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January 2023 Watershed News

At our December Community Walk and Talk, Dr. Ben Carter and enthusiastic community members braved the pouring rain to check out mosses at Fern Ravine.

Photo by Amaya Griego.

Friends of Sausal Creek is a volunteer-based, community organization. We appreciate your support of our education, monitoring, and restoration programs in the

Sausal Creek Watershed. 


Upcoming Events

MLK Jr. Day of Service

Multiple Watershed Sites | Sunday, January 15 and Monday, January 16

Photo courtesy of Rowland Scherman - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Join Friends of Sausal Creek as we celebrate the civil rights leader's life and legacy as a day of community service, education, and commitment to practices that keep Oakland clean and green. We'll be planting native seedlings, restoring habitat, and beautifying our shared public spaces across the watershed.

Sunday, January 15:

  • Bridgeview Trailhead, 9-11 a.m.

Monday, January 16:

  • Dimond Park/Dimond Canyon, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Marj Saunders Park, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Several more sites will be added in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned to our event calendar for details.

Site info and RSVP here

King Tides and Oakland Estuary History Tour

Fruitvale Bridge Park | Sunday, January 22, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Start the new year off with a walking tour of the history and science of the Oakland Estuary.

Local historian Dennis Evanosky and hydrology engineer Dr. Dane Behrens will talk about the historical significance of this waterway as well as the King Tides phenomenon, sea level rise, and climate resilient strategies for our future.

We'll start at Fruitvale Bridge Park, where the Sausal Creek outlet meets the estuary and take a 3/4-mile stroll to the Tidewater Boating Center.

Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly.

RSVP here

Explore the Watershed

How Indigenous People Got Some Land Back in Oakland

Rinihmu Pulte’irekne, formerly Sequoia Point, in Joaquin Miller Park.

Photo courtesy of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust

Bay Nature produced this piece in collaboration with News from Native California. With permission, we reprint that article here.

On the surface, Sequoia Point seems like another lovely spot in a Bay Area park, with gnarled oaks, towering old-growth redwoods and a glorious view of the Bay. But this scenic overlook in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park has now acquired new significance, and a new Chochenyo name—Rinihmu Pulte’irekne, meaning “Above the Red Ochre”—because the city government has voluntarily returned it to Indigenous hands.

Guananí Gómez-Van Cortright

Read the full article here

Friend of the Month

City of Oakland Public Works | Environmental Services Division Stewardship Team

Left to right: Ana Martinez, Jen Duryea, and Chino Uzowihe.

The Environmental Services Division Stewardship Team and FOSC staff touring Fern Ravine.

Our staff was excited to meet with the City of Oakland's small but mighty Environmental Services Division Stewardship Team, led by Ana Martinez in late 2022. On a walking tour of several FOSC and city-supported sites in Joaquin Miller Park, we discussed ways in which we can best collaborate on current and future projects throughout the watershed.

This crew works behind the scenes to support over 800 Adopt-A-Spot sites and over 1,000 Adopt-A-Drains in Oakland, offering tool lending, debris pick-up, and technical support. They coordinate large city-wide events like the upcoming MLK Jr. Day of Service and partner with many nonprofit organizations, schools, and other City of Oakland departments on a range of hands-on stewardship projects from graffiti removal to tree planting.

Ana and her team are particularly passionate about coordinating youth outdoor experiential learning activities all over Oakland. We look forward to partnering on this shared vision in 2023.

Ana, Jen, and Chino—Thank you for all that you do!

If you are interested in adopting a public space and committing to regularly cleaning and maintaining it, visit www.oaklandadoptaspot.org.

FOSC is Hiring

Executive Director Search

A message from Anna Marie Schmidt:

Being the executive director of the Friends of Sausal Creek for the past five years has been a true privilege for me. As I announce my retirement, I want to thank you—the community of volunteers, donors, city and other nonprofit agency partners—for your care and advocacy for this unique watershed. It is these relationships that have made my service with Friends of Sausal Creek such a fulfilling experience. 

The organization has a strong foundation of dedicated and capable staff, driven volunteers, exciting projects, and sound operations, and I am confident that the board of directors will bring on a new leader with the drive and talent to lead FOSC into the next era.

I will continue in my role until a new executive director comes on board and will see the team through a successful transition. Again, thank you for your support and participation, which has made my time at the helm so worthwhile.

—Anna Marie Schmidt

A message from the FOSC Board of Directors:

As Anna Marie announces her plans to retire as the executive director of Friends of Sausal Creek, we want to express our deep gratitude for her service to the watershed.

Thanks to her leadership and passion, and the dedication of volunteers, board, and staff, FOSC is a thriving organization reaching thousands of individuals in the Bay Area. Our programs and projects bring people from diverse backgrounds together to learn about and steward this watershed. 

We are proud of the achievements this organization has spearheaded to improve the watershed for the people, wildlife, and plant communities that make this urban creek unique, and we will carry on with this important work through the leadership transition. 

Friends of Sausal Creek is seeking its next bold, innovative, and inspiring leader. As we search for our next executive director, we encourage you, our community, to help spread the word. See the job announcement below or on our website and feel free to forward it to your network.

We wish Anna Marie all the best in her next adventures!

—FOSC Board of Directors

See full position description

Kudos Corner

Solstice Planters

Thank you to all the volunteers and site leaders who participated in our annual solstice planting event in mid-December. With the help of many hands, we planted over 1,000 native seedlings at several sites across the watershed—Beaconsfield Canyon, Bienati Creek Overlook, Bridgeview Trailhead, Dimond Canyon, and Fern Ravine.

