Protecting the SFPUC’s Watersheds One Project at a Time

“This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us,” said SFPUC’s Rangeland Manager Clayton Koopmann, as he considered the grass and oak-covered hillsides of the Wool Ranch in southern Alameda County. The SFPUC recently purchased the 787-acre parcel of land that was formerly owned by the Wool Family for $9.7 million. “The SFPUC owns the property on…

Look Out for the Crane on Lower Crystal Springs Dam

Starting February 10, SFPUC crews will begin minor construction work on the top of Lower Crystal Springs Dam. The space between the dam and the newly-constructed bridge on top of it is relatively small. So, crews need the help of a giant crane to ferry equipment and supplies to the top of the dam. Crews…

Why Does the SFPUC Celebrate a New (Water) Year in October?

For the SFPUC’s Water Resource Engineers, October is the first month of the year –  the Water Year, that is. Every year on October 1, the engineers reset and start tracking water data starting at zero.  The question is, why?  Let’s start at the beginning. The SFPUC delivers drinking water to 2.7 million customers in four…

“Rushing” Native Plant Restoration at Lower Crystal Springs Dam

“This is a big deal for us,” said Mia Ingolia, SFPUC Senior Biologist. Like proud parents, SFPUC Natural Resources and Lands Management staff gazed down upon hundreds of newly-planted green shoots on the banks of San Mateo Creek. The adoration is absolutely deserved. These are the first plants grown at the Sunol Native Plant Nursery to…

Meet the Snake with Racing Stripes at the Alameda Creek Watershed

In the Sunol Valley, there is a special species of snake that lives in the Alameda Creek Watershed. It is no other than the Alameda whipsnake, or sometimes called the Alameda Striped Racer, (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), a subspecies of the California whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis). It has made the coastal scrub, chaparral, and grassland habitats in…

Watch Out for the Creepy Crawlies at Calaveras Dam

Fall is tarantula time in the Sunol Valley. The annual ‘tarantula migration’, which, begins in September through end of fall, is underway. Normally shy, living underground in burrows, and nocturnal, these hairy spiders are on the move. Turns out that after about five years of living alone (maturing in a burrow), male tarantulas head out in…