Friday, February 24, 2017

From Acorns to Oaks

What do we see here looking down this plastic tube?

These are acorns collected from the Sunol Valley. For what you ask? We are planting over 150 Oak trees at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project. As a commitment to the environment, the tree plantings are part of our mitigation to restore oak woodland at our project site. We are also committed to re vegetating all areas with annual grassland where oak woodland is not appropriate. 

Among the species being planted are the Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) and the Blue Oak (Quercus douglassii). Historically, oak trees are slow growing and can take as long as two to three decades before they begin to provide significant shade. Winter is an ideal time to plant to allow the tree to focus on root growth. 

Some oaks can send a tap root down as deep as five feet in the first year of growth. To help the acorns sprout, and to avoid being dug up by squirrels and birds, they are placed in the plastic tubes right into the ground. The tubes also protect them from hungry herbivores –like deer - and provide a great micro climate for the trees to thrive. 

The next photo shows our oak tree plantings in an area we are no longer working in, the left abutment of the dam, located at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project. 

See you around the Valley!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What is this Building and What Does it Have to do with Fish?

Despite the recent heavy rains, the crews at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project have been pouring concrete for an important feature of the future Dam – the stream maintenance building, pictured below.  The new building stands 25 feet tall and is located downstream at the toe of the future replacement dam.

We at the SFPUC will be releasing water from the future Calaveras Dam to support fish in the Southern Alameda Creek Watershed.  What’s that have to do with this building?  A lot, actually.  The stream maintenance structure provides a place for water discharged out of the future Dam to be collected and then discharged in a controlled manner to the nearby Creeks to support fish habitat. Water will flow from the reservoir to the structure via two 30 inch diameter pipes. Water will exit the structure over grouted rip rap to prevent erosion.

The Calaveras Dam Replacement project is more than 80% complete and expected to be completed in mid-2019.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Getting By with a Little Help From Our Friends

We do not need to tell you that now is the rainy season in Northern California. Some amphibians in the  Sunol Valley use the the wet season to move around from their burrows to breeding habitat and to find food.

Recently one of the workers at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project spotted this California newt  passing through the construction site. On its back a Sierran Tree frog was hitching a ride. Who can’t relate to a time when you need a lift to get where you’re going?

Our workers are trained to spot wildlife like this and move them out of harm’s way for construction… hitchhiking or not.

Stay safe and dry out there! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday in the Sunol Valley

Today we thought we’d combine two blog traditions - Photo Friday and Throwback Thursday.

Here’s a photo of how we used to transport water transmission pipe when Calaveras Dam was under construction in 1912.

Here’s a more recent example from a Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) project elsewhere in the Sunol Valley in 2012.

The water system that serves our customers is almost 100 years old in places, and less than 1 year old in others.  We will continue to upgrade crucial portions of the system through the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program and beyond through our 10 year Water Capital Improvement Program.

Have a great weekend everyone. See you around the Valley!