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    • Donald Sanders

    • April 20, 2015 in Columnists

    Take a walk with me

    Why do some people argue with me about creek restoration work? Have they lost their mind? I’m beginning to think that maybe they have absolutely gone crazy. I mean it’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth isn’t it if someone wants to spend millions of dollars to clean up Putah Creek and you complain about it? Would you rather the money went to some other creek?

    If I simplify things just a little it may open the minds of all these haters so they can see things a little clearer. I’ll get to that in just a moment, but first I’d like to say that it is true that the creek was lovely just the way it was before all the restructuring work began. It was as natural as could be, natural but not healthy.

    Think about this. Pretend you own Putah Creek, all of it including Lake Berryessa and Lake Solano. Wouldn’t that make you responsible for the health of every drop of water that travels through your creek? I think it would. I know that if I was lucky enough to own it I would care very much about its health.

    I don’t own any of it and it is very important to me that I do all that I can to have a creek that is as healthy as it can be. I hope that many of you feel the same. I know that Jan Schubert and Rev. Michael J. Hebda are worried about the creek for they both voiced their opinion in this week’s Winters Express. Ms. Schubert wants understanding and the Rev. Hebda wants habitat for the animals. That is great; most won’t make an effort to say anything.

    Ms. Schubert, I too remember the underdeveloped paths through all of the Himalayan blackberries and poison oak. I remember how it hurt if you made a wrong step to be sliced to pieces by the thorns. Even the lovely roses were pushed beneath the blackberries that if left to nature would envelop both sides of the creek and eventually push into the yards of the homes at the overlook on Creekside Drive.

    Rev. Hebda, as for the beaver and otter, I must tell you that they are thriving exactly where they were two years ago. If you think I am being untruthful, get off your holy butt and meet me at the gazebo any day and any time you wish and I will point out exactly where they are and even a man of God will not dispute my word. Putah Creek is teaming with wildlife and fish and there are no longer areas of stagnate water with old cars and batteries to poison them.

    I have recently seen herds of deer, bobcats, beaver, otters and even mink with bushy black tails. If you do not see them and know that they are there then you are not looking in the right places at the right time. I would love to show them to you so contact me I will give you the same offer I gave the Express editor, Debra DeAngelo. I will take you or anyone else on a tour of our beautiful nature park.

    As for animal habitat, the blackberries have been replaced with wild native roses and the Eucalyptus trees with maple, alder, oak, willow and cottonwood. There is not a single animal in this area that will sink its teeth into a eucalyptus tree. Why do you find it so hard to understand that invasive plants will change everything about Putah Creek if left alone to fend for itself?

    Even the word “invasive” should give you concern that something is not right. Our Putah Creek is on the verge of becoming the showplace of the nation but it cannot be done overnight. It will take time to grow and mature into one of the healthiest and cleanest waterways in the world. An enormous amount of money has been invested and I can attest to the amount of labor involved by dedicated men and women that work very hard to secure the health of Putah Creek.

    I have heard it said that these complaints recently voiced in the winters Express are not critical of those people who volunteer labor and sweat for the health of the creek. Sir, I believe your last sentence, “I believe it is a sin against nature to destroy something that proves that nature knows best.” Is a slap in the face of many hard working volunteers that plant trees, pick up old tires, pick up old car batteries, washing machines, and dryers.

    In a year’s time our new bridge will be nearly complete, the blackberries will be replaced with fragrant roses, and hopefully there will be no Eucalyptus to squeeze out native trees. The water of our creek will be fragrant and as clean as it is cold, just like the trout and salmon enjoy it. Our ambling attentions that guide us to water will scatter any anxiety through what our eyes will behold in time. It will be lovely and naturally native, free of invasive plants and animals.

    What I fear is happening here is exactly what Oscar Wilde thought about when he wrote, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” People, go to the wild side and don’t listen to the opinions of others. Join me for a walk along the creek and judge for yourself. Especially you Rev. Hebda, I am waiting for you and Debra DeAngelo to walk with me.

    • I walk down there all the time, and have for years! I think we just have a difference of opinion on what constitutes “beauty” in a “nature” park. This “nature” park was crafted by one man, who makes his living on the grants that pay him to do the work. His motivation is suspect.
      I just prefer wild places over manmade parks. Manmade parks have no soul.
      AND…. the biggest invasive species of all are humans.

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