It was a lazy summer afternoon. The air was hot
and stuffy. Little Pacifica Frog went to visit her
grandmother at Mission Creek. Grammy lived in the most lush and
greenest plants under a tangled sycamore tree. Frogs prefer
the refreshing water under the sycamore trees to the spicy, stagnant
pool around the eucalyptus trees.
Knock, knock,“ Is anybody home?" croaked Little
Pacifica. "Coming, coming!" Grammy said hoarsely. She unfastened a
piece of grass that held the door closed on her tule house.
Little Pacifica hopped in happily. Pacifica
lives downstream with her family in a nearby lagoon, but
during the summer it gets real hot.
Pacifica, I missed you so much!" exclaimed
Grammy. She proceeded to give Pacifica a sticky froggy kiss and
handed her a chilled FrogAde. "You only visit me because it’s nice
and wet here with all these oaks and sycamores giving us shade,"
teased Grammy. "Not true," said Little Pacifica, "I’m here because
you promised to tell me the story of Mission Creek,
"That’s right!" Grammy exclaimed. "For as long
as I can remember, I have lived in Mission Creek. Back in the old
days, I used to live in a newspaper stand. It was stuck in the mud,
but it was the only shady place so I made a home out of it. Back
then, the creek was in terrible shape. The creek banks were eroded
so us creek critters always had a difficult time getting around.
During the floods, we'd always have to scramble out of the creek
because debris would hit us."
"That's scary. You could have been killed," said
Little Pacifica. "You're right," Grammy continued on, " There were
so many eucalyptus trees that wildflowers and green bushes couldn’t
grow. Without these, life was hard for us frogs, reptiles, insects,
and birds. My friend, Bitsy Bee was so upset that there were no
flowers to make honey, she left with a long hmmmm. Many creatures
Moving cut logs
with large boulders
"That is sad Grammy." Little Pacifica
interrupted, "No friends to play with." "The pre-restoration days
were lonely." sighed Grammy, " I remember a time when I couldn’t
hear any birds singing. The only birds around were the turkey
vultures and they don’t sing. The turkey vultures loved the high
trees, and they would soar on the wind. They just look for dead
animals to feast on. So it was just a few of us miserable frogs,
croaking the blues."
Pacifica was taking a big gulp of the FrogAde
when Grammy suddenly yelled, "Do you know why the creek was in such
bad condition?" Grammy’s voice had been so loud that she scared the
FrogAde right out of Pacifica's hand. It hit her sticky webbed
feet with a big splash.
with coir logs in the
right to protect erosion of the bank
Grammy angrily croaked on, "Many suns ago, there
appeared some colorful giants. They built homes and grew orchards.
They didn't think about the creek critters and what we needed to
survive. Many creek critters left for wetter areas."
"Is that so?" Little Pacifica was surprised by
the story. Grammy went on, "The giants’ selfish use of the water and
paving of the ground with concrete and asphalt caused erosion. It
narrowed the creek channels in some places and caused deep gullies.
The erosion caused the water to become murky and choked with silt. I
don't know how I survived all those years in that newspaper stand."
"The giants finally got the hint that our creek
needed some help. They called it “restoration” and asked us
to leave for a little while. I gladly packed my bags and hopped away
for a few months. Some of those resourceful giants were able to get
money to fix our creek and help us creek critters."
"When I returned, the creek gently meandered
instead of flowing right through, so the water went slower and we
could actually cross the creek. They put coir logs, straw
wattles, and large boulders called rip-rap in special
places to control the erosion, sediment, and storm run off."
They removed many of the eucalyptus trees, but
left some behind for the turkey vultures, so they’d still have
homes. Now the vultures have a better view of us, so you'd better
watch out when you are out there playing."
"Thank you for warning me, Grammy," Little
Pacifica nervously croaked. "Life is still hard," Grammy went on, "
Now all of the creek critters can share in our beautiful creek. We
can enjoy the new trees that are like the ones that were here long
before the giants came."
Pacifica was so
proud of Grammy. Her Grammy was the only frog she knew that had seen
the effects of the restoration firsthand. Pacifica decided to spend
the summer with Grammy, so she could learn all about the trees,
shrubs and other creek critters. Best of all, it was always nice and
cool in Mission Creek.