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January 18, 2005 > A Christmas Gift for Quarry Lakes

A Christmas Gift for Quarry Lakes

A crowd of approximately one hundred thirty enthusiastic participants of all ages gathered on a cold overcast Saturday morning in January at Quarry Lakes Regional Park. Pete Alexander, Fisheries Program Manager of East Bay Regional Park District told the group that without their help, the bottom of the quarry lakes would be an uninteresting place to visit and was pretty boring for the fish too. In order to create a "three dimensional structure" in the lake, unsold Christmas trees have been donated to the park for the last three years. Pete explained that although the needles quickly fall off, tree branches encourage algae growth that attracts insect life. Small fish are then drawn to the area and where small fish go, large fish are sure to follow.

This year, over seventeen hundred trees were donated and lay waiting for final preparations before entering their ultimate position in the quarry. Robert Arzate of San Jose Boy Scout Troop 299 helped organize the activities this year as part of his Eagle Scout project. He explained that the trees would be bound together and weighted by a heavy chain that would ensure their descent to the lake bottom. After a quick breakfast sponsored by East Bay Regional Parks and a brief discussion of square knots and binding techniques, the group quickly moved to the water's edge to tackle mounds of trees, some a bit offshore due to the heavy rains of the previous week.

As eyes occasionally glanced furtively towards dark clouds, Mother Nature appeared to join sponsorship of the event as forecasted rain held off and the job steadily moved towards completion. Trees were linked together and positioned along the shorelines of Horseshoe and Rainbow lakes. The large turnout of volunteers assured completion of the task by noon and a tired, but satisfied group regrouped for lunch provided by East Bay Regional Parks departing with the satisfaction that comes with a job well done.

On Tuesday, January 18, Pete and Robert will use a large boat to tow one end of the line of trees to a predetermined location while the other end is anchored to the shore. The trees will then be allowed to sink to the bottom of the lakes.

East Bay Regional Park District, the Black Bass Action Committee (BBAC), Boy Scouts of America and Walton's Pond (San Leandro) co-sponsored the event.

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