Surveying the Creek

A couple of times a month, we go out to the creek to monitor the conditions, survey for homeless encampments, and determine where to host cleanups based on the need to remove large amounts of trash. I go out with the City of San Jose Watershed Protection Rangers, usually Wes, who is knowledgeable about the homeless situation (how many camps, who they are) and what are the conditions of the creek. Together, we survey the area and come up with a game plan on how many people will be out to cleanup the creek and what our tools needs are.

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Fungus along Coyote Creek
Photo by Deb Kramer

I am always amazed by what I encounter in the creek each time I go down.
Sometimes I marvel a the beauty of the trees as they are leafing out. Other times, I see the massive amounts of trash left behind by homeless people who don’t care enough to keep their own “homes” clean. I also hear the birds and see the ducks splashing in the water. This spring, I saw beautiful fungus. Occasionally, I meet a homeless person living on the creek, and talk with him or her about the situation they are in and observe the difficulties he or she has continuing to live here.

Each section of the creek we visit to survey has its own character. Some areas are wide open flood planes; others are narrow bands of dense trees. Sometimes the shrubs are thick, and other areas, we encounter sparse undergrowth. The occasional deluges this past winter/spring encouraged the grasses to grow very tall, covering the trash and adding a sense of lushness at the edges of the creek. But with this burst of water, the ever present poison oak looms, beautifully green, oh-so shiny, and this year, some individual leaves (one of the three to let it be) are as large as my fist.

 

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Council Member Tam Nguyen shares
his vision for Coyote Creek
Photo by Deb Kramer

I hope that you have the opportunity to take a trek along the trails adjacent to the creek to enjoy the beauty. As Council Member Tam Nguyen says, “I’d like to cleanup this creek so we can enjoy it as our parklands.” Please join in the work needed to make this happen. Let me know how you’d like to become involved.

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