King Tide at Hoffman Marsh. Photo by Jane Kelly.
King Tide at Hoffman Marsh. Photo by Jane Kelly.

A king tide of 7.1 feet came to Hoffman marsh at Point Isabel on January 11 and we went out to record it. The marsh turned into a crystalline lake with birds huddled on the only small piece of land that was still able to sustain them. The berm covering the Stege pipe was completely submerged and the geese were swimming over it. Water came up so high that it flooded a couple of the newly planted buckeye (Aesculus californica) saplings. They seem to have weathered the flood but we are keeping a close eye on them to see if they need to be moved.

Speaking of plants, ‘tis the (planting) season! On Christmas Day/1st Day of Chanukah we worked with Steward Lewis and planted his site with 2 toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), 4 lizard tail (Eriophyllum staechadifolium), 10 yarrow (Achillea millefolium), 2 bee plant (Scrophularia californica), and 3 purple clarkia (Clarkia purpurea). On New Year’s Eve, we planted 6 farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena) on Tom’s site.

Stewards Sue and (now 11-year-old) Oliver Schoening moved about 20 purple needle grass (Stipa pulchra) clumps that had been planted before their stewardship commenced and that were being overgrown by nearby Artemisia californica. The transplanted grasses are now in more open areas and, with the recent rains, they are doing well. New plants for 2017 on Sue and Oliver’s site include big saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis), coffeeberry(Frangula californica), Scrophularia californica, Achillea millefolium, lippia (Phyla nodiflora), California oatgrass (Danthonia clifaornica), and various bulbs..

We were rained out for our 1st work party in January so we held it on the 2nd Saturday of the month and accomplished an incredible amount of work thanks to the stellar Stewards and volunteers who showed up. We were very happy to welcome back Steward Nina who is sporting a new knee. Core volunteers Gudrun and Nancy worked with Nina all day, heads down, soil knives in hand, meticulously removing countless bunches of invasive oat grass and oxalis from the established plants and the masses of poppies on her site. The transformation of the site in just this one work party is remarkable..

Tom joined Steward Lewis at his site planting three yampah (Perideridia kelloggii), and three Phyla nodiflora adding to the 21 plants we put in on December 25th . This new site is thriving.

Steward Ivy brought along two friends (Jessica and Shannon). This super energetic and young crew of three cleared loads of weeds on Ivy’s site before planting two bee plants and four Perideridia kelloggii. The day after the work party we spotted an anise swallowtail butterfly checking out the yampah. It looks like Ivy will see their caterpillars on her site later this year.
Our nearly final planting for this season took place on January 15th when we put in the last Scrophularia californica and seven lippia.

Hoffman marsh is a busy Point Isabel Restoration Project place now. Over the past few weeks we have spotted Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Canada Geese, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Mallards, Willets, and Egrets. Thanks to Core Volunteer John Kenny for helping ID a number of these.
Special thanks this month go to American Soil and their Manager, Donna Capozzi, who helped us resolve a problem due to a mislaid invoice. Donna worked with us and arranged for us to pick up the remaining three bags of soil we had pre-purchased to slightly amend the soils out at Point Isabel before planting. Thanks as always to the EBRPD and to our ranger Bruce.

Jane and Tom Kelly

Fllooded berm and geese. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Flooded berm and geese. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Pt. Isabel team. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Pt. Isabel team. Photo by Jane Kelly.
Birds looking for dry land at Pt. Isabel.  Photo by Jane Kelly.
Birds looking for dry land at Pt. Isabel. Photo by Jane Kelly.