Whale Rock Reservoir
Named after a now submerged rock formation, Whale Rock Reservoir provides a portion of San Luis Obispo’s water supply, as well as that of the California Men’s Colony, Cuesta College, California Polytechnic State University, and Camp San Luis Obispo National Guard Camp. Unfortunately, intensive grazing and deforestation have left the slopes of the reservoir highly unstable. Add to this a raised water level from the flooding of the reservoir, and the results can be disastrous–major slumping along the steep slopes above the reservoir threaten the body of water’s storage capacity, have inhibited recreation, and necessitate expensive mitigation to protect Old Creek Road along its southern edge.
OneCoolEarth has long advocated for utilizing extensive replanting to revitalize the slopes and put an end to the slumping, and has organized over twenty planting and direct seeding events in the past ten years. With thousands of acorns, Catalina cherries, and black walnut seeds planted by hand and nearly one hundred live trees in the ground and now reaching maturing, the southern slope of the reservoir is beginning to show signs of recovery. But in such a vast area, much remains to be done.
Update: January, 2010 – One Cool Earth has received a grant from PG&E to plant 500 trees at the fishermen’s entrance to the reservoir. Working with the City of San Luis Obispo which oversees this natural resource, a plan for replanting has been developed.
Update: February, 2010 – Already 250 trees have been planted with the help of nearly 100 volunteers from Cal Poly, the Civil Conservation Corp, and Cuesta College. The reservoir is a great educational field trip for students and community members to discover their water supply and its beautiful watershed, enhancing it in the process. We will cease planting until the fall, when we will finish our goal.
Update: May, 2010 – Watered 120 trees with the CCC’s, will return in two weeks to water remaining 130 trees. So far they look great! Some, especially the canyon oaks, are displaying up to 6 inches of new growth, doubling their height. An interesting phenomenon is occurring with the deer: trees planted below the road in dense coyote brush, near the reservoir are being grazed by deer, while those above the road are left alone. Protective grow tubes are proving a necessity.
Update: June – Aug. 2010 – Watered all trees and maintained caging and mulch.
Update: Oct. – Dec. 2010 – Reached goal of planting 500 trees at Whale Rock in 2010!
Stay tuned on how you can help these efforts.