On Thursday our group went on a walking tour of Strawberry Creek to investigate and search for successful restoration strategies that our predecessors have already employed. Our excursion started at the confluence of the North and South forks of Strawberry Creek, went up to the Botanical Gardens, and returned along the South fork back to campus. Our search was very successful especially in the Winter Creek area in the Mather Redwood Grove of the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. We found informative examples of rock step pools, live cribwalls, stone gabions, and natural vegetation throughout our exploration.
On a personal level we experienced the following:
- Aysha, our fearless project manager, led us through the thickest blackberry bush I have ever seen–in shorts and a tank top! She also enjoyed the spoils of fresh blackberries and plums along the way.
- Pete, also a brave soul, followed right behind Aysha in shorts and tennis shoes. He made many observations about the ecological systems in the creek and enjoyed some of the delicious plums.
- Junice made the whole trek in sandals–a brave move, especially after we stepped on a log full of termites. She was also inspired by all of the native plants we found along the way.
- Jackie stepped in a lot of mud but was otherwise unscathed by the wilderness. She enjoyed many plums from a fruitful tree.
Before our tour, we were also inspired by a man who charted the GPS coordinates of sites he enjoyed throughout the Strawberry Creek watershed (click here to see his website). Following suit, we decided to utilize our smartphone technology and record the locations of all our pictures.
(37.873, -122.262) Examples of log weirs (fallen tress) can be found right in the middle of campus between VLSB and the East Asian Library.
(37.875,-122.24) Junice and Aysha investigate the variety of plants along Winter Creek in the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens.
(37.875,-122.24) Examples of stone step pools designed by ESA PWA. Although the creekbed is very dry during the summer, this strategy is particularly effective during the wet winter months.
(37.875,-122.24) Everyone walking up the creek bed to investigate more vegetation and erosion control strategies.
(37.875,-122.24) Aysha identified a wild California Rose!
(37.875,-122.24) These are called stone gabions. Essentially they are large metal-mesh sacks filled with rocks. They stabilize the creek bank.
(37.875,-122.24) Pete and Junice look for animals in the water.
(37.875,-122.24) This is an example of a live cribwall. If you look closely you will notice “steps” in the earth covered with a rough net. Live willow branches were planted in these steps.
(37.875,-122.24) After about one year, the branches grew into a thick willow grove.
(37.875,-122.24) Can we use wild California grapes to outnumber english ivy? Maybe if there is enough sun.
(37.875,-122.24) Ideas for vegetation growing in the creek. A variety of habitats is key to a thriving ecosystem.
(37.875, -122.235) The Asian garden example in UC Berkeley’s Botanical Gardens gave us ideas for landscaping in and around the creek.
(37.875, -122.237) Neat step ideas for accessing the creek.
(37.875, -122.238) This was a nice example of stone step pools. Although the waterfall in the back is too tall for fish to safely travel, the waterfall in front is perfect for them.
(37.875, -122.238) The same waterfall suitable for fish travel.
(37.872, -122.241) Our fearless project manager Aysha wrestled the spiny brambles to see how the creek water travels down the hill.
(37.872, -122.243) We traversed through thickets of trees along the creekbed from the Botanical Garden to The Strawberry Canyon Recreation Center. Can you see the deer?
(37.872, -122.243) The creek bed was surpsingly dry in this stretch. We determined that there must be a culvert underground redirecting the water towards Berkeley Campus.
(37.872, -122.243) Fortunately, we managed not to get poison oak in all of this nature.
(37.872, -122.255) At the end of our creek excursion, back on campus, we found the mouth of the culvert.