Getting ready to leave for work. Planning on doing a little perimeter check for (C. pallasi) before wasting my time at Coyote all day. Still too early for those so called "prehistoric dinosaur catfish," though no doubt this rain will bring a few desperate fishermen out of the woodwork.
Saw some sardines at the Third Street Bridge yesterday, (maybe ten per bucket) before the rains started in ernest. Very weird the whole Islais Creek sardine thing. I mean, like, why? What's in there?
"Islais," it turns out, is the Yelamu word for a wild cherry that used to grow along the banks of the creek. Imagine that. Not exactly sure about the pronunciation of "Islais" although I notice that Crazy Pete says: "Iz-liss," and I am willing to accept him as an authority on the subject.
There's a dilapidated, graffiti-strewn kiosk in the small beat up old park next to the Islais Creek pier. This Kiosk is depressing for several reasons:
1. It details the grim history of Islais Creek, from its pristine Ohlone/coho salmon days, to its industrial decline, to its complete dessicration, to its use as a sewer conduit, to its forlorn and concretized present.
2. The kiosks themselves are in such a wretched state, one wonders why the city even bothered. I mean, what's the point of initiating a project if you're just going to let it fall into ruin after a few years? Was there no plan for up keep? Or was Islais Creek Park merely another victim of the budget crisis? Seems to me the neighborhood (Bayview-HP) could seriously benefit by a nice, well maintained park, no?
Anyway, what we learn in reading the remnants of the kiosk at Islais is that the animal-processing industry once flourished along it's filthy banks (hence the name: Butcher Town). We're talking slaughter houses, tanneries, and glue factories. Evidently, the noxious horrors of this era (mid 19th to early 20th century) had to be smelled to be believed. Often the creek became choked, to the point of overflowing, with rotting offal. Mmmmm. (Wake up and smell the offal). No wonder, that by the mid nineteen-teens the place was known unofficially as: "Shit Creek"--a moniker which has lasted to the present age.
Funny, I wrote all this before checking Wikipedia. Lot's of interesting history on the creek there. But if you don't feel like surfing the infer-net, here's an interesting quote that kind of explains why it all went down the drain... (pun intended):
"On November 19, 2001, construction crews, while preparing to drill an electrical conduit (consisting of six large 115kV electrical cables) across the creek for the Muni Metro T Third St. light rail line, cracked the concrete sewer underground which carries more than 80 million gallons of sewage a day. The incident flooded the creek and its adjacent Muwekma Ohlone Park with sewage. The park had to be excavated to make way for the repairing of the sewer pipe. It was estimated that it would take more than $101,660 to repair and $65,000 for wildlife habitat restoration.
Since Islais Creek is a culvert that carries storm water, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater, it is possible for the sewage to overflow. Such overflow can cause a public health hazard as Islais Creek displays higher level of heavy metals, PCBs, Bacteria as well as organochlorines than other parts of the San Francisco Bay."
Well.. that's it for today... funny, I'm heading to Shit Creek right now. Living the dream I guess. Maybe the sardines are running? Sad to think all those fishermen down there are actually eating fish from this place. Yikes. They tell me you can still see the headwaters (of shit creek) up in Glenn Park. I may have to go check that out at some point. I mean just for poetic reasons. Anyway, here's the modern aerial view:
And that's going to do it for today. From way up the creek without a paddle, this is Lombard of The Intertidal, for The Monkeyface News, signing out.