Category: Watersheds & Streams

Leaping Frog Fungus!

January 5th, 2015

I just learned more about why the project to get rid of the preggie test frogs has been failing. Which frogs? The African clawed frogs that live in Golden Gate Park in the Lily Pond. Apparently they were dumped there as a gesture of goodwill.

Back in the 50s rabbits were all the rage for pregnancy tests. A pregnant woman’s urine would cause the rabbit to ovulate. Problem was that you had to kill the rabbit to find the result. Then bufo marine toads and African clawed frogs were found to […]

Mistaken Tunnel

March 14th, 2014

Here’s an image of the lighthouse back when it was more interesting. [only visible in full article]

Once again, I get to bask in the glory of being wrong.

In my post to everyone on the Thinkwalks mailing list, twice, I said that a tunnel goes out to the Mile Rock Lighthouse.

I’ve learned I’m totally incorrect. It’s a sewer tunnel, not lighthouse access. I fabricated, without realizing it.

I feel 100% certain my contact at DPW told me that it goes to Mile Rock, which I may have assumed meant Mile […]

The SF Armory’s (Kink.com’s) “Mission Creek” Claim

January 29th, 2013

Participants in many of my water walking tours have consistently told me I must go see the basement of the Armory.

I finally did!

The building’s current owner, porn company Kink.com, gives studio tours that include a brief visit to the sub-basement. There, where many channels of water flow in rough concrete trenches, they tell us we’re looking at Mission Creek.

Our Kink.com guides, Odile and Miguel, were excited to see the official map of historic waterways in the Mission District that I’d brought along.

They noted the tributary creek that once ran past […]

A Creek Through the Wiggle & Across Market at Church St.

December 10th, 2011

We tried to put the creek into our mural. Mona sketched it on paper. Seth painted it on the wall—three times before getting it the way he liked it, with the street names of the Wiggle bike route shimmering in the water. We carefully mocked reality with brown (Franciscan chert) rocks on the one side of the creek and green (serpentine) on the other side. We even allowed ourselves interpretive license when we colored it in crayon blues.

When we designed the mural (1996 & ’97) I […]

New SF Lake Discovered

April 28th, 2011

As mentioned in my previous post, the access to old articles has increased amazingly. And that access helped me to break this story.

Or at least rediscovered…

A 25-acre Phelps’ Lake in San Francisco’s Panhandle?

I’ve just solved a mystery described in my previous research on the south area of Divisadero street. Back when it was a winding path through the dunes, Devisadero, as it was known, connected the Mission Dolores to the Presidio. The incorrect story had settled into this version over the years: San Souci Lake, located at Divisadero […]

Carl Nolte is Secret Love Child of Father Palou?

February 22nd, 2011

New rumors about Mission Dolores history have hit the papers!

In addition to Hadley’s post at Mission Local, mentioned in my previous entry, which breaks the story with a perfect synopsis of the latest research, Carl Nolte has, over the weekend, published an article printed on real paper—front page above the fold and in color in Saturday’s Chronicle. It’s a little confusing, since the headline, along with the map Nolte presents and the article itself all incorrectly state that the Mission may have been founded north of Market Street near Duboce […]

Podcast of Watersheds Panel

November 19th, 2010

The recent (November 17) Shaping SF panel discussion at CounterPULSE was recorded and is posted here. If it’s been topped by more recent podcasts, search or scroll to “Watersheds Lost and Found: San Francisco, Guadalajara, Yuba.”

Me swimming at the South Yuba River

My part of it was the San Francisco part, of course, and I was joined by Derek Hitchcock of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), and Sarah Kelly and Arthur Richards, co-directors of Adapting to Scarcity.

The Q&A was excellent and helped me to formulate my long-term […]

Tour Recap: The Watersheds of Laguna Honda

November 16th, 2010

Joel sez: Here in Strybing Arboretum is where Golden Gate Park gets much of its water. The pumps are at the arboretum's lowest point, near Lincoln & 13th Ave.

You never know what kind of weather you are in for in San Francisco, but Sunday morning was amazingly warm and pleasant — the perfect day to walk and talk about water and the history of the city.

We started in Golden Gate Park, heading over to Stow Lake first, then down to the Botanical Garden, then up to the Laguna Honda […]

Laguna Honda watershed

November 8th, 2010

Check out what interesting stuff I’ve sleuthed up for the “trek” I’m leading with Nature in the City on November 14th.

The tour will start in Golden Gate Park, because since the late 1800s, the Laguna Honda watershed has been a main source of water for irrigation of the Park.

The creation of the irrigation system happened at the time when the Park was being entirely re-configured. Development of Golden Gate Park had been firmly within the “rustic” aesthetic of William Hammond Hall. Then railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington gave funds to […]

The San Souci Lake–Pioche Mystery

October 19th, 2010

A report spreads for decades but makes no sense. How intriguing and frustrating. In a newspaper column from (unconfirmed date) April, 1919, Edward Morphy says that the lake in my neighborhood was destroyed by the 1862 storms with which I am so intrigued. But the detail given makes absolutely no sense. Says Morphy:

…probably the best known landmark of Divisadero street in the pioneer days was the old San Souci roadhouse which stood on the east side of a pretty little lake that then filled the space from Fulton to about […]

Water Walking Tour description

June 1st, 2010

This is the nerdiest of the standard Thinkwalks. Three and a half hours of walking on water. No sinking.

This year’s version of the water tour focuses on the history of the Dolores Creek watershed, above the Mission District.

We’ll examine water’s artful sculpting of our hills and shorelines based partly on this book chapter by your Thinkwalks guide. Recent research has cast doubt on the existence of the lake (Laguna Manantial) that is featured in that article. On the tour, we’ll discuss the evidence for and against, with an open […]