Tag Archives: East Bay Regional Park District

Berkeley says goodbye to its giant pile of dirt

Looking south from the I-80 bike bridge, new grading and hydroseeding of the The Brickyard are now complete. Photo: Jim Rosenau
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The giant pile of dirt on Berkeley’s shoreline is no more. After about a decade as a storage yard for soil, ‘the brickyard,’ 31 prominent acres of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park just west of the I-80 bike bridge, was recently regraded and planted. The area will likely reopen next spring after the plantings take hold.

For at least the past decade soil in mounds up to 50-foot high were stored at the site by a private contractor. When that lease expired, 100,000 cubic yards of soil were shifted and the level was lowered as much as 15 feet. The perimeter was raised to prepare for sea level rise. Like most of the 1,854 acres of the park, Berkeley’s portion, including all its shoreline and The Meadow, consists of bay fill. Little of the original pre-industrial age shoreline remains nearby. … Continue reading »

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Toxic algae force closure of Lake Anza to swimmers

Lake Anza South Swim Beach photographed on Aug. 29, 2016. Photo: Hal MacLean
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The East Bay Regional Park District has closed Lake Anza to swimming due to high levels of toxic algae. The decision was made after tests showed the toxin Microcystin had reached dangerous levels, and the news came before the official swim season ends next Friday, Sept. 9.

It’s the second consecutive year EBRPD has been forced to close Lake Anza. It did so last September, along with several other lakes in the district, including Quarry Lakes in Fremont, Lake Temescal in Oakland. Heavy El Niño rains cleared the toxic blue-green algae from Lake Anza by late January.

EBRPD spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said, “Hydrologists test the water for toxicity a couple of times a week and once it gets over a certain threshold we have to close the lake. If the levels are just low we issue a warning.”

On Monday tests showed there were 15 parts of Microcystin per billion near the lake bridge.

Jones added: “We are not happy about having to do this. It’s a beautiful and popular lake and we hate to close it. We thank the public for their patience.” Jones said other lakes in the district were still open for swimming, including Lake Temescal and Quarry Lakes. … Continue reading »

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See new calf at Little Farm in 360-degree video

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.26.16 PM
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Tilden’s Little Farm is a must-see stop for every family, particularly during summer. The East Bay Regional Park District recently shared this video, by filmmaker Kevin Kunze, which features a six-day-old calf. (The calf is about three weeks’ old now).

Use your cursor in the video below to “travel” though the Little Farm at Tilden Park. … Continue reading »

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Photos: New arrival at Tilden Little Farm — Titan the calf

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Welcome to Titan, born at the Tilden Little Farm at precisely 4:55 p.m. on Tuesday to mother Sweet Pea. The male calf, who weighed about 90 pounds at birth, will stay at the farm for about six months, according to Farmer Stanley who works at the East Bay Regional Park District-owned farm.

Sweet Pea is a 5-year-old, prize-winning Milking Shorthorn and this is her fourth calf. And, according to Berkeleyside contributing photographer Nancy Rubin, who was present at the birth and who took the beautiful photographs here, Titan was standing before he figured out how to suckle.

If you’re interested in getting closer to nature, know that another one of the Little Farm cows is expecting in about a week.

View more photographs of Titan’s birth by Nancy Rubin.

Visit the Tilden Nature Area website for more information about the Little Farm.

Continue reading »

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Days are numbered for giant Berkeley dirt pile

The East Bay Regional Park District has plans for the large dirt pile in Berkeley's McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. Photo: Michael Short
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A 10-year-old, 53-foot pile of dirt in Berkeley’s McLaughlin Eastshore State Park is set to be lowered by 15 feet and spread around the parkland as part of renovations to improve the area.

The East Bay Regional Park District is slated to start work on the project this week. The dirt will be spread between the Seabreeze Market and Brickyard Cove.

“Trails, a picnic area, debris removal, native plant seeding and shoreline restoration are part of the long-term plan,” EBRPD said in a prepared statement. “In all, the Park District plans to move more than 100,000 cubic yards of dirt.” … Continue reading »

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After rains, some East Bay lakes now free of toxic algae

Lake Anza. Photo: Josh S. Jackson
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Recent rains have cleared toxic algae from several East Bay lakes, including Tilden’s Lake Anza, East Bay Regional Park District officials have announced.

That means, unless the algae returns, some popular swimming spots will re-open come April.

“Thanks to heavy rains from El Niño, toxic blue-green algae has cleared from Quarry Lakes in Fremont, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Lake Anza in Berkeley,” park officials announced Thursday. “These popular swim destinations were all closed … due to toxic algae blooms, and we’re thrilled to report that the algae has cleared.”

Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park closed in September, following the earlier closures of Quarry and Temescal lakes. Carolyn Jones, park district spokeswoman, said the lakes first tested clear for the algae about a month ago, in December, but workers continued to test the waters to make sure no toxins were present.

“They’ve been super cautious,” she said. “Let’s hope that this is it for the algae.” … Continue reading »

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Police make arrest in 2014 Berkeley killing

The killing took place in the parking lot of Seabreeze Market. Photo: Brian Costales
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An Oakland man has been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the fatal shooting in 2014 of 21-year-old Damarco J. Thomas.

