San Bruno Mountain Watch Welcomes New Stewards

Two new Mountain Watch stewards have joined us - replacing the irreplaceable Iris Clearwater who is heading back east to be close to family. Ariel Cherbowsky (on the right) will be the Stewardship Coordinator, and Ildiko Polony is the new Mission Blue Nursery Manager. They've been working with Iris the last month in order to make a smooth transition. All Stewardship Volunteer Programs are still in place - so join Ariel or Ildiko in the field or at the nursery - they are both excited to get going. Read their bios and see what inspires them at a Glimpse from the Field.

Barn Owl lounging on Upper Bog Trail - a recent birding treat on San Bruno Mountain!

San Bruno Mountain Shares its Endangered Mission Blue Butterflies

Liam O'Brien and Kirra Swenerton, on San Bruno Mountain, place Mission Blue butterfly in container for transport.For the last six years, teams from the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and the Creek Earth Observation Center have worked to reintroduce the Mission Blue butterfly to Twin Peaks in San Francisco. A historical home to the Mission Blue butterfly, the Twins Peak's population was either extirpated or at an undetectably low level - it wasn't quite clear. In 2009, female butterflies were captured on San Bruno Mountain and moved to Twin Peaks. At one time, San Bruno Mountain and Twin Peaks were connected by open space - obviously not the current situation. The Twin Peaks population now needs to be resilient since there is no natural route for repopulation from San Bruno Mountain. Transplants are constantly monitored for success and it seems they are doing OK, with probably 100 females on Twin Peaks. Experts say that they've "taken" on Twin Peaks, but this is still an isolated population and subject to natural population variation and threats from loss of critical habitat and preferred host plants.

Eric Simons' May 18 article in Bay Nature, "Driving Home the Butterfly" gives background and overview for this interesting attempt at the preservation and expansion of an endangered insect species.

You can read about San Bruno Mountain's 3 special butterflies at our Rare and Endangered Butterflies pages.

Deal Offers Sand Dunes Protection - Finally!

Endangered plants and artifacts from ancient communities will be preserved from the threat of development, with the donation to San Mateo County of privately owned parcels covering part of the Daly City Dunes. This May 2, 2015 article in the San Mateo Daily Journal covers the finalization of the transfer of the 3.25 acre parcel to the San Bruno Mountain State and County Park. In February 2015 the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to accept the land donation. This was the last step in the land acquisition after last year's unanimous approval by the San Mateo County Parks Commission that the parcel should be annexed to the park (see our June 2014 dunes update).

Del Schembari, Mountain Watch Board Member, tirelessly shepherded this project for SBMW over this multi-year effort. Also read Del's dunes update article in our July 2013 newsletter for more background.

Push for 'Preservation Conservation Area' Designation — recent press

The February 12, 2015 San Mateo Daily Journal article, Push to protect 'urban oasis': San Bruno Mountain eyed for preservation, details Mountain Watch's efforts to have the park's 2,326 acres designated as a Priority Conservation Area under a program established in 2007 to identify Bay Area lands for environmental conservation and protection. If approved, San Bruno Mountain would be the eighth such designation in San Mateo County.

Daly City Councilman David Canepa played a pivotal role in the unanimous vote by the City Council to pass a resolution supporting the establishment of a Priority Conservation Area around San Bruno Mountain. The Examiner article, Daly City council signals support for San Bruno Mountain priority conservation area, details the designation process and highlights benefits of such a designation in opening doors to revenue sources for improving access to San Bruno Mountain and acquiring new open space.