by Jaimie Baxter
On Saturday, January 14, the Marin Municipal Water District kicked off a year of centennial events with a family-friendly “Water Walk” on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed.
Leaders of the Water Walk—including Craig Lauridsen of the Water Conservation Department, Ranger Matt Cerkel, and AmeriCorps volunteers Jessica Missaghian, Ben Schleifer and Jaimie Baxter—guided a group of 15 adults and children through the diverse ecosystems surrounding Lake Lagunitas. On the first few stops of the walk, the group learned about water conservation, water demand and the history of Lagunitas dam and watershed lands. Craig Lauridsen recited a quote written in 1880 from the banks of the now Lake Lagunitas: “The reservoir being filled to its full capacity in any wet winter, will hold more than enough water to supply all the present or perspective wants of San Rafael and vicinity for more than two years” (History of Marin County, J.P Munro-Fraser). Craig then asked the crowd if they knew how long the lake would sustain the current residents of Marin County. The answer? Only five days until Lake Lagunitas would be sucked dry.
As the walk continued, hike leaders discussed adaptations of redwood trees, the cooling effects of madrone trees and the foraging expertise of the acorn woodpecker. The leaders and participants shared other tidbits about the local flora and fauna throughout the trek. Concluding the walk was a discussion about the persistent invasive species of the watershed—including the American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), French broom (Genista monspessulana) and the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)—and MMWD’s efforts to monitor and control them.
Our expectations for this water walk were greatly exceeded. We hope to see many more eager and enthusiastic faces at our centennial events in the future. Our next event will be a Leap Day Amphibian Hike on February 29. Please join us for another fun-filled event on the watershed!