On Saturday, police arrested Keivon Burnette on a warrant in Oakland at 9:25 a.m. after working on the case for more than a year, said Carolyn Jones, East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman.

Jones said authorities believe the shooting happened when a group from Oakland tried to rob a group from Stockton during what was supposed to be a marijuana sale in the Seabreeze parking lot Oct. 28, 2014. Members of both groups were armed, Jones said.  … Continue reading »

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How the California-wide drought is affecting Berkeley

High School students helped the Friends of Five Creeks remove invasive fennel from the mouth of Schoolhouse Creek in Berkeley in August. Photo: Friends of Five Creeks.
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The brown lawns are the least of it. The effects of the current California-wide drought go deeper than the roots of the grass and will continue several years after lawns turn green again.

Many of the impacts are very evident in Berkeley and the surrounding area. Trees are dying at a higher rate. The creeks are low and might be dry if it weren’t for leaky pipes. And if this winter brings heavy rains, damage to the stressed trees and creek banks could be significant.

One of the most obvious signs of the drought is the early fall color on many trees around town. Tony Wolcott, a master arborist, recently retired as Albany’s Urban Forester, said that the early leaf drop in the fall is a normal reaction to drought.

“It doesn’t mean the tree is dying,” Wolcott said. “It’s not a great thing, but it is a way of surviving,” he said.

But not all the trees will rebound. Wolcott said he’s noticed flowering cherries and flowering plums showing a lot of stress. So are the camphors, which line many streets in Berkeley.

“A lot of the camphors in town are old, but are dying more quickly because of the drought,” he said.  Even redwoods are looking stressed, dropping a lot of needles, he said. … Continue reading »

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Fallen tree cuts power in Tilden, sends cyclist to hospital

Golf Course Road. Photo: Art Poskanzer
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A live oak tree that fell onto a power line on Golf Course Road in Tilden Sunday prompted a power outage across the park and caused a crash that sent a cyclist to the hospital.

The tree toppled from 50 feet up a cliff onto Golf Course Road, around 200 yards south of the entrance to the golf course, at around 11 a.m., according to Carolyn Jones, spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District.

The tree fell onto a power line which in turn knocked down a power pole. A cyclist on the road collided with the power line. Jones said she understood the cyclist was unable to stop in time. He was taken away by ambulance but, according to park staff, seemed to be OK, Jones said.

The incident caused power to go out at the Tilden Golf Course, the park’s corporation yard and at the facilities serving the Tilden Steam Train. … Continue reading »

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Tilden Park exceeds goals in cutting its water usage

Irrigation was shut down to just part of the Meadows Lawn in Tilden Park, just south of the old pony rides site.
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Berkeley’s Tilden Park reports that it reduced water usage in May — the most recent bill available — by 40% compared to the same period in 2013.  The regional park in the Berkeley Hills has been watering its lawns less and less over the past several years, said Park Supervisor Sergio Huerta.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do, thanks to the creativity of staff,” said Huerta. Huerta was speaking for all of the park grounds except the golf course, which is on a separate water meter. The golf course reports that it has taken one-fifth of the greenways off irrigation — and it’s showing all along the edges.

Throughout the rest of Tilden Park, Huerta said, the lawns have been divided into four categories for watering: reduced, minimal, sporadic and zero. Lawns getting no water this year include the large picnic area called Padre on South Park Drive and the group campsites, Gillespie near the south end of the park, and Wildcat View near the north end. … Continue reading »

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Lake Anza closed to swimming due to toxic algae

Toxic algae can be highly visible, or not visible at all. In the photo above, algae can be seen at Lake Anza on Sept. 17. Photo: Sunshine Townsend/East Bay Regional Park District
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The East Bay Regional Park District has just closed Lake Anza, in Tilden Regional Park, to swimming due to high levels of toxic algae, which can be fatal for dogs.

Park District spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said signs are going up now around the lake to alert visitors about the closure.

“Park District officials are very sorry to have to close Lake Anza,” she said. “It’s a beautiful time of year and a popular place to go swimming, but public health is the most important thing.”

Jones said park staffers test all the district’s lakes regularly, and discovered Thursday that toxic blue-green algae levels at Lake Anza were too high. They will now send samples to the EPA for further testing. Results for those tests should be in next week. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Sierra Club’s eucalyptus management policy is the right approach for East Bay Hills

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Eucalyptus trees are magnificent and picturesque, but they are inherently dangerous and invasive, depriving native plants of the chance to thrive wherever they grow.

In some cases, exotic plants can co-exist with natives, but, in the case of blue gum eucalyptus, this is not the case. The species has evolved in the extraordinarily harsh, dry climate of Australia to grow and spread quickly to then be burned to ashes in catastrophic wildfires.

According to Jared Farmer, in his recent book … Continue reading »

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Crews extinguish 1-acre vegetation fire in Tilden Park

Fire map
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At least five fire companies responded to a vegetation fire that broke out before sunrise in the Berkeley-Oakland hills Sunday.

According to Avery Webb, interim fire chief of the Berkeley Fire Department, its communications center received a report of a vegetation fire west of the Tilden Park Steam Train at 5:45 a.m. Sunday.

Berkeley Fire responded, along with fire companies from Oakland, Moraga/Orinda, East Bay Regional Parks, and Cal Fire. … Continue reading »

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