Saturday, September 14, 2013

Race to protect 125,000 year old Daly City sand dunes, and weed-like flower

San Francisco Chronicle, 9/13/13.  "Hilldale school buys sliced of Daly City dunes."  

Daly City dunes, ur hill
During the Pleistocene age, the Pacific Ocean lapped at the edge of an island not far from present-day San Francisco. There were sand dunes, wildflowers, wind and fog - all the usual trappings of the California coast.

Lessingia, an endangered plant, grows only on these dunes and in the Presidio. Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle
Endangered species,
grows in Presidio and Daly City dunes,
why can't this weed grow elsewhere,
why don't you care?
Fast-forward 125,000 years.  The sea level dropped and the island became San Bruno Mountain. Most of those dunes are covered by houses and shopping centers now, but a 10-acre stretch in Daly City remains, an ancient beach landlocked by suburbia.

 .... The school has not yet decided what to do with the property, but officials said the 64-year-old campus desperately needs more parking and play space for its 100 or so students. Officials also wanted to prevent homes from being built on the site because those blocks are already overly congested, said the school's business manager, John Sittner.  Read article.

Related - San Bruno Mountain Watch/Aleta George.10/26/12. "Fight for Daly City Dunes".  "In the ongoing debate over just how many hills there are in San Francisco –  anywhere from seven to 70 – you are unlikely to hear it argued that San Bruno Mountain in South San Francisco should be included in the mix. This iconic peak is technically in San Mateo County and often feels worlds away from the city. But when you stand atop the ancient sand dunes on the mountain’s northwestern flank, it’s easy to see that this was once part of the vast San Francisco dune system that spread from Land’s End to San Bruno Mountain. And that’s why San Bruno Mountain Watch is fighting to protect this small back-dune remnant.  The Daly City Dunes, adjacent to San Bruno Mountain State and County Park and above Hillside Park, belong to an ancient dune system that formed during an interglacial period at least 100,000 years ago. These weathered and yellowed Pleistocene dunes stand in contrast to the younger, white-sand dunes in the Presidio and along the Great Highway that formed atop the older dunes around 10,000 years ago. " Dunes photograph from this article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


ian butler said...

"why can't this weed grow elsewhere,
why don't you care?"

It could potentially grow elsewhere, but it doesn't belong elsewhere. It co-evolved with the rich tapestry of other species in the area, which is why it is so important to preserve those patches of habitat. And, yes, I do care!

Anonymous said...

Ian, I consider you one of the more intelligent members of the gang of no. Do you understand weed and plant seed and spores blow in the wind land on dirt and grow in new places. If you do not believe this I can show you weeds on my grass that I have never seen before.
Also the hill is filled with a licorce type plant that has taken over the top half of the back hill.

Manzanita aka coyote brush has taken over just about everyone elses hill.

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't care, but I can appreciate that someone else might. The article states the school bought just one of the ten acres to possibly be used for more parking/play space for students and faculty. That seems very reasonable and balanced.

Anonymous said...

"Do you understand weed and plant seed and spores blow in the wind land on dirt and grow in new places?"

If California is last in education, surely Pacifica is last in CA. May the wind blow and fill the empty places soon.

Kathy Meeh said...

"... it doesn't belong elsewhere. It co-evolved with the rich tapestry of other species in the area.." Ian 1158.

No way can I wrap my head around that thought. Its a weed, but even if it were a potato, or a human, or a rat, or all of the above-- being "native" isn't necessary and may even be regressive to the species. (And this converse theorem might also apply to Pacificans born here).

Anonymous said...

Ah, the arrogance inherent in this
ideology. This belongs here, that belongs there, you don't belong anywhere. We should reject these limits, just as Nature does.

Anonymous said...


May the wind blow between your ears. In one ear out the other.


ian butler said...

The San Francisco lessingia is an example of the exact opposite of a weed. A weed is a plant introduced from a different region that grows unchecked in a new environment. The lessingia is a plant that has been in this particular spot since before there were humans in North America. Whether it may share some superficial resemblance to some invasive weeds is irrelevant. There are insects in the Daly City dunes that pollinate this particular plant. There are others that feed on it or use it for shelter or to lay their eggs. It all fits together. I recently took a hike at the Pedro Point Headlands with Jake Sigg who explained the importance of these natural communities, and how, if you disturb the community too much, it falls apart. you can watch an interview of him for a deeper explanation:

todd bray said...

I'm sure that Ian as a native born and raised in Daly City has a very valid passion. But like Pacifica's sand cliffs these of Daly City and SF to the north (Ft. Funston) are changing shape every day.

Anonymous said...

Good news native plant enthusiasts! There are nine acres left. Buy it for your own lofty purposes.

Anonymous said...

The only weed that serves a purpose to about 75% of Pacificans is that funny 5 prong shaped weed y'all smoke.

Listen to baaahoooey trying to be the spokesman for Ian.

Anonymous said...

Can you make money off it, eat it, smoke it, or feed it to animals.

If you must check no it is a useless plant