Archive for the ‘Guadalupe Oak Grove Park’ Category

Vegetation Management Plan for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park?

 

Patrick Pizzo, one of Martin-Fontana Parks Association’s project managers, proposes timed grazing for GOGP:

A method suggested in the Vegetation Management Plan for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.  Grazing may be done via goats, sheep, or cattle; and the timing part deals with the ideal time to remove European introduced grasses and weeds, promoting the return of CA native grasses and wildflowers, which once were common in our park.  This improves the wildlife habitat for the birds, animals and insects.  Since the park is enclosed by fencing, all that would be required to exercise this option is to bring in the domestic animals and provide them with water (a plastic tot-swimming pool or bathtub).  These three photos taken in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, illustrate the benefit of timed grazing. You are looking out at Vernal pools in the Spring, about mid-March.  An area has been cyclone-fenced to provide a ‘control’.  In this area, the Cattle cannot graze.  What you see is the effectiveness of grazing in removing the European grasses and weeds which fill the fenced-in area and providing room for the native plant seed base to do its thing.  The yellow flowering plants outside the cage are native wildflowers common to Vernal Pools, as are the other ground-plants you see in the photos.  You can imagine the difference in fire-load and, considering the events of last week (a fire in the northern portion of the GOGP), one can see the benefit from timed grazing.

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park fire

When asked in an email about the afternoon fire in GOGP on June 12th , Roger Hurtado, a Workers Compensation Analyst for the San Jose Fire Department, replied that it was a controlled burn.  However, according to Michele Dexter, the Council Liaison for the Office of District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, reported that it was not a controlled burn, but a fire started by a tipped over BBQ being used illegally in the park.  The perpetrators fled the scene, so it is not known who started it.  Thankfully, the SJFD got there as quick as possible, and got the fire  controlled or who knows how far and wide it would have spread.

Sadly, Lee Pauser, who has a web site called Birdsfly, reported that there were 9 Bluebird nesting boxes in or adjacent to the burn area.  Five nestlings in a box on the edge of the burn area were found dead.  Five 2-day-old nestlings in another box deep in the burn area were weak, and or not expected to survive.  Not only were there birds nesting in the nest boxes, but the park has many natural cavities which are used for nesting purposes. There may also have been birds nesting on the ground, or in nests they have built in the trees.  The burn has blackened the hillside that harbors insects that the birds are so dependent on for feeding their young. This loss of local insects now means that they will have to extend their foraging range.

Park Visitors:

With an Excessive Heat Watch having been issued by the National Weather Service for Friday through Sunday across the Bay Area, please take care not to have this happen again.  With the huge mass of dead weeds in the park, yesterday’s event clearly illustrates the problem with the fire-load in the park and the fire department’s ability to deal with the situation. Access to roads, multiple entry points and such, made for a rapid response. Winds were active at the time of the fire, and we were all very fortunate. Thanks to the San Jose Fire Department’s quick response, good coordination, and proper training, they were able to put out the fire before it had spread any further.

Check out the Hawks in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park

Thanks to photographer Ed Grossmith, we have these beautiful photos of a family of Red-Shouldered Hawks living in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.

 

 

Have you seen the Soap Plants in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park?

On Martin-Luther King Day, I went to the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park for a walk. It was a beautiful day and, it seems, we continue to have Indian Summer days in succession. I noticed that the buds on the Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii) were beginning to open! The little flowers that lead to acorns were beginning to show as were new, green leaflets. This is, perhaps, a false spring, with heavy winds and cold weather to follow (and hopefully rain!). Cold and wind can do a lot of damage to young oak leaves, as was the case last Spring. It is good to see that the prior heavy rains and current warm weather are promoting spring-like conditions…. but this is worrisome as it is only the end of January. What can you do? Enjoy it while it lasts!

chlorogalum-pomeridianum

I also noticed signs of CA native wildflowers burgeoning forth! Actually there are/were few flowers, just the sprouting plants. We’ll see the flowers soon, especially if we have a string of 72 degree days! More likely we must await the end of February and March/April.

I want to tell you about one CA Native Wildflower in the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park that grows from an underground bulb, and ask you to follow its progress this Spring. The plant is called Soap Plant (common name): Chlorogalum pomeridianum, the botanical name. This plant was used by the indigenous people to a great extent. Go to the following web page to see how it was used:

http://www.parksconservancy.org/conservation/plants-animals/native-plant-information/soap-plant.html

To see how it looks currently, go to the following URL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorogalum_pomeridianum#mediaviewer/File:Chlorogalum_pomeridianum_aka_Soap_Plant.JPG

Note the ‘waviness’ of the leaves. As you enter GOGP from J. Fontana Park near the Tot lot, a good patch of the Soap Plant is on the upper trail  to your left, just as you are climbing to the first quarry site.  Now the Soap plant is ‘off trail’ for the most part; so please be careful to visit only the near-trail soap-plant sites. In ‘normal’ times, the first flowers may open just prior to Memorial Day.

Let me tell you one fascinating aspect of this plant. The flowers open like clockwork, one by one, within a minute of each other, and they go from fully closed to fully open in a matter of seconds. You don’t need slow motion or timed exposure to see these flowers open! For a little “soap opera” here’s a short PowerPoint presentation.  And here is a little soap-plant story I wrote in 2007.

