Two City Council members who were recently given a canoe-paddler's eye-view of Palo Alto baylands waterways and sloughs say they would like the city to find ways to share the experience with more people.
Council members Gail Price and Greg Schmid were given paddles and a two-hour guided tour of the waterways by city Public Works and Community Services staff members Wednesday morning, Aug. 4.
While viewing willets, avocets, curlews and other shore birds, the council members were given a historical perspective of the baylands, one of the last remaining undisturbed wildlife habitats in the San Francisco Bay. Staff members outlined successes in reducing pollutants and discussed remaining challenges relating to pesticide and pharmaceutical chemical pollution and invasive species.
The nearby Palo Alto Airport, landfill and regional wastewater treatment plant triggered a discussion of mixed-uses near a sensitive habitat, according to city Communications Manager Linda Clerkson.
Two other council members, Nancy Shepherd and Greg Scharff, joined City Manager James Keene on a similar tour last May 21 -- bringing the total to one member shy of a council majority.
Guided canoe trips are available to the public during the summer at 650-617-3156 for a $42 fee, with pre-registration and some basic canoeing experience required.
Clerkson said the city is continuing its baylands restoration and award-winning pollution-prevention programs. Current priorities include reducing pesticide use community-wide, eliminating disposal in sewers of unwanted medicines, restricting polystyrene and plastic-bag use and enacting stricter controls for mercury from dental amalgams used by dentists.