What's going on in the canyon this spring, by L. Tim Wallace

Board Member Josh Borkowski gazes up at the only part of Derby Creek that sees the light of day. Stream channels were completely filled-in years ago and were replaced by one large storm drain network, according to a 2010 report published by the Oakland Museum.

Board Member Josh Borkowski gazes up at the only part of Derby Creek that sees the light of day. Stream channels were completely filled-in years ago and were replaced by one large storm drain network, according to a 2010 report published by the Oakland Museum.

We are always pleased to report on what's going on in and around Claremont Canyon. In past newsletters and blogs we've covered joint activities with the Garber Park Stewards, the group that takes care of the park at the southwestern corner of the canyon belonging to the City of Oakland. We've also reported on conservation efforts of the local chapters of the Sierra Club and the California Native Plant Society and have greatly admired the many volunteer groups dedicated to improving creeks and trails.

This spring, we cover a new group, Take To The Hills, working on trails in the little canyon that runs parallel to Claremont Canyon. That canyon, and the foot path or “social trail” traversing it, have variously been called Derby, Dwight, Clark Kerr and even (at least once) Rattlesnake Canyon/Trail. Along with T3H, we are asking the agencies that own the land to settle on a name that will stick. For now, we agree with T3H that the historic name of Derby, in honor of Derby Creek whose headwaters begin in that small canyon, makes sense. Except for a small stretch above UC’s running track (see photo caption), Derby Creek goes underground all the way through Berkeley and out to the Bay.

The Conservancy continues its strong mandate to promote wildfire safety in the canyon and surrounding hills. The long awaited planning and environmental process to manage vegetation on public lands in Oakland has begun. Conservancy board members are watching carefully as this process unfolds. As per Oakland’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, the city hired a consulting firm earlier this year to scope a plan and CEQA documents for its high fire severity zones. To find out more and to provide feedback, go to www.oaklandvegmanagement.org.

Lastly, if you or someone you know has skills and talents to share with the board, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are seeking one, perhaps two, new board members. The board is a working, all-volunteer group that meets on the second Thursday of each month. If interested, please reach out by phone or email. Please see a listing of committees under the Members/Volunteer tab on our website. Happy spring everyone.