San Francisquito Creek

Native Plant Nurseries Aid in Successful Restoration efforts

Save The Bay has an on-site plant propagation program to grow site specific plants, which saves money and allows us to involve our volunteers in all stages of the restoration process. Save The Bay maintains a native plant nursery at MLK in partnership with East Bay Regional Park District and another nursery in partnership with the City of Palo Alto in the Palo Alto Baylands. These nurseries provide plant material for all of our restoration locations. Currently, we grow tens of thousands of native seedlings.

To grow site-specific plants, Save The Bay works with volunteers to collect native seeds and plant only native seedlings that are grown from seed collected within the watershed (or closest watershed with available seed). This is approach to restoration mimics the most natural native plant process.

San Francisquito Creek is the last South Bay creek running above ground as it flows to the Bay.  As a result of its inclusion in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, the wetland habitat at its mouth remains a refuge for many native species, including shorebirds and fish like the steelhead trout. The Baylands Preserve covers 1,940 acres and is the largest undisturbed marshland on the Bay.

Spanish explorers Portola and Crespi discovered San Francisquito Creek in the late 1700s and action taken by local activists have helped to maintain the health and beauty of the wetland area.

  • 1920s/1930s: Palo Alto City Engineer John Fletcher Byxbee draws initial plans for Baylands area.
  • 1921: The City purchases 40 acres of marshland to develop a municipal airport, salt-water swimming pool, yacht harbor and clubhouse, playgrounds, picnic groups, golf course, and game reserve.
  • 1960s: Local activists, such as Lucy Evans, fight for the protection of the Baylands' natural habitats. Harriet Mundy circulates a petition to shop a $30 million private development; the City halted development until the Baylands Master Plan was prepared.
  • 1992: The Emily Renzel Wetlands restoration project is completed with a $1,000,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy.

Save The Bay Restores the Palo Alto Baylands
Shorebirds from all over the South Bay take advantage of the abundant resources in the natural marshes and nearby industrial salt ponds. To ensure the conservation of these birds and other wildlife, Save The Bay and the City of Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve are working together to restore wetland habitat at the mouth of San Francisquito Creek.

Restoration goals at this site include:

  • Work closely with schools, community groups and corporations to restore critical habitat
  • Revegetate marsh by removing invasive weeds and replacing with native wetland plants
  • Grow native wetland plants for the restoration project in our on-site Native Plant Nursery