Gullies and Creeks

Time flies when you’re working in a park as gorgeous as Golden Gate. We’re almost four months in, and I’ve spent the beginning of my internship learning the hydrology ropes, hopping around doing work with other interns, and helping with a couple projects. Let’s get into it.

The Gully

I’ve spent lots of time in the past couple of months working with the aquatics intern, Matt, at a wetland restoration site at the Headlands. We’ve been encouraging water to flow down the site in sheets rather than in narrow channels, which cause the area to erode, so it can hold onto water and become the wetland that it historically was. For us, this has consisted of staking in erosion fabric, raking mulch, shoveling dirt and planting wetland plants. In the dry moments sprinkled through the storm series last month, we staked in wattles (which look like rolls of jute) around the site to try and redirect water flow.

Newt on a wattle
View from the gully

The Salmon

Golden Gate’s project manager, Carolyn, has been working for the past several years on a restoration project in part of the Muir Woods stretch of Redwood Creek. The project aims to improve habitat for coho salmon, which are federally endangered. Phase 1 of the restoration project, which happened in 2019, involved removing riprap from the creek banks and adding in large woody debris structures to alter how the creek flows. Since then, Carolyn and others at the park have put together annual monitoring reports that give updates on how salmon habitat and different creek features are changing. This year, I got to help her with a few aspects of this report. Phase 2 is going into construction this summer, so you’ll definitely hear more about this project.

working with water

Throughout the park, we have dozens of dataloggers deployed that are recording information like groundwater pressure, temperature, discharge, and rainfall. Part of my job is to help our hydrotech, Annie, maintain and download some of these loggers. The loggers that record rainfall are the ones I have delt with the most. Some of these are tipping buckets, which records rainfall by measuring the amount of times a little bucket fills up with 0.01 inches of rain and tips over. Another is the Muir Woods weather station, which has a tipping bucket and other sensors, and is collecting data to continue a 90+ year dataset.

Several of my workdays have also been spent in different stretches of Redwood Creek. Here, I’ve worked with Matt and Darren, the aquatic ecologist, on things such as streamflow measurements, pebble counts and scour chain readings. These measurements help us understand how well the river is working as a habitat for native fish. 

Matt and me in big lagoon
Annie and Darren measuring streamflow
Matt and Aiko finding turtes
Fort Cronkhite!
Ladybugs at Muir Woods
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