Laguna Creek watershed runs through the heart of Fremont. The
watershed is fed by run-off during our winter and spring storms and by
natural springs along the foothills of Mission Peak. Several
creeks, such as Vargas and Morrison Creek, feed into Mission as it flows
alongside Lake Elizabeth and nourishes Stivers Lagoon. The water
then flows via Irvington and Laguna Creeks into Mud Slough, and then into
the San Francisco Bay.
The impact on Mud Slough from development in the area adjacent to the slough has been significant. Due to its close proximity to the San Francisco Bay, its habitat is unique. Salt evaporators are present on one side and industrial parks on the other, as the slough meanders into the larger Coyote Creek. It then empties into the San Francisco Bay.
In the geologic
past, a once mighty river flowed through this area. Large animals such as
mammoths, sabercats, sloths, and camels enjoyed the rich habitat during
the Pleistocene. The changing landscape, caused by movement along the Hayward fault,
interrupted the major river flow and created a series of creeks. For
thousands of years, Mud Slough was a fertile habitat, teeming with
wildlife, including grizzly bear, elk and beaver. Many fish and bird
species abounded. The animals that lived in the slough and the surrounding
habitat found food and shelter.
including the Ohlone Indians, used Mud
Slough as a road to the Mission area especially for hunting and gathering
food from the San Francisco Bay. Even the early Spanish explorers would
bring small boats up Mud Slough to access the lush hunting in the
surrounding wetlands. As more humans moved into the area, it was an easy
place to dispose of garbage and sewage. Prior to 1970, the value of the
wetlands was not understood, so human activities destroyed the very
habitat that attracted them in the first place.
the population grew, changes in the traditional land use occurred.. The need for
salt throughout the west was an opportunity for local companies to create
salt ponds. Dikes were formed and large evaporative ponds were created, as
much of the lower San Francisco Bay was used to harvest salt for use in
western United States. As the wetlands were destroyed, inexpensive land
became available and many industrial parks were created, which brought
jobs and commerce to the area.
Tidal currents in the San Francisco Bay send
garbage from the south bay towards the slough which in turn drifts
in on the incoming tides. Debris also flows downstream from Laguna and
Irvington Creeks. We can prevent some of this pollution by keeping the creeks above the Slough as clean as
possible, and enforcing existing
pollution ordinances. We can be vigilant and contact the
appropriate agencies when we see problems
occurring. Mud Slough needs to be revitalized by restoring habitat.