Joyce Roy: Continue reading
Every year Save the Bay identifies Bay Area trash hot spots – sites around the Bay that have high levels of trash. They release a report about these spots so you might have read about them in local newspapers. But this year, they’re going a step further. Anyone can vote for one of the five Bay Trash Hot Spots, and Save the Bay will organize volunteer clean ups at the winning site throughout 2012.
One of the five sites is Oakland’s Damon Slough. My initial reaction to seeing that was, huh, what’s a slough? And where is that? My second reaction was to vote for it because it’s in Oakland. Then, I did a little research.
A slough is a swamp or a creek, in this case one that drains into the Bay. If you’ve ever been to the Coliseum, you’ve certainly passed over Damon Slough, whether from BART or from the parking lot. Here’s an image from Google Maps: Continue reading
There’s been a lot of bad news in Oakland lately, and I know sometimes it’s easy to feel down about the City and to feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. But this Saturday, August 13th you can, at the Ella Baker Center’s Throw Down for the Town: The Oakland Service Festival.
The concept of this day is pretty awesome. Ella Baker Center put out a call for projects, and groups and individuals organized their own service projects as part of this day. That means that not only are there service projects spread out throughout the city – unless you live in the hills, chances are there’s a project a walk or a quick bus ride away from you – but there are many different types of projects you can participate in. You can beautify a park, set up a book room, garden, build with Habitat for Humanity (hmm, might you find another Oakland blogger there?), create a dog park, help with a community market, and so much more.
Here’s a map of all the locations: Continue reading