Eagle Scout Project in Joaquin Miller Park

Bridging Generations

Cole Trimble (left) and volunteers breaking ground on the Fern Ravine bridge.

The completed bridge in the redwood understory with handrails added by Rob Leidy.

Eagle Scout candidate Cole Trimble of Lafayette Troop #219, with the help and guidance of his father, Keith Trimble, project managers, Rob Leidy and Dale Risden, and volunteers, completed a greatly anticipated foot bridge at Fern Ravine in November.

The 20-foot-long, reclaimed redwood bridge crosses an ecologically sensitive transition zone where water stored in the wetlands flows into Fern Ravine Creek and ultimately into Sausal Creek. The bridge is designed to protect the area from further trampling and compaction and allow for recovery of the native wetland and redwood understory—much like the successful revegetation we've seen result from the installment of protective split-rail fences.

Years ago, as a young Scout, Cole's father built the bridge on the Sinawik Trail where it crosses Palo Seco Creek. Keith reflected on the cross-generational achievements, "We are both proud to have enhanced the park by helping protect its natural beauty. It was a thrill for me as a young Scout and an even bigger thrill to help Cole create his own bridge in the same park."

Thank you, Trimbles and team, for your dedication to protecting Joaquin Miller Park across generations and for many years to come.

New FOSC Board Member

Welcome Russell Huddleston

Russell is a botanist and plant ecologist with over 20 years of experience working throughout California and the West. He has a B.S. in biology from Southern Oregon University and an M.S. in ecology from U.C. Davis. Russell has long been interested in vernal pool ecosystems, and he continues to be a volunteer docent at the Jepson Prairie Preserve in Solano County. He also has a strong interest in native plant communities and rare plants—previously serving as the rare plant chair with the Sacramento Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and currently on the board of the Northern California Botanists. Russell lives in Oakland and works in the Wetlands and Oceans Section of the U.S. EPA’s Water Division in San Francisco. In his spare time, he enjoys birdwatching, hiking, canoeing and the performing arts.

Welcome to the team, Russell!

End of Year Match

Thank You For Your Support!

Thank you donors for your generous gifts throughout 2022 and for rallying behind our end-of-year fundraiser. We are just shy of our $15,000 match goal but hope the last few checks trickling in through the mail will take us over the line.

Donations are appreciated anytime throughout the year to support our mission and programs. To give a gift or become a sustaining donor, please visit our website.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

The FOSC Team

Epic New Year's Eve Flood

Photos and Video From the Watershed

FOSC erosion control site in Dimond Canyon. Photo by Bob Roat.

Flooding in Dimond Park. Video by Mark Rauzon.

2022 made a dramatic exit with record rainfall across the Bay Area on New Year's Eve. Some members of our FOSC team were out on the scene documenting conditions in the watershed.

We were pleased to see clear water entering the creek at an erosion control project site that manages water runoff from storm drain outlets above the creek in Dimond Canyon. The engineered cascade and surrounding native vegetation is designed to slow the stormwater runoff and stabilize the slope.

Despite historic flows which overtopped the culvert in Sausal Creek by Lions pool, the daylighted section of the creek in Dimond Park performed well—the willow stands buttressing and maintaining the slopes.

Thanks also to Oakland Public Works for expediting the temporary repair of the sink hole across from Lions pool. The repair mostly held, with some minor erosion behind the wall. Without that repair, the damage to the park and to the buckeye trees could have been severe.

Footage of these areas can be seen in Mark Rauzon's video linked here, and more footage across the watershed is available below.

View more photos and videos

Event Calendar

FOSC prioritizes the health and safety of the community, monitoring Alameda County Public Health Department guidance on COVID-19 precautions.

We need volunteers in the watershed now more than ever!

Join us for one of our many workdays this January.

View the FOSC Calendar

Bridgeview Trailhead Workday

*RSVP Required*

Sundays in January, 9-11 a.m.

Bridgeview Pollinator Garden

Dimond Canyon Restoration Workday

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Saturday, January 7, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Drop-In Hours

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Wednesdays in January, 1-4 p.m.

Saturday, January 7 and 21, 1-4 p.m.

Friends of Sausal Creek Native Plant Nursery

MLK Jr. Day of Service Volunteer Event

*RSVP Required*

  • Sunday, January 15, 9-11 a.m. - Bridgeview Pollinator Garden
  • Monday, January 16, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. - Dimond Park/Dimond Canyon
  • Monday, January 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Marj Saunders Park

Monterey Redwoods Planting Workday

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Saturday, January 21, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Beaconsfield Canyon Restoration Workday

*RSVP Required* for groups of four or more

Sunday, January 21, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Beaconsfield Canyon, Beaconsfield Place off Chelton Drive

King Tides and Oakland Estuary Tour

*RSVP Required*

Sunday, January 22, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Fruitvale Bridge Park

Friends of Sausal Creek is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to restore, maintain, and protect the Sausal Creek Watershed. We educate future generations, involve the community in local environmental stewardship, and collaborate with agencies and other nonprofits to have a positive impact on the local ecosystem.

How to get involved:

FOSC Website

Join our Listserv

Event Calendar


Connect With Us:

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

Photo Credits:

Amaya Griego, Anna Marie Schmidt, Kate Berlin, Ana Martinez, Rob Leidy, Cole Trimble, Russell Huddleston, Bob Roat, Mark Rauzon


Anna Marie Schmidt

Executive Director



Ella Matsuda

Restoration and Nursery Manager



Amaya Griego

Education and Outreach Manager


Kate Berlin

Communications and Operations Manager