District 10 sets aside $250,000 for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park woodland management

On December 4, 2017, Mollie Tobias of the City’s Adopt-a-Park program and her crew, including our Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services maintenance team, supported the Swath Project in the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.  You may recall that the Swath is a section of our park, between the east and central trails, 30 foot wide and about 420 foot long, in which 1-year Blue and Valley Oak seedlings were flagged.

These small ‘starts’ have been out competed by Coast Live Oak saplings for years.  They are encroaching from two main areas: the dog-park entry area, near the Villas of Almaden and the main GOGP entry off of Thorntree.  As a result, our open Blue and Valley oak woodland on the Valley floor has been transitioning to a closed Oak woodland.  It was initially thought that the Blue and Valley oaks were not regenerating.  However, Lee Pauser, Dave Poeschel and I found that these starts were there and were just being out-competed by Coast Live Oak saplings and the unmanaged European grasses.

The idea of the Swath is to demonstrate this regeneration by removing the Coast Live Oak saplings, then caging the Blue and Valley Oak starts to protect them from wildlife, providing occasional summer water, and promoting their establishment through the removal of weeds and grasses adjacent to these starts. Preserving the unique GOGP (one of the last two remaining Valley and Oak woodlands in the Santa Clara Valley) requires woodland management and Monday’s effort is a first step!   Thanks to the commitment of District 10 and our Councilman Johnny Khamis, funding at a level of $250K has been set-aside to involve H.T. Harvey and Associates, environmental consultants, in the woodland management of this park!

We ant to thank the dozen volunteers from the Signifyd Company for their help in coordination with project leads Lee Pauser and I.  Ninety-five percent of the scheduled work was performed between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on the workday!  I’m sure there will be a lot of sore muscles and a few bruises at Signifyd come Tuesday!

Park users should see a notable difference in the condition of the park in the area of the Swath.  This is illustrated in the photo comparison below.

Thanks again to all involved.

Patrick Pizzo


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sqrrlady on December 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    please just make sure the ground dwellers have enough cover and enough to eat. First and foremost it is their homeland. Personally I wish it would be left alone to evolve as nature wishes without us managing everything.



    • Posted by Patrick Pizzo on December 17, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      You have to have human management or you get, for example, the Northern CA and Southern CA fires. Yes: a human enterprise may have started one or both of these; but it is lack of management of the spacing of trees, the accumulation of brush and other ‘natural’ events that build-up the potential for a hot-burn. When we do get a fire- and we always are exposed to the potential for fire, even from nature, the results can be very devastating. The indigenous people of CA understood this and tended the wild. When John Muir first saw the Yosemite, he said that the place looked like a tended, European park, and attributed it to Mother Nature at her finest. However, it was the local Indian tribes that tended the Yosemite, raising the canopy of trees, selecting 40 year or older trees (higher acorn production), limiting the understory through controlled burn: that’s what made Yosemite so special.



      • Posted by sqrrlady on December 18, 2017 at 10:22 am

        Yes Pat you are correct.

        It just that people tend to over manage nature, its not a living room for humans, its for the natural critters. They need those piles of brush for cover, food, nesting, etc. I noticed when the pooch and I went thru last week that one of the favorite large piles that was normally used by the Ground Squirrels and various birds was gone. Nature is an organized mess and should be left that way. We just walk thru its not our home, it belongs to others.


  2. Posted by Patrick Pizzo on December 17, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    For years when I visit GOGP in the mornings I often encounter Dick and April Bowen performing their ritual of walking the park’s trails and picking up trash. Though they don’t seek recognition for their dedication, their commitment to the park is much more deserving of recognition than my occasionally saying ‘thank you’, but I’ll say it again. Thank you Dick and April! Lee Pauser passed this on to me: ppizzo



  3. Posted by Patrick Pizzo on December 30, 2017 at 8:41 am

    On Dec 30, 2017, at 6:03 AM, Janna Pauser wrote:


    This is the first entry in my journal. Thought you’d be interested. Janna

    Guadalupe Oak Grove park Wildflowers 2001

    California Poppy
    Filaree (geranium family)
    Blue Dicks
    Common Yarrow
    California Buttercup
    Checker Bloom
    California Golden Violet (Oak Violet)
    Persian Speedwell
    Purple Night Shade
    Blue Eyed Grass
    Elegant Brodiea
    Cal Gooseberry
    Purple Sanicle
    Miners lettuce
    Shooting Star
    Scarlet Pimpernel
    White and Yellow Mariposa Lilly
    Sticky Monkey Flowers

    With this year’s fire at the north end of the GOGP, we may see a return of some of our wildflowers, assuming it will rain sometime in 2018! pppizzo



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