Living Arroyos
Join us at one of our upcoming volunteer workdays!

Logo design competition!

Are you a high school student or do you know one in the Tri-Valley?  Living Arroyos needs a logo, and we need your help!  Check out the information in the flyer below and enter the competition!  The winner gets their artwork displayed on our website, t-shirts, and literature.  Plus you could win $150!
Living Arroyos Logo Competition Flyer

Behind the scenes

Watering over a thousand holes efficiently requires hundreds of feet of hose and a 500 gallon water tank!

Watering over a thousand holes efficiently requires hundreds of feet of hose and a 500 gallon water tank!

Before the recent wet weather began, we were forced to begin watering our acorn holes, which proved to be unexpectedly challenging.  Each potential oak tree needed approximately a gallon of water since it had been so dry. With about 1400 holes, that’s 1400 gallons of water! We used a 500 gallon water tank/trailer, which we had to refill twice to water the entire Stanley Reach.  Due to the hoses catching on bushes, trees, and acorn cages, driving and watering at the same time was impossible. We found it best to park and water as many holes as we could reach.

hose manifold

CK holding a strange-looking but durable hose manifold we built

However, working with hundreds of feet of hose can be very frustrating. Hoses tangle, kink and connections break.  We realized that “hose wrangling” (the job of keeping hoses untangled and unkinked) is a very real and important part of watering.  Thankfully, we worked out a system that reduced tangling, sped up the watering process, and reduced effort by decreasing the amount of hose carrying.

Recently, we also spent time removing old cages and pruning trees on a more mature restoration site. When caged plants are abandoned, the plants will continue to grow as much as

removing an old cage from a valley oak

Removing an old cage from a Valley oak. Look at how twisted the tree has grown within the cage!

they possibly can within the cage. Leaving cages on the plants for too long can be very detrimental to healthy growth, and are difficult to remove! Pruning can help these trees develop a more natural growth pattern in the future, but it’s best to remove cages before they inhibit normal growth.

Luckily for us, pruning is relaxing and fun, and sometimes we find cool things while working, like abandoned bird nests and tree frogs!

Local fish

Flood control channel- treeless, murky, and filled with algal mats

Flood control channel- treeless, murky, and filled with algal mats

The Livermore-Amador Valley is currently home to many species of native and non-native fish.  Fish are an important part of the ecosystem; not only are they a valuable food source for birds and other predators, but many species eat the annoying insects we dislike, such as mosquitos. However, due to urbanization in the Valley, many of our natural streams have been converted to treeless flood control channels.  These degraded urban streams tend to be characterized by non-native grasses, sparse tree cover, and are often polluted and murky. In other words, they tend to be poor habitat for fish!

Fortunately, many of our native fish have adapted to withstand varying degrees of water quality, and continue to subsist within our urban streams. Sacramento sucker, California roach, Hitch, and Threespine stickleback are a few native species that are currently very prevalent in our local urban streams.  All of these species can tolerate high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen, and therefore are well adapted to altered environments, such as flood control channels and ponds.  However, not all native fish are so adaptable, and some species are now rare or extinct in the Valley due to competition with non-natives and habitat loss. For example, Sacramento perch used to be common in the Arroyo de la Laguna, but is now possibly extinct in the watershed due to competition with carp.

Carp caught by local fishermen in Pleasanton.

Carp caught by local fishermen in Pleasanton.

Many non-native fish also live in our streams, competing with and sometimes preying upon smaller native species. Common non-natives include Large-mouth bass, Green sunfish, Common carp and Mosquitofish. These widespread non-native species tend to be very tolerant of water quality, and easily survive in urban streams along with the locally adapted natives. Most non-native species have been purposely introduced into our streams and lakes, for a variety of uses. Some are stocked in lakes for fishing, like the Large-mouth bass; others, such as Mosquitofish, are added as biological control for mosquito larvae.

Eventually, when the oak woodland grows tall and the riparian trees shade the creek, the Stanley Reach will provide high quality habitat for fish, other wildlife, and, of course, people!