Latest from Neighborhood Natural History

Amongst marshes, a salty past

May 18, 2012 by Eric Galan

The Hayward regional shoreline consists of over a thousand acres of marshes and seasonal wetlands. At low tide sandpipers and black stilts wander about the mud flats searching for food, while cyclists and runners exercise along a 5-mile trail.It’s hard to imagine that more than a hundred years ago, mounds of salt covered these same Hayward marshes like a fresh blanket of snow. The salt attracted harvesters, going way back to the original inhabitants.

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How Sausal Creek made Oakland

May 07, 2012 by Kelly Hackett

How do you develop a booming Oakland when there’s a big creek in your way? Bury it underground, cement it over, channel it with culverts, and turn it into a gravel quarry. Sounds like a plan, right?Sausal Creek has undoubtedly taken a lot of abuse. But one thing must be said: Oakland owes much of its economy to the roughly 3-mile creek that meanders from its headwaters in the Oakland Hills to the San Francisco Bay.

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A Wiggle in Time

March 14, 2012 by Kelly Hackett

If you ride your bike in San Francisco, chances are you have discovered The Wiggle, and you’re probably thankful you did. The meandering one-mile route from Duboce Ave to Fell St. saves cyclists from notoriously steep hills as they make their way from downtown to western neighborhoods.There's a reason why the riding is easy. The bike route was a once stream bed in a place called San Souci Valley, now thoroughly transformed into the Victorian-dotted neighborhoods of Duboce Triangle and the Lower Haight.

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Presidio’s forest resists the sands of time

February 02, 2012 by Kelly Hackett

The Presidio in San Francisco is a forested oasis, home to around 300 bird species. But once upon a time, the park was coastal dunes with nutrient-poor, shifting soils. Just how the Presidio was transformed is a story of one man's grand ambitions that are still playing out today, as stewards of the Presidio struggle to maintain a forest as an historic landmark.

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