Tulle Sag Ponds At Tyson Lagoon
Lead by Dr. Joyce Blueford
April 13. 2013 9AM to 12PM mulch and ground cover
I was privileged to participate in the task at Tyson Lagoon located in Fremont California, off Walnut Avenue. I am taking a course at Cal State East Bay, with Dr. David Strunck. he recommended this task for course work.
This is a restoration project lead by Dr. Joyce Blueford in an effort to reestablish the native ground cover, brushes and trees for which this area is known. This area is part of the Alameda County Flood Control and Conservation District the largest natural sag pond in the area. The Tulle Ponds at Tyson Lagoon sits on the Hayward Fault system.
We began by selecting our tools rakes and hoes. Many of the high school student volunteers were eager to work but had little knowledge of tool safety. Training was minimal but some safety discussion was lead by me. Teaching students how to carry hoes and rakes in a safe manner is important. Some were swinging the tools while walking to the job site. Others placed the tools down in unsafe manners. I instructed the college and high school students to place the rakes and hoes down with the blade facing the ground, and to be aware of the space in which they were working so as not to clobber others with their tools.
The second area of instruction was looking at the job and assessing what the most efficient manner would be to move the mulched materials to the preferred areas. Most just began haphazardly moving the mulch wherever it landed. We discussed how the piles should be moved in order to cover the most area with the least movement. We discussed what the intent was for covering this area. It was being used to enrich the soils, to bury tall grasses for fire safety, within the legally required distance from buildings in the surrounding area. And finally, to reduce soil loss, from rain falls and wind.
We then began to relocate the piles of fresh mulch around trees covering ground cover completely. Dr. Blueford explained to me later that day that when she began this project nothing would grow there. That was amazing to me as it appears native plants are growing quite well here. This has been a ten-year project so far.
Dr. Blueford employs one full time assistant, to do the heavy gardening and facility upkeep. This employee also oversees the volunteer groups that come to help.
Tyson Lagoon now has a small nursery for native plants and trees to plant to restore this area to a nearly original state. Many of the plants are plucked up as they sprout. They are transplanted into small containers where they are grown to a large enough and healthy state. Then they are replanted in areas that are barren and in need of reforestation. This looks to be a very successful project. It has required large amounts of manpower. Much of this is done on a volunteer basis.
The lagoon restoration has invited waterfowl from the surrounding area to return. I observed a Grey Herron, many Teal ducks, red-winged blackbirds, thrush, water boatmen spiders; and sun turtles, in the lagoon waters. I also heard a frog or two. This is a well-shaded area now making it a pleasant area for strolling. I observed families hiking the loop of the lagoon. Young children can enjoy this area, as it is a mild hike. Dr. Blueford has also designed a museum on the site that can begin or end a hike. This educational museum holds many hands on inquiry-based exhibits. Interesting historical information and is informative for both adults and children. I enjoyed my hours of service and discovery of student based habitat restoration happening in my own neighborhood!