Field Sites - San Francisco Bay Area 

 

 


  

On-campus Field Site

 

Since Saint Mary's College has a seasonal swamp on the campus, there were a number of short on campus field trips throughout the January term. Access to this site is limited and requires permission from the College.

 

2008 Off-campus Field Sites

Field Trip # 1: The Martinez Mountain View Sanitation District Wetlands represent a tremendous walkable site. The location is adjacent to the Shell Martinez refinery and Interstate-680. The wetlands receive fully treated wastewater support a wide variety of wildlife. The wetland ponds are well maintained by the Sanitation District. Local birdwatchers and elementary schools use the site regularly however it never seems crowded at least in our experiences. (www.mvsd.org)

Field Trip # 2: The class traveled a very short distance to the Lafayette Community Park and performed creek survey with permission and instruction by the Contra Costa County Watershed Monitoring Coordinator. This creek monitoring involved mapping the Las Trampas Creek noting the geological and ecological habitat features. This mapping work was added to the County's watershed database. Students received instruction in the classroom before and in field by the County's representative and the local community park personnel provided access. (www.cocowaterweb.org).

Field Trip # 3: The Crissy Field Wetlands were visited providing the class a representative of a tidal salt marsh. This site was restored by the tremendous of many volunteers. Although the weather was rather inclement for this trip, students expressed an interest to visit this site again due its scenic vistas. (http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park.asp?park=14)

This quiet morning view shows a Mountain View Sanitation District pond with duckweed floating on the surface and the Shell Refinery is in the background. (photo by S. Bachofer)

College students synchronizing the GPS units before creek sampling begins in 2009.  (photo by M.Luebke)
2009 Off-campus Field Sites

Field Trip # 1: A visit to the Martinez Mountain View Sanitation District Wetlands with a more detailed tour was arranged in 2009. As a minor surprise, this year's class observed a Brown Pelican enjoying the constructed wetlands. (www.mvsd.org ) See photo of site above.

Field Trip # 2: The class performed a creek survey with permission and instruction by the Contra Costa County Watershed Monitoring Coordinator, starting at the Lafayette Community Park similar to the previous year's class. The mapping the Las Trampas Creek followed the procedures of the Costa County Watershed Volunteer Monitoring program and this year's work began at the point were last year's class stopped.  All of the creek mapping was added to the County's watershed database. As before, students received instruction in the classroom and in field by the County's representative and access was provided by the local community parks personnel. ( www.cocowaterweb.org ). Photos of initial synchronization of the GPS units are above.

Field Trip # 3: The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project and Alviso Environmental Education Center were visited to show the class a large scale restoration project and representative tidal salt marshes. The tour given by U.S. Fish and Wildlife representatives was very educational and gave students insights of the remediation of the salt ponds. (www.southbayrestoration.org)

 

Salt Marsh at Alviso Salt Pond Restoration site (2009 - SJ Bachofer photo)

2011 Off-campus Field Sites

Field Trip # 1: A visit to the Martinez Mountain View Sanitation District Wetlands was arranged similar to previous years. This year's class almost succeeded in observing one of the river otters at the wetland (www.mvsd.org). See photo of site above.

Field Trip # 2: The class scouted out the Las Trampas Creek and then visited the Martinez Regional Shoreline Park. The second site is a brackish marsh ecosystem where Alhambra Creek empties in to the estuary. Since the regional shoreline was visited at low tide, the class walked all the way out on to the mudflats. A white tailed kite was carefully watching us and looking for a meal as the class took in the shoreline views. See photo below of a pair of white tailed kites observed earlier.

Field Trip # 3: The class finally performed a creek survey with permission and instruction by the Contra Costa County Watershed Monitoring Coordinator, starting at the Lafayette Community Park similar to the 2009 year's class. The mapping the Las Trampas Creek followed the procedures of the Costa County Watershed Volunteer Monitoring program. All of the creek mapping was added to the County's watershed database.  See photo of synchronization of the GPS units from 2009 above.

Field Trip # 4: The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project and Alviso Environmental Education Center were visited to show the class a large scale restoration project and representative tidal salt marshes. The tour given by U.S. Fish and Wildlife representative. (www.southbayrestoration.org) See photo of the Salt Marsh above.

Two white tailed kites perched a top of a willow tree. (Photo S. Bachofer)
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