Patrick Pizzo

Pat Pizzo

Pat Pizzo

 

Final Results of “Guadalupe Oak Grove Park’s Future Survey”

gogp_park_ sign2On December 31, 2014, the Guadalupe Oak Grove Survey came to a close. Seventy-two park users responded to the survey. The results are reported in the .pdf file linked below. We thank all who responded to this survey. The one message that came across loud and clear is that residents LOVE this park!

The survey results are being made available to the City of San Jose, (District 10 and Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services) and the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. These are the people who, in cooperation, will steward the maintenance and long-range viability of the GOGP. Our intent at collecting the data was to give the City a sense of what Almaden Valley residents and park users want for the GOGP. Personally, I think we met our goal and I thank Dave Poeschel and Lee Pauser for their efforts on behalf of GOGP.

Patrick P. Pizzo, MFPA projects manager.

For the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park’s Future Survey Final Results click here.

LAST DAY to take the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park survey is Dec 31, 2014

The GOGP Survey has an end-date of December 31, 2014. If you have not completed the survey, please do so. We would greatly appreciate it.

GOGP Walkthru

Our walkabouts have been completed. If however, you have a group of 8 or more people who would like a tour to access the park condition, please contact Patrick Pizzo at the following e-mail address:

patrick.pizzo@sjsu.edu

We will try to accommodate your need.

There has been some confusion about how to access the survey. You can get to the survey via the following links:

https://saveourparktrees.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/gathering-input-on-the-use-and-future-of/ or
http://survey.birdsfly.info/

Once you are there, click on the underscored and bolded word ‘survey‘ near the bottom of the page.

Thank you for participating. Patrick P. Pizzo

P.S. The results of the survey will be posted on the Martin-Fontana Park Association (MFPA) web page.

Note: To be sure you don’t miss the posting of the results, you can add your email address to the box on the right side of the home page and you will be notified of any new post by email.

Follow box

SAMPLE IMAGE ONLY

 

Gathering Input on the Use and Future of

gogp_park_ sign2

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park is in Almaden Valley between the Villas of Almaden, the Jeffrey Fontana Park, and the Campton Chase. It is about 64 acres of undeveloped hillsides, oak savanna, and oak woodland laced with hiking/walking trails. When the park first opened it was classified as a regional park, and, due to budget cutbacks, was changed to neighborhood park status and transferred to Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS).

When opened in 1987, the park, being an open savannah, was characteristically open–one could see through the park. The openness of the park encouraged the growth of grasses, flowers, and new oak seedlings. As time marches on, the openness of the park is being lost–the park is evolving into an oak woodland. One cannot now see through the park which raises safety issues. Wildflowers that were abundant in the park are now scarce.

Soon, a partnership between the City and the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority will jointly serve the needs of the park. The purpose of this survey is to solicit your opinion as to the future direction for the GOGP with the main issue, to preserve the park as an open Valley and Oak Savannah or to let it naturally evolve and integrate with plants and trees within the surrounding urban landscape.

It is important to understand the issue of the park’s future. To help you understand the issue, several walk-throughs with a docent are scheduled.

* Sunday November 23, 2014 beginning at 10 AM and 2 PM
* Saturday December 6, 2014 beginning at 10 AM and 2 PM

These walk-throughs will commence near the park’s restroom, and are expected to take about an hour or more depending upon the depth of questions and discussions. It is recommended that you participate in one of the walk-throughs and/or read the document accessible by clicking on the link titled ‘An overview of the park’ below. There are also several other documents available that provide additional background information for the interested person.

* An overview of the park
* The park’s 1987 Master Plan Report
* A condensed version of the park’s 1987 Master Plan Report
* A list of bird species that have been seen in the park
* UTD Vascular Plant List

The management of the Guadalupe Oak Grove Neighborhood Park is currently under the stewardship of PRNS, as are the two parks, T.J.Martin and J. Fontana. The City recently partnered with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA) to jointly maintain/manage the Alum Rock Park on the east-side of San Jose. Because the GOGP is a remnant of the county untouched by development, discussions will soon take place to consider joint stewardship of GOGP by the City and SCCOSA.

Users of the GOGP know the park to be a unique island of old Oaks and chaparral, a natural oak island surrounded by urban development. Because of this, there are two options regarding park management. One option is to preserve the Park as it is, a Valley and Blue Oak savannah in a sea of grassland. The second option is to let the park naturally transition to an oak woodland, as influenced by the surrounding urban landscape. There is no right or wrong answer; however, the decision will guide the maintenance and stewardship plan to be implemented by the City and the SCCOSA. The walking trails and the current uses of the park will be retained as is.

After gaining an understanding of the issue in play, please participate in the *SURVEY*. The cut-off date for the survey is midnight on December 31st, 2014. Your participation is very much appreciated.

Note: This activity is being conducted by park volunteers with the backing of the Martin-Fontana Parks Association. The results of the survey will be presented to Council District 10 prior to the opening of discussion between the SCCOSA and the City of San Jose. Organizers of this effort include Organizers of this effort include Patrick P. Pizzo (SCV-CNPS affiliation, MFPA), Dave Poeschel (Sierra Club affiliation, MFPA), and Lee Pauser (Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society affiliation, Friends of the Almaden Meadows Park).