Agua Caliente, Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, Fetters Hot Springs, History, nature, Trees

The Filterra Report

This is not a Filterra, but a similar product, installed on Rancho Drive near the intersection of Elaine’s Way.

Filterra units were installed as part of the sidewalk and streetlight project started under Redevelopment in 2009.

What is a Filterra?

What do they do?

Were the wrong plants used?

Has maintenance ever been done?

Are the missing plants going to be replaced?

Do the plants get watered in the dry season?

According to the brochure:

“Filterra  is an engineered high-performance bioretention

system.” What is a bioretention system? Read on.

Location:El Molino restaurant at Central Ave.

How does Filterra work? Again, from the brochure:

“Stormwater enters the Filterra through a pipe, curb inlet, or sheet flow and ponds over the pretreatment mulch layer,

capturing heavy sediment and debris. Organics and microorganisms within the mulch trap and degrade metals and

hydrocarbons. The mulch also provides water retention for the system’s vegetation.

2. Stormwater flows through engineered Filterra media which filters fine pollutants and nutrients. Organic material in the

media removes dissolved metals and acts as a food source for root-zone microorganisms. Treated water exits through an

underdrain pipe or infiltrates (if designed accordingly).

3. Rootzone microorganisms digest and transform pollutants into forms easily absorbed by plants.

4. Plant roots absorb stormwater and pollutants that were transformed by microorganisms, regenerating the media’s

pollutant removal capacity. The roots grow, provide a hospitable environment for the rootzone microorganisms and

penetrate the media, maintaining hydraulic conductivity.

5. The plant trunk and foliage utilize nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus for plant health, sequester heavy metals into

the biomass, and provide evapotranspiration of residual water within the system.”

They filter out contaminants in storm water using plants, soil, and microorganisms. Clear?


Page one of the Storm Water Treatment Plan of the Highway 12 Redevelopment project for sidewalks and streetlights. Dated 9/30/08. The table lists eight Filterra units. This is for the first phase of the project. When the entire project was done, there were twenty-one.

Page two shows the units near Thompson St. the drawing shows two units at the parking lot. Only one was installed.

Filterra locations

There were two problems from the start: the trees were not watered, or not watered enough, in the months after they were planted, and they were repeatedly vandalized. Well, three problems actually. Some of the units were installed in sidewalks so narrow that you couldn’t easily push a baby carriage around them or walk two-abreast around them. This is particularly glaring on the west side of the bridge over Pequeno Creek.

The units on the Pequeño Creek bridge, west side. the removal of the tree in the foreground might be considered a practical adaptation rather than vandalism.

From the “Common Issues” section of the brochure:

“the most apparent sign of an issue with a Filterra is dead vegetation. A dead tree will not absorb any pollutants through its roots. If you notice any of these issues occurring in your system, or if you have recently installed a unit that needs maintenance, it’s time to call AQUALIS. Our maintenance and repair teams will ensure that your Filterra units are regularly inspected and operating at peak efficiency,” and

 “Typically, using vegetation that naturally grows in the area is the best option, and there are specific plants required by the manufacturer. If you notice that the plant in your system is dying, it may be because the wrong type of vegetation is being used.” What species were used? I know one of the units contains nandina domestica, a decidedly non-native plant that has toxic berries and is considered invasive in some places in the U.S.

Current conditions of the plants in the Filterra units: 12 alive, 5 vandalized but still alive, 4 completely missing.


In 2021 your correspondent had this exchange with Supervisor Gorin’s office about maintenance along the highway.

My original question:

Hello, 

Can you tell me who has responsibility for the areas between the sidewalks and the building along the highway in the Springs? These areas are always full of weeds and look terrible. A Caltrans worker told me the County was responsible per an agreement. At any rate, nobody is paying attention to them. Also those “Filterra” trees need attention. Thanks!, Mike

From: Karina.Garcia@sonoma-county.org

Mike,

Below the response from TPW:

…the trees in the filterra bioswales in the sidewalk are the responsibility of the county.  Evidently, these trees have been repeatedly destroyed/broken by the public.  Anything behind the sidewalk is the responsibility of each property owner.  This means that the property owners are responsible for the grass strips noted below.  Thanks!

Let us know if we may be of further assistance.

