M A Y 2 0 2 1
hooded oriole at Wood Park photographed during April's quarterly bird monitoring.
Photo by Mark Rauzon.
Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) is a volunteer-based, community organization. We appreciate your support of our education, monitoring, and restoration programs in the Sausal Creek Watershed. 
May Community Talk
Working with Fire
Join prescribed fire practitioners Brian Peterson and Jacob McDaniel for the Friends of Sausal Creek's May Community Talk on Thursday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. Our speakers will discuss how working with fire can benefit the Bay Area's communities and ecosystems and answer commonly asked questions about prescribed burning. With the approach of fire season, this timely talk is relevant for all California residents, whether urban, rural, or in-between.
Brian Peterson is a consulting fire ecologist for Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward program. He received a master’s degree from San Francisco State University in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology in 2015 and has completed two Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX).
Jacob McDaniel, a Grizzly Corps climate fellow with the Sonoma Resource Conservation District, works to increase climate resiliency and support the implementation of regenerative agriculture practices among Sonoma RCD partners. He holds a B.S. in environmental science from Evergreen State College. Jacob has participated in the Bay Area TREX and is an incoming fellow with Fire Forward.

This virtual event is free, and attendance is by registration only!
Community Science Opportunity
Sign up today! East Bay Sudden Oak Death Blitz
Today -- May 7 -- is the last day to sign up for this year's Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitz! The SOD Blitz starts this weekend and runs from May 8 –11. This annual community science effort led by the U.C. Berkeley Forest Pathology Laboratory is recruiting volunteers for the upcoming East Bay SOD-blitz.

Sample pick-up and drop-off are at U.C. Berkeley. Please register today and get more information at www.sodblitz.org

This is a great way to help protect the oaks of the Sausal Creek watershed and contribute to science, and it's fun! 

If you are signed up and want to survey in the Sausal Creek Watershed, send an email at education@sausalcreek.org to let us know where you plan on surveying. 

See you in the watershed!
Explore the Watershed
Exploring Sausal Creek Watershed Parks
Article courtesy of the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plants Society

Oakland has built over most of its iconic woodlands, but we can still visit undeveloped oak woodland habitat and other local native plants along Sausal Creek in four of the creek’s watershed parks: Dimond Park, Dimond Canyon Open Space, Joaquin Miller Park, and Beaconsfield Canyon Park. Construction of walkways and buildings before World War II did not remove the parks’ existing vegetation, much to our present benefit. Despite intrusion of exotic horticultural plants, stands remain of coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia), California buckeyes (Aesculus californica), alders (Alnus sp.), bays (Umbellularia californica), redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), and several willow (Salix) species. I’ve always enjoyed the continued survival of green pockets of riparian vegetation through the oak woodlands in these local parks. California buckeyes (Aesculus californica) grow naturally in Dimond Park and Dimond Canyon, but those in Joaquin Miller Park were planted. 

Above: California buckeyes (Aesculus californica) grow naturally in Dimond Park and Dimond Canyon, but those in Joaquin Miller Park were planted. Watercolor painting by Janet Gawthrop.
Kudos Corner
Eagle Scouts - Will Davies
Huge kudos this month go to Scout Will Davies and Piedmont Troop 11. Inspired by his time mountain biking in Joaquin Miller Park, Will completed his Eagle Scout project with the Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) to help preserve trail boundaries and prevent erosion."I know that mountain biking contributes to erosion and damage to the watershed, so I would like to do what I can to restore and protect the trails and creek systems," Will explained in his project proposal to the Oakland Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. He addressed this problem by installing a fence at an unmarked location where people have been crossing the creek between the Sinawik and Palos Colorados trails.

