The challenges of protecting the natural landscape while preserving historic
cultural resources are numerous at Henry Coe State Park in Santa Clara County. With hundreds of square miles of ranch lands and wilderness, Henry Coe is the second-largest state park in California.
Last October’s U&R volunteer survey project brought us to Pond P-20. It is one of many small reservoirs constructed long ago by ranchers who needed a year-round water source for their livestock in the seasonally dry mountains east of Gilroy. The old reservoirs are now thriving habitats for the aggressive non-native eastern bullfrog, which has gradually displaced the endangered native California red-legged frogs. Additionally, the land has been seriously eroded because of the diversion ditches and earthen dams used to create these reservoirs. State Parks is now studying Pond P-20 for a pilot restoration project of statewide significance.
Using three survey field crews and one GPS (Global Positioning System) crew, U&R was able to map out a large area in a short period of time. More than 20 employees and family volunteers made this the largest turnout yet for our company’s annual volunteer project. Once again, we were hosted by our friend Joan Carpenter, a civil engineer with California State Parks. “This site survey is making it possible for the District to move forward with a drainage restoration project while maintaining the cultural landscape of Henry Coe,” says Carpenter. Chalk up another success for U&R volunteers!