A Look Back in History: Predatory Animals on Peninsula Watershed

A letter from the San Francisco Water Department dated 1963 addressed to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) outlines an interesting dilemma. Evidently the DOI is interested in abating predatory animals on the peninsula watershed lands. They have proposed to do so using “steel traps.” And they have requested the Department “take certain positive…

A Look Back in History: Crystal Springs Reservoir

The photo above is from 1960 and is a north facing aerial view of Crystal Springs Reservoir. Crystal Springs Reservoir is a pair of artificial lakes located in the rift valley created by the San Andreas Fault to the west of the cities of San Mateo and Hillsborough. The lakes are part of the San…

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…

Getting the Perfect Shot, a Filmmaker’s Journey to O’Shaughnessy Dam

Some people may know that the backbone of the SFPUC’s Regional Water System is the O’Shaughnessy Dam. This dam has long been recognized as an engineering marvel, but not many people really know why.  To answer that question, and provide the wider world a glimpse of the marvels of the O’Shaughnessy Dam, SFPUC staff leapt…

Bats are Here and Everywhere

Today is Halloween and images of bats are everywhere. Just like the real thing. Bats are especially plentiful where there is water and warm weather. Bats are migratory creatures and need long stretches of land to hunt for insects. Development fragments their habitat making it difficult to be able to hunt and roost. Bats consume…

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…