Huge turnout for MLK Jr. Day of Service and Passive Restoration Workshop, by Shelagh Brodersen

As I write this post the rain is just beginning, and I smile thinking about our successful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Event just four days ago that brought over 45 enthusiastic volunteers to participate in our restoration activities along the riparian corridor of Harwood Creek, and how all our new native plants are being nourished by the rain.   We split into two groups, one group went to Harwood Creek along the Lower Loop Trail to participate in a Passive Restoration Workshop lead by Lech Naumovich, Director of Golden Hour Restoration Institute, and the other half climbed up the switchbacks to remove Cape Ivy near Harwood creek along the Upper Loop Trail. 

Harwood Creek has seen many changes since we formed the Garber Park Stewards three years ago.  At our first Creek to Bay Day in 2010, our hardy group of volunteers attacked with gusto a 10-foot high wall of Himalayan blackberries and managed to free part of the creek of this highly invasive plant.  Two years later, thanks to our ongoing “blackberry bashing group,” the blackberries covering the creek are gone. 

In this area, last January,  The City of Oakland completed a Measure DD funded Creek Stabilization Project, in which native and indigenous willows, ash, ferns, and horsetails were planted.  In August, as part of a project funded by the City of Oakland Wildfire Prevention Assessment District, flash fuels and ladder fuels were removed from this section of the park, revealing large stands of native snowberry, thimbleberry, gooseberry and ferns.

A group led by Frank Tsai celebrating President Obama’s Day of Service went after the infestation of Cape Ivy in and adjacent to Horsetail Meadow near the upper bridge on Harwood Creek. After three hours of pulling the ivy out of the trees, shrubs, and meadow and filling 22 bags, the native plants, especially the native blackberry, have a chance to grow.  While there is still much Cape Ivy in the park to keep us busy for a long time a big impact has been made.

Meanwhile, the other group, lead by Lech, were actively engaged in the Passive Restoration Workshop at the Measure DD area.  Passive restoration uses on-site resources (seeds, vegetation, debris, organic matter) to improve habitat conditions for target native plants.  In Garber, we are very lucky to have well established and thriving colonies of native plants right next to the planting area.  We learned how to “harvest” five native plants that grow in abundance in Garber (California Blackberry, Osoberry, Willows, CowParsnip, and my favorite plant, Thimbleberry), each with its own set of propagation techniques.  Working in teams, we collected and planted across the hillside, finishing by watering and identifying each new plant with a flag.  Click here to read more about passive restoration techniques in Lech’s Hand-out Passive Restoration – Ideas andTechniques. . 

Thank you, Lech, for another informative, hands-on, and FUN workshop. And many, many thanks to the many volunteers who helped us make a huge step forward in transforming this beautiful riparian area of Garber back to its natural state. 

Our regular twice-monthly habitat restoration workdays will resume in February (Tuesday, February 5 and Saturday, February 16) from 10-Noon.  We hope you can join us.

Contact Shelagh for more information. 

For more pictures follow the the links below:

Shelagh's pictures

Marilyn's pictures