Will and his team fundraised to cover the cost of the project and constructed a total of 100 feet of split rail wood fences. This new project was done in accordance with East Bay Regional Parks District’s fence specifications. Future signage by FOSC will explain the benefits of the project. 
Thank you, Will, for your leadership on this issue and your hard work to protect the watershed and the creek from harmful erosion.
FOSC Friend of the Month
Harry Schrauth
On this 25th Year Anniversary of the Friends of Sausal Creek, we want to spotlight the stories of some of the founders and their vision for the future of the watershed. Hear from founder Harry Schrauth about his journey with Friends of Sausal Creek:
Harry Schrauth was working as the director of environmental services for the City of Oakland 25 years ago when Friends of Sausal Creek was first started as a small volunteer-run organization. A resident in Montclair, Harry first attended a workday that same year and from there began spending his weekends removing brush along the creek. Harry’s professional life started to connect to FOSC when, in collaboration with Lesley Estes (City of Oakland) and Michael Thilgen (FOSC), he took part in developing a FOSC master plan. Through Lesley’s efforts, a $15,000 grant was acquired, which laid the groundwork for future restoration and stewardship at Joaquin Miller Park, Dimond Park, and beyond.

Through his role with the city, Harry initially worked with the tree department to remove trees blocking the creek and was instrumental in developing a demonstration garden in Dimond Park. To Harry, that project was a turning point that signified FOSC’s potential creative contributions to the watershed outside of the eternal battle against invasive plants and generated positive energy in the community as people looked for ways to get involved.

After Harry retired in 2004, he joined the FOSC board of directors. Since then, Harry has helped FOSC secure funding for staffing, obtain the permits needed to build the Joaquin Miller Park Native Plant Nursery, and coordinate FOSC projects with the city. As a liaison with city departments, Harry has been able to further important projects like printing the iconic watershed maps that FOSC distributes for free throughout the watershed.

Reflecting on his proudest accomplishments during the last 25 years, Harry immediately brought up the daylighting project in Dimond Park. “Daylighting changed the whole dynamics of Dimond Park,” Harry explained. “When I was a kid, I lived by 35th, and we would go to the creek and people would chase us out, saying it was private property. Now it is safer to play there, and it has changed the whole feel in the park.” For Harry, the daylighting project changed not only how the space was used but also how it felt. Being able to see the creek flowing is a very different experience than knowing it is flowing beneath the concrete.

Looking forward to the next 25 years, Harry hopes to see more connectivity of the creek throughout the watershed and more daylighting. While it might be extremely costly and logistically complex to daylight long stretches of Sausal Creek, it might be possible work on smaller stretches, a little bit at a time. Developing mini creek sites or parks, such as Wood Park, could go a long way towards providing more habitat and opening up the creek on its journey to the estuary, giving Oakland’s communities more access and ability to enjoy the creek and watershed.

Lastly Harry wants to send this message to the readers of the FOSC newsletter: “Come down and enjoy the creek, even in times of COVID, it’s a special place.”

Harry Schrauth, retired Oakland Public Works administrator, is an emeritus board member with Friends of Sausal Creek, having joined the board in 2006. He has been active with FOSC since its inception. He has a B.S. degree in recreation and physical education from San Francisco State College, an M.S. in recreation administration from the University of Illinois, and an M.P.A. in public administration from Golden Gate University.
If you would like to nominate a Friend of the Month, contact education@sausalcreek.org.
Event Calendar
Upcoming FOSC Events:

East Bay locations from May 8 --11
More information and registration at link above

Thursday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Online Event
Attendance by Registration Only

Featured volunteer events:

Restoration along Sausal Creek
El Centro Trailhead
Saturday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m.

Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Drop-In
Wednesdays in May from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Oak Tree Rescue (Pollinator Garden Ivy Removal)
Sunday, May 9 and 23 at 9:00 a.m.

Pollinator Garden Workday at Bridgeview Trailhead
Sunday, May 16 at 9:00 a.mm

Native Plant Nursery Workday
Saturday, May 8 and May 22 at 1:30 p.m.

Beaconsfield Canyon Restoration Workday
Saturday, May 29 at 9:00 a.m.

FOSC is now accepting volunteers for outdoor and distanced workdays on a limited basis and RSVP only. Contact the listed event leader from our events calendar to sign up!
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:

Anna Marie Schmidt
Executive Director

Jay Cassianni
Restoration and Nursery Manager
Jackie Van Der Hout
Community Education and Restoration
Photo Credits: Mark Rauzon, Janet Gawthrop, Jacob McDaniel, Will Davies, Jay Cassianni, Jim Nickles