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A winter waxwing searches for fallen berries.
Photo by Ingrid Taylar
FOSC is a volunteer-based, community organization that conducts education, monitoring, and restoration programs in the Sausal Creek Watershed. 
Support Friends of Sausal Creek on GivingTuesday!
Closing out a tumultuous 2020
Today, December 1, is GivingTuesday and we hope you will take a moment, right now, and donate to Friends of Sausal Creek in support of the ongoing work in our watershed. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. 
This year has tested our community in unbelievable ways––from the passing of loved ones due to the pandemic, to the closing of schools and businesses, to climate-related extreme weather events, to the ugly realities of systemic racism. But what has emerged is the healing power of local natural areas like Sausal Creek, protected and enhanced by Friends like you. 
As our organization enters its 25th year, we are proud to be able to show that our work matters. We have weathered the lean years and matured into an efficient and effective community organization that residents, regulatory agencies, and elected officials turn to when confronted with the challenges of restoring and protecting an urban creek. An organization built entirely on the sweat and dedication of concerned community members.
Today we ask for your financial support—support for a time-tested organization that is making a tangible difference in the community. A quarter century is an eye-blink compared to how long the creek has been here. Our work has barely begun. Thank you for your loyal support.

Click on the Donate button below and choose how you would like to give. Consider signing up to be a monthly supporter.

Community Event
The King Tides are Back
The California King Tides Project is calling on you to photograph our highest high tides of the year at a shoreline near you, from December 13-15. 
Why care about the King Tides? As the highest tides of the year, King Tides are of interest to scientists, planners, and engineers for the insights they provide into the nature of a future, higher sea level. While King Tides themselves are not caused by sea level rise, they surpass normal tides by a foot or two. Since future tides are expected to rise on average one to two feet over the coming decades, observing the King Tides today can help us imagine our shoreline years into the future and plan accordingly.
The Friends of Sausal Creek community is invited to document these King Tides from a safe distance at Fruitvale Bridge or other nearby shoreline. You can find your local King Tide times on this map and learn how to upload your photos on this website.
Sharing your photos and talking about what you've noticed encourages others to join the local community that cares about and is trying to mitigate climate change.
We can't wait to see your photos! Don't forget to tag #KingTides and Friends of Sausal Creek on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

For more information on the King Tides, and to see photos from previous tides, visit www.california.kingtides.net

Explore the Watershed
November in the Pollinator Garden
By Kathleen Harris
The blossoms of spring and summer have set their seed and gone to sleep. All of the insects that collected their pollen and nectar have moved in (bees overwinter as larvae or pupae underground or in hollow twigs or stems) or moved on (monarch butterflies, dragonflies, and milkweed bugs migrate each year). The garden, waiting for the winter rains, is dry and quiet. No mugwort flowers, no sticky monkeyflower blossoms, no pretty poppies with their feast of pollen for the bees.

But what is that shrub in the back, still covered with flowers? It’s a female coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis), a member of the daisy family and native to the West Coast. It can grow up to about 10 feet and is often found in disturbed areas.
It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. And it blooms, males first, then females, during the very driest part of the year, when no other resources are available, providing nectar for most of the predatory wasps, native skippers (small butterflies), and a bunch of native flies. 

Read the full article here
Kudos Corner
Investigating an Acacia-Killing Culprit
Mike Doyle and John Brega noticed it along the western part of the Sunset Trail in Joaquin Miller Park. May Chen saw it above the Bridgeview Trail in Dimond Canyon. Mark Rauzon noticed it and made a video and spoke with the media. Karen Paulsell found occurrences in Joaquin Miller Park and Dimond Canyon and started mapping it. Homeowners near Leona Heights, the next watershed south, noticed it too: an entire hill -- hundreds of acacia trees -- turning orange. On November 16, it made the local news. KPIX did a story on the unexplained disease at the Leona site where homeowners say that it started last year. 
What is it? We don’t know, but it’s killing blackwood acacia, Acacia melanoxylon, in the Bay Area. It can cause cankers on the trunks and scorches the leaves, turning them brilliant orange or reddish tan. Acacias, originally from Australia, are drought tolerant; the problem is not drought, or heat, or ash deposits from fires. 
Top: a healthy long-leaf acacia. Bottom: infected acacias.
What we do know is that it’s contagious, and scientists and other observers are finding that it is present in other parts of the Bay Area as well as in other species. So far, it has been found as far north as the Carquinez Bridge and in San Mateo County.

The City of Oakland’s Tree Services, and researchers from the U.C. Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Forest Service are now examining trees, taking samples, and trying to determine the culprit.  Results are inconclusive but a tentative suspect is pistachio canker, a pathogen identified fairly recently in Italy and now also found in California.

For now, we watch, we document, and we wait for the results. Homeowner tip: If you cut an infected tree on your property, the best thing to do with the wood is to leave it in place, either as logs or as chips. Moving the material could spread the pathogen, whatever it is. 
Thank you FOSC volunteers, agency staff, and regional scientists for your leadership and ongoing efforts to document and identify this pathogen. Stay tuned for a fuller report and updates in the FOSC January 2021 newsletter.
FOSC Friend of the Month
Tara Parker-Essig

Tara has been a FOSC volunteer and community member for two years. They were introduced to FOSC by way of a Friends of the Montclair Railroad Trail workday which they attended after deciding to pursue a career in sustainable landscaping

Tara has been actively volunteering at the native plant nursery, assisting in the protection of the endangered pallid manzanitas, working the native plant sale, and participating in FOSC community activities.

Tara is grateful that so many people care about and work to improve watershed health, and for so many years. Tara says they are filled with "a kind of inter-generational hope” inspired by all who steward the Sausal Creek Watershed.

Thank you, Tara, for sharing your skills and enthusiasm!
If you would like to nominate a Friend of the Month, contact education@sausalcreek.org.
Event Calendar
FOSC Events in December

Annual Solstice Planting - Date to Be Determined
Typically FOSC coordinates a native planting day in celebration of the Solstice and the beginning of the winter rains. We are grateful for the first rain but we are not certain when there will be sufficient rain for planting. Please check back on the FOSC website and calendar starting in early December for an update on locations and dates. We look forward to getting out in the watershed with you!

Pollinator Garden Workday at Bridgeview
Sunday, December 6 and 20, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Workday
December 9, 12, 16, 23, 26 30, from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Restoration Workday in Dimond Park
Saturday, December 12, from 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.

Bridgeview Trail Restoration
Sunday, December 13 and 27, from 9:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.

Beaconsfield Canyon Restoration Workday
Saturday, December 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Please continue to practice safety by maintaining social distance, wearing a face covering, taking care of yourself, and staying healthy.

We will continue to update our event calendar as we monitor guidance for COVID-19.
Get Involved
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. 
FOSC needs your support -- 
Amazon Smile purchases donate 0.5% to FOSC --
Connect with us:

Jay Cassianni
Restoration and Nursery Manager
Anna Marie Schmidt
Executive Director

Jackie Van Der Hout
Community Education and Restoration
Photo Credits: Ingrid Taylar, Kathleen Harris, California King Tides, Karen Paulsell, Josh S. Jackson, Tara Parker-Essig