55 trees planted in Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks

On December 16th & January 6th., Our City Forest (OCF) held “Planting Parties” and a total of 55 new trees were planted in our Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks. The new trees were planted in select locations and in areas where dead or dying trees needed to be replaced. The professional staff of Our City Forest managed the program and provided direction and tools.

From left to right are MFPA Vice-President Richard Zahner, MFPA President Rod Carpenter, District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and OCF Planting Manager Rob Castaneda

These plantings were a major “once in a decade” opportunity and the Martin Fontana Parks Association Board of Directors wants to give a big “Thank You” to the OCF staff, MFPA members, and all the other volunteers who came out and helped make it a success.

This program was initiated by PG&E early in 2017 when they asked the MFPA Board to partner with them to find locations for new trees to replace the ones they were required to remove along Almaden Expressway.  A team of MFPA members created a ‘Planting Plan’ for consideration of the City Park Staff and PG&E.  The PG&E planting guidelines that limit the mature tree height for any trees under the lines were taken in to account during the negotiations. This avoids any possible contact with the lines and costly annual tree trimming.

Our plan was adopted in principle by PG&E and used in negotiations with the City and County. PG&E finished the removal of over 150 trees along Alamaden Expressway in late summer and then provided funding to OCF to plant replacements in our parks.  MFPA finalized the Planting Plan locations and the OCF Arborist coordinated tree selection with the City and PG&E.

From left to right are District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, MFPA Project Manager Dave Poeschel, OCF rep, Brian O’Neill, and two others.

The trees were of the 15-gallon size from the OCF nursery. The City will provide water for a three-year program to assure survival of these young trees and OCF will manage the watering. Our continuing responsibility will be to support the OCF watering and report problems, if and when they occur.

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We hope you, your children, and future neighbors, will enjoy all the new trees and a have an attractive parks for decades.

 

 

 

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

 

Our first of five Native Plant Islands is completed

It may not look like much for now but just wait till Spring arrives and these plants get going.  Thanks to our Martin-Fontana Parks Association members Larry Sasscer, Lee Pauser, Rod Carpenter, Vince Piazzisi, Sunny Wagstaff, Richard Grialou, Pat Pizzo, PRNS District 1 Manager, Dan Greeley and our Fontana West Park maintenance person, Mark Conklin, for all their hard work and expertise.

And, of course, a BIG Thank You to the sponsor of the island, Pete Veilleux of East Bay Wilds for providing over 40 plants.  He didn’t just donate plants. He spent almost a day sorting, loading and driving them down here with a paid member of his staff, placing them and instructing the volunteer crew in rock and plant placement. What makes this distant nursery special is that Pete has a broad selection of CA native plants.  Plants that cannot be found in other South Bay nurseries.  Additionally, Pete has extensive experience with native plants.  His use of native plants in containers is unique.  We encourage anyone interested in CA native plants to visit Pete’s nursery, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, and the  UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley some weekend!

We still have four more islands to go and we have sponsors lined up for two of them.  Look for more planting to come now that all the water lines have been completed.  Sponsorships for two of these islands are still available for service clubs or community groups.

 For more info please contact Martin-Fontana Parks Association President, Rod Carpenter for details at 408-997-2174.

 

 

Pipeline Maintenance Project has started

Replacement Water Valve?

So have you been wondering what those strange objects wrapped in heavy black plastic are?  Well, according to a Nov. notice posted on Nextdoor from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, pipeline maintenance has begun.  “As part of our work to keep your water safe and reliable, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will work on a nearly 12-mile stretch of pipeline from Calero Reservoir in South San Jose to the Vasona Pump Plant in Los Gatos, a six-month maintenance project that started this month.”  

We expect operations to be back to normal by the end of February, 2018.”  So don’t be surprised to see lots of activity around those large concrete blocks in Jeffrey Fontana and TJ Martin Parks.

If you have any questions about the operation, please call Water Resources Supervisor Jerry Sparkman at 408-630-3254.

Saving our feathered friends is local man’s goal

This is an article from the August 11th Almaden Times.

“Citizen Scientist” Lee Pauser has been building, installing, and monitoring nest boxes (the proper term for bird-houses) for 16 years.  He caters to 18 different species, ranging from Chickadees and Tree Swallows to Western Bluebirds, American Kestrels, Barn Owls and Wood Ducks.  He also works with Silicon Valley Wildlife Center to release rehabilitated birds back into the wild.

You can check out the rest of the article at: https://timesmedia.pageflip.site/editions/AT12649#page/1

 

Take a walk around Almaden Lake Park

For more information:
Call (408) 535-4910 or Email michele.dexter@sanjoseca.gov

Dozens of trees going to be planted in TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana parks

Our City Forest demonstrates how it’s done

The following is a San Jose Mercury News article by | jbaum@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group on

“The trees will replace those removed earlier this year under Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s gas pipeline safety program.”

“Workers from Our City Forest and the Martin-Fontana Parks Association will provide the new trees during two planting parties at the parks, one on Dec. 16 and the other on Jan. 6. Another couple dozen trees will be planted in the Shadow Brook neighborhood by the local neighborhood association with help from Our City Forest on Dec. 2, according to Councilman Johnny Khamis.”

To read the rest of the story go to Tree Planting.

According to Martin-Fontana Parks Association Director, Richard Zahner, the City’s Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Services has committed to provide the water needed to establish the 55 trees. Our City Forest has committed to watering the trees and providing care such as trimming and shaping to assure their survival through the first three years. At that time the trees should be established and should require no more than the routine care provided by PRNS.   In practice the first year will the most demanding, requiring 15 gallons per week.

‘Tree Gator’, a type of plastic water bag

A ‘Tree Gator’, a type of plastic water bag, may be used to control and concentrate the water where it is most beneficial. Watering will be incrementally reduced over the second and third years to promote healthy roots and sustainable growth.

Richard also serves as the Park Planning and Improvement Chairperson for MFPA.