Kindly,

Karina

From: Mike Acker <ackermichael6@gmail.com
Sent: Sunday, November 7, 2021 8:59 PM
To: Karina Garcia <Karina.Garcia@sonoma-county.org>
Cc: Arielle Kubu-Jones <Arielle.Kubu-Jones@sonoma-county.org>; Hannah Whitman <Hannah.Whitman@sonoma-county.org>
Subject: Re: Highway 12 jurisdiction

EXTERNAL

Thanks you Karina, 

I’m very impressed that you work on Sunday, but do get some rest!:)

Mike

On Nov 7, 2021, at 8:52 PM, Karina Garcia <Karina.Garcia@sonoma-county.org> wrote:

Dear Mike,

On behalf of Supervisor Gorin thank you reaching out and bringing this matter to our attention. We also thank you for providing a clear description and picture.

Your email was shared with our Caltrans contacts as well as Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works. I am including Arielle Kubu-Jones and Hannah Whitman from our office for follow up, as I will be out of the office for a week starting Tuesday.


Kindly,

Karina

My answer: Thanks for your reply Karina. That the areas in question are the responsibility of the property owners does not square with the fact that Caltrans cleaned up a large strip in Agua Client a few months ago. At the time, the worker told me it was really the county’s responsibility, but they were doing it. However, if it really is the responsibility of the property owners, how can the County help inform and coordinate efforts at clean up and beatification? Whoever has the legal responsibility, it’s a community matter that effects us all. We fought long and hard for the sidewalks and street lights and are happy to have them, but these eyesore diminish that positive impact. Below is an example of the cleanup Caltrans did in July.  (Image)

Actually, Caltrans was cleaning up the sidewalk of debris that has fallen from the private property along side. But my comment about this being a community matter, no matter who is responsible for what, stands. The County should lead on this, as on many other matters on which they are hands–off.


A Tour of The Filterras

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Photographs, Trees, Wonders and Marvels

A Neighborhood Phenomena Sampler

Fences and trees: they have conversations, disputes, collaborations. Time is involved.

Around and through.
2021
2007
A gentle push.
Stately interruption.
Direct confrontation.
This one deserves special mention. Actually it deserves an award for adaptive reuse. During the house addition build, the old garage was torn down, but the back wall was retained and incorporated into the new fence.
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Architecture, Boyes Hot Springs, History, Place Names/Street Names, Trees

The Boyes Hot Springs Plaza

On December 20, 1956, the Sonoma Index Tribune reported “Old timers in Boyes felt some remorse this Monday when the old stately palm tree in the Boyes Plaza was cut down to make way for a new building.” The new building was the second half of the Plaza Center building, which houses the post office today. The IT went on, “They (the old timers) could remember standing beneath that tree when the old train used to unload vacationers at the railroad station, located years ago, right near the tree.”

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The Boyes Hot Springs Plaza palm tree, 1943. courtesy Bruce Greiwe

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Aurthor’s collection

 

Yes, there was a Plaza in Boyes Springs. It existed as part of the land owned by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. A railroad map from 1925 shows an elongated lozenge shaped feature, parallel to the tracks, bisected by pathways at right angles, and with a circular form at the center. The palm tree was there, according to an aerial photo from 1943.

BHSPlazaRR

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Plaza showing palm tree. The depot had been removed the previous year. Photo courtesy Bob Palmelee.

In 1949 the IT reported that the Boyes Springs Boosters Club voted to “ put a new lawn at the Boyes Hot Springs Plaza and pay for the electricity used in keeping the “Boyes Hot Springs Welcome” sign lighted each evening.

BoyesSpringsSign

Courtesy Jerry Biers

In 1941 plans for the celebration of the centennial of the Bear Flag revolt included an event at the BHS Plaza.

In 1949, the community celebrated its own “centennial.” How 1849 was chosed as a founding year is unclear. The hot springs had been commercialized by 1847 by Andrew Heoppner. Thaddeus Leavenworth arrived in 1849, but Boyes didn’t show up until 1882.

At any rate, the editorial page of the Index Tribune approved.

BHSCentennailEditorial

BHS1939SMISign

The Plaza and palm looking north, 1930s.

The idea of a new Boyes Hot Springs Plaza has resurfaced in recent years. Several architects have produced conceptual plans. Below is the Ross, Drulis Cusenberry version.

