The Redwood Trees on Shoreline Blvd

Palm-lined streets and perfectly manicured lush lawns are becoming a look that is no longer en vogue as many California communities move towards planting environmentally appropriate, drought tolerant native plants. It seemed like a good idea in the 1920s to plant palm trees all over our state, but now they look out of place. 

Non-native plants use much more water, don’t provide natural habitat for animals and birds, many require fertilizers, are more susceptible to pests than natives, and aren’t sustainable.

Mountain View has something similar happening along Shoreline Boulevard. It’s some 200 redwood and cedar trees that are at the center of a controversy, as Google plans on expanding their campus. The grove of redwoods was planted in the 80s, when that land was being transformed from marshland, into usable space for city growth. Many of the non-native trees are dying or dead, more of them will be most likely be unhealthy in the future, considering the fact that California’s climate is changing. They use much more water than native trees and they don’t provide natural habitat for birds and local marshland critters. 

Yes, it’s beautiful to stroll through a little redwood forrest, but they seem out-of-place, much like those tall, skinny palm trees that are sprinkled throughout our city, they don’t belong here. I recently went on a tour of the delta by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and I was shocked and horrified by the amount of invasive water hyacinth in our Bay Area water supply. They told us that there was no know method of eradicating the highly invasive plant. The redwoods along Shoreline are not anything like the disastrous floating water hyacinth, but neither plant belongs in those respective areas. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society agree that the trees should be replaced with native species. 

Our community is booming and we need more real estate devoted to bike and pedestrian trails. I think that right now is the right time to rethink the decision that was made back in the 80s to plant non-native trees. Google’s plan to replace the trees with native species has been approved by the city and will be moving forward. The local Audubon Society told me that Google has already added native trees in another area of Mountain View and that the birds have returned. Google has plans of offering bird-watching tours to the public in the near future. I’ll definitely find out the details and share with the community (add a story to this website).

This is a hot topic in our community and now is a good time to take a look for yourself. These are some photos that I took of the area last weekend. You can see that the area looks like an enchanted forrest at first, but then you start to notice how many of the redwoods are brown and dying.

Are you a gardener? Here are some places that sell native plants in our area:

Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay. My favorite plant in my yard is a manzanita bush that I bought from them a few years ago and it is thriving and looks wonderful. 

Los Altos Nursery is amazing, but they’re closed for the winter, so you have to wait until March to visit them. 

Summer Winds has a small selection of native plants too, as does any local Lowes or Home Depot.

Here are some definitions (from the EPA) that we should be using as we discuss this issue in our community:  

Non native species: This term, along with the terms introduced species and nonindigenous species, is one of the most commonly used terms to describe a plant or animal species that is not originally from the area in which it occurs.

Native species: Indigenous species, one that occurs naturally in an area, and has not been introduced by humans either intentionally or unintentionally. In North America, a species established before the year 500.

And please remember that it’s not enough to plant native California plants, we need to plant the ones that belong in our hardiness zone. Here’s a link to the USDA website and you can find out what your zone is, but I think that Sunset magazine does a better job at describing Bay Area hardiness zones and offering gardening advice than the USDA website does. If you look around at those two websites, you’ll see that those redwood trees actually belong in the Santa Cruz mountains, but not so much along the bay in our little city. I love Mountain View. 

Please tell me what you think about the plan to replace the dying redwoods.

Shoreline and Crittenden
Dead redwood trees

Endicia

Endicia figured out how to give us back hours that would have been spent standing in line at the post office.

The holidays are here and most of us are getting ready to ship packages to family and friends, and send out cute Christmas cards. Endicia will make your life so much easier; no standing in line at the post office! They’ve partnered with the USPS to create mailing and shipping solutions you can track packages, get signature confirmation, send domestic and international packages, print postage, and run postage reports from your home or office. 

Endicia's shipping solutions are used by individuals, sellers on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, and businesses of all sizes. They have solutions in place for individual sellers, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies, major retailers in multiple locations. Some of their larger customers ship more than 10 thousand items each day.  Ujena Swimwear in Mountain View uses them to ship hand made bathing suits all over the world. 

If you frequently ship packages to Brazil and Mexico,  Endicia Global Service can serve as a good option for your online business. With Endicia Global Service, packages clear customs in hours instead of days, typically arriving in the customer’s hands in eight to 10 days.

Endicia is on Castro Street, but you won’t ever need to go there. It’s just fun to know that they’re in the same space that used to be Meyer Appliance. It feels good to do business with a company that’s based right here in Mountain View, and of course they’re supporting our local downtown restaurants.

And stamps, can we talk about those cute custom stamps? Amine Khechfé, founder of Endicia, showed me around and the best part of the tour was the massive printer that makes the custom stamps (PictureItPostage). He told me that pictures of dogs are one of the most popular custom items for the holidays. So what did I do? Went home and uploaded a photo of my dog in her camo hoodie and she looks adorable on a stamp! I flipped through a big stack of custom stamps that were about to be sent out to Endicia customers and most of them were company logos, family photos and a few monograms for wedding invitations. 

Now that I know that I can use Endicia, and not ever have to stand in line or deal with trying to park at the post office downtown, I’m inspired to sell a few things on eBay. In the past, I’ve done it, but I would always say "no international buyers" on my listings because I didn't want to stand in line at the post office. Problem solved!

Endicia has been is business for over 25 years and they keep evolving and developing new technology in order to keep up with demand. Their solutions have helped thousands of large and small businesses print more than $14 billion in postage and they're right here in downtown Mountain View. When I learn about companies in Mountain View solving problems for people all over the world, I feel proud of my community and of the technology that makes it happen. I love Mountain View.

Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center

Did you know about the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center? I was honored to get to go on a tour of the plant this Summer and if you are able to do so, I highly recommend it. It’s the future of our water, it’s a drought proof supply, it’s controlled locally and it’s more cost effective than buying water from other area, which is what we currently do sometimes. 

In the future much more of our local water supply will be purified so now is a great time to learn about it and help educate your friends and neighbors. The water that goes through the purification process is treated waste water.

It goes through 3 different steps; micro filtration, reverse osmosis, and ultra violet light disinfection. Currently the water is being used for irrigation and industrial uses, but the District has future plans to add one more step, advanced oxidation, and then mix that highly purified water back into our local groundwater supply.

Eventually, the plant, and other local purification centers, will produce up to 14 billion gallons of clean water for groundwater replenishment. 

Right now, 55% of Silicon Valley’s water supply is imported from the Sierra Nevada mountains in an average year. The cost of the water goes up every year. It makes perfect sense to figure out a way to buy less or even none of it and create/make clean water for ourselves. I love this idea and I'm interested in this topic and have been my entire life. Anyone who grew up in California can tell you that dealing with droughts is just part of the price you pay for living here. I find it reassuring to know that there is some kind of amazing technology that can create safe, clean water for our future. Let's do it!

The benefits of having locally purified water are that it enhances our recycled water quality, it creates a locally controlled, high quality water supply, it increases water reliability, even during droughts, it helps reduce our dependency on water from the Delta, it protects the environment by reusing a precious resource, and it reduces waste water discharge to the San Francisco Bay and the preserves and tidal habitat.

I got to drink some of the water and it tasted great. It was crystal clear and sparking clean. Here’s a link to Santa Clara Valley Water District for more information about Drought Watch. For more information or to take a tour of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, contact Marta Lugo at 408-630-3533 or go to purewaterSV.org.