Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seasonal Shifts on Arana Gulch

Thanks to Ma Nature, we've had gorgeous sunny weather on Arana Gulch this week, warming the soil, mixing with the great early rain we've had these past two seasons, getting those tarplant and Molina seeds ready to germinate after the winter rains.

The red-tailed hawk mother has had her children out practicing their soaring over the coastal prairie terraces, what's left of them at least. We hear their high, shrill cries every day, wafting down from the quiet, cloudless sky.

Now that the City has mowed the entire upper terrace, the wee beasties that live there have less cover to hide in, making their lives more perilous, but causing the predators to lick their lips in anticipation. Life goes on in balance.

The creatures of Arana Gulch pause briefly during this time between seasons, pulling the last whisps of warm air about their shoulders, stocking up on supplies to last through the coming rains, putting on some weight, bulking up on carbohydrates for the long wet and cold to come. The bushes are filled with golden crowned sparrows and SBJs (small brown jobbies), gobbling the ripened seeds, stocking up on warming oils from tar-weedy indigenous plants. Their chittering warbles fill the quiescent air.

Putting an industrial scale bike road through this quiet and contemplative habitat would change its character forever, slicing through this interdependent circle of life with a paved pathway for skirling skateboard noise and rushing bicycle wheels as they whiz by the interpretive displays without notice. A high speed bike road is incompatible with this designated Natural Area.

To put a stop to the City of Santa Cruz Broadway-Brommer Bicycle Pedestrian Connection project, visit Friends of Arana Gulch at http://members.cruzio.com/~arana/ and sign the petition to the California Coastal Commission to take the Broadway-Brommer project out of the Arana Gulch Master Plan.

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