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Trees

The Oak Tree at Sierra Drive

Just south of the Sonoma Mission Inn, on the west side of Highway 12, Sierra Drive intersects.

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Aerial photo with streets courtesy of Arthur Dawson

Google Maps

At that corner stands one of our landmark oak trees. The tree is in front of the building that now houses Ross Drulis Cusenberry Architects. The building was built in 1966 for Sierra National Bank. It seems that the street, originally known as Meincke Road (more on that later), was renamed for the bank. The street also has the distinction of being on the former NWPRR right-of-way (the tracks were removed in 1942).

Our tree is a Valley Oak, Quercus lobata. According to the California Native Plant Society (http://calscape.org/), the Valley Oak ranges over the interior valleys of the State, and needs to be near a source of water (Lily Creek*, which flows down Arroyo Road, tunnels under the highway very near the tree.) It can grow to 100’ in height and live for as many as 500 years. The tree in question, which has three trunks, certainly could be 100 years old. We have a photograph of the tree (and building) from 1973, which shows it to be in pretty poor shape. In 2018 it appears to be much healthier.

*Thanks to Greg Larson for the creek name.

 

valleyoak

195SierraBank1973Ross2018.1

1973 top. 2018 bottom. Top photo courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

The tree may appear in some other historic photos.

BoyesStationAuburn

Boyes Depot, 1930s, (approximately located in the parking lot behind the Plaza Center Building), looking north to Sonoma Mountain. The oak in the foreground is possibly the Sierra Drive tree.

iValleydrug copy

Photo by Zan Stark, 1950s. The location is opposite Arroyo Road on the Highway.

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Oaks are never more beautiful than in winter.

Next post: About Sierra Drive/Meincke Road.

 

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, History, Photographs, Trees, Uncategorized

The Fairmont Employee Parking Lot

The site at the corner of Vallejo and Highway 12, now in use as the employee parking lot for the Sonoma Mission Inn, has a long history.

This postcard, post marked 1913, shows the entry arch, to Woodleaf Park (in the middle of the lot),  which was one of the early subdivisions in Boyes Hot Springs. The sign at left reads “Desirable Summer and Winter Cottages for rent. J. W. Minges.” Minges was a prominent land owner and businessman in early twentieth century Boyes Hot Springs and was often referred to as the “mayor” of Boyes Springs.

WoodleafArch2web

Liaros1925web

This is part of a full page ad (above) from 1925 promoting Boyes Hot Springs. It reads, in part, “In place of the frame building and barber shop that was located next to the original post Office at Boyes, the enterprising business man (Bob Liaros) let the contract for a handsome hollow-tile building with concrete floors and fireproof throughout.”

The view from the 1930s (below) shows the building mentioned above.  Lairos was another Boyes booster and long-time business owner. Beyond the Liaros building are the ice plant and Sam Agnew’s service station at Vallejo St.

Lookingsouth@Vallejoweb

Liaros sold part of his land to the proprietor of the ice plant.

LairosIcePlantweb copy

AgnewAdweb

The building changed hands in 1949.LairosVarietyStorePlansJims

This article mentions that Jim’s Lunchroom is located in the building. If only we could get the Embalmers to come back! Perhaps they could “frolic?”

ZanS12ALookingSouthweb

The above mentioned variety store, operated at one time by the Polidori family.

BHS1939SMISignweb1930s ?BHS1950sSnapshots2webBHS1950sSnapshots5web1950s

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The building was demolished as an eyesore in 1992. Progress!?

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In 1997, a lone California Bay tree stood on the lot, but it was dying.

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The merely functional parking lot in 2008.

Thanks to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Stanford University Library Special Collections, and Mr. Lloyd Cripps.

Addendum:

Liaros-deedweb

Document describing the land in Woodleaf Park that Bob Liaros bought in 1931, including the ornamental arch.

 

 

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Boyes Hot Springs, nature, Neighborhood Phenomena, Trees

The Corner of Central and Highlands

At the corner of Central and Highlands in Boyes Springs, these trees had been “influencing” the fence for many years, in a wonderful display of found sculpture. In April of 2017, big changes happened._DSC8641

The trees, which had been menacing the house’s foundation, were removed and a new fence was built._DSC8652IMG_2277 It’s sad to see trees go, but they don’t live forever, just like people.

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