From time to time, the Mill Valley StreamKeepers plans activities open to the public in order to educate our citizenry of the needs of our watersheds, to encourage residents to preserve and protect them, to take part in a constructive activity and to have an enjoyable day, usually in the great outdoors.
In the past we have held stream Clean-Up Days, in which we participated in removing exotic plants and debris from our creek beds; led Creek Walks that followed a Mill Valley stream path and included an instructive discussion by a StreamKeeper; and participated in civic functions to spread the word about our organization and its goals.
On April 1, 2009 Mill Valley StreamKeepers is invited to a program arranged by Laura Chariton, one of our board members, for the Muir Woods Park Association. The free program, Community Watershed Forum, looks at two watersheds (Muir Woods and Mill Valley) and the importance of water to their ecological history: past to future. Bring fingerfoods to enjoy during refreshment time.
On March 10, 2009, the Mill Valley StreamKeepers presented a public program, Fires, Floods and Fish, OH MY!, focusing on these three topics. A discussion period followed the presentation.
On November 15, 2008 about 35 participants donned work gloves and enthusiastically participated in a free workshop implementing riparian restoration along the banks of Old Mill Creek in Old Mill Park. It was a glorious sunny day under the magnificent redwoods next to flowing waters working for future generations, the aquatic animals, Steelhead salmon habitat, and other wildlife.
Terri Fashing, Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP), workshop coordinator, planned the event for the Mill Valley StreamKeepers (MVSK). Harold Appleton, forester, arborist and erosion control specialist of Prunuske Chatham, oversaw the landscaping and plantings. Participants learned about permitting processes, native riparian plant recommendations, material resources, re-vegetation, erosion control, creek bank biotechnology and other restoration and propagation protocols. They also learned about creek side forest health and foundations of essential habitat for creek inhabitants. The site plan was based on a design by Katharine Cook, Artemis Garden Design. The agencies involved were MCSTOPPP, SASM, Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW), MVSK, and the City of Mill Valley. We were delighted to have not only Mill Valley residents but also individual from Friends of Five Creeks in Berkeley, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, and even a member of the Ross City Council.
This MVSK workshop was funded by part of a $12,000 Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM) grant. Money for the grant was part of a fine imposed by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFBRWQC) for a sewage spill into Richardson Bay.
Following the introduction, participants removed invasive English ivy on the steep library bank and on the west side of the creek. Shelves were dug in to prevent silt migration, root growth-enhancing mycorrhizal fungi were introduced, straw mesh erosion control fabric (Bionet) was laid and pinned, native grass seed spread and wattles staked into position. Bundled willows were staked horizontally into the steepest slope to prevent erosion. Once the substructures were complete the native plants were planted into the shelves. These plantings included native hazelnuts, wild ginger, and huckleberry. It will take a few years for these plants to become established and provide habitat and bank stabilization.
This restoration is ongoing; STRAW school children will do more work in January. For further information please contact MVSK.
Mill Valley Beautification Day – April 21, 2007
The cloudy skies did not dampen the spirits of over a hundred community volunteers as they picked up litter and removed invasive plants last Saturday – all in an effort to beautify and enhance Mill Valley in honor of Elizabeth Terwilliger (“Mrs. T.”) and Earth Day. On Saturday, April 21st, groups such as Rotary, Bloomathon, Scouts, StreamKeepers, and Little League spread out among the parks and streets of Mill Valley to collect litter and protect important local habitat.
StreamKeeper volunteers in hip waders patrolled Corte Madera Creek for trash and found the entire front fender of a car. The Girl Scouts and environmental artist Jeff Hvid pulled bikes, balls, tires, and over 300 pounds of glass bottles from Goodman’s Marsh.
2007 Steelhead Spawning Surveys
Volunteers walked Mill Valley streams from January to March 2007 to look for signs of steelhead migration and spawning. The purpose of the survey was to determine the presence of steelhead trout migrating into the Arroyo Corte Madera watershed during the winter spawning season, observe their spawning behaviors, and monitor steelhead interactions with culverts thought to impede migration.
Steelhead, the anadromous (sea-going) form of rainbow trout, are surprisingly adaptable to the urban environment and have been found in a number of Bay Area streams. In Mill Valley’s Arroyo Corte Madera, steelhead have been reported as high up in the watershed as Old Mill Park. Steelhead are born in the upper reaches streams, rear in freshwater 1-3 years, migrate to the ocean where they mature to adulthood, and return to natal waters to spawn. In Marin, spawning generally occurs between January and March, 2007.
Fisheries biologist Gary Reedy trained volunteers in monitoring protocols. This study was funded by the Marin Municipal Water District’s Will Evans Watershed Habitat Improvement Grant Program.
On February 18, 2006, a panel of experts – Fishery Biologist Bill Kier, Aquatic Ecologist Eric Ettlinger, Botanist Phyllis Faber and Stream Ecologist Gary Reedy – appeared at the Mill Valley Library for an event entitled “Mill Valley’s Streams: Tame or Wild?.” They discussed our streams and their suitability for the return of Coho and Steelhead Salmon.
On October 25 2005, Naturalist of Muir Woods National Monument Mia Monroe shared her years of observation of the Spotted Owl in Mill Valley and Muir Woods. She discussed native plantings and stream bank restoration that encourage native wildlife.
The event was held at the Mill Valley Library Creekside Room, and was sponsored by the Mill Valley StreamKeepers and the City of Mill Valley.
February 8-14, 2004, was Mill Valley Watershed Appreciation Week, and the Mill Valley StreamKeepers played a major role in it. The StreamKeepers unveiled a sign, Life in our Watershed, on the path in Bayfront Park, at the first bridge south of Sycamore Avenue.
Following the ceremony, a program and exhibits were opened to the public at the Mill Valley Community Center. There were speakers, exhibits of students’ work, maps and watershed-related computer resources including krisweb.com.
A Creek Walk along Old Mill Creek began near the Mill Valley Public Library with a talk given by StreamKeeper Andy Peri (photo below). The walk continued along Old Mill Creek toward the Cascade Canyon area. We are in the process of planning our next Creek Walk, and more detailed information will be presented here when the event is finalized.