The Loma Prietan - October 2015


By John Maybury


“Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence” by Italian neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso and journalist Alessandra Viola says that plants are intelligent in how they work together and thrive (source: Before you scoff at this idea, consider that books, magazines and newspapers are made out of plants. Pretty sneaky, huh?


Peninsula homeowners are going ballistic on various online forums and getting creative about gopher attacks on their lawns and gardens. Apparently, the drought has made the problem worse. Everyone seems to have a favorite gopher antidote: dried potato flakes, Sweeney solar spikes, dry ice, dog and cat poop, human male urine, laxatives, garlic, chewing gum, hair clippings, coffee grounds, smoke bombs, car exhaust, water, firecrackers, above-ground pinwheels, below-ground gopherwire. Do you have any sure-fire solutions?


San Mateo County Parks Department has joined the Pacifica Land Trust (PLT), California Coastal Conservancy, and the City of Pacifica to restore natural lands and build trails at the Pedro Point Headlands (PPH). Pedro Point Headlands, a 255-acre promontory between Montara and Pacifica, was purchased to protect these extraordinary lands from development. PPH has a rich natural and cultural history, spectacular views, and exceptional recreational opportunities while having challenging management issues, primarily from an extensive network of historic off-highway vehicle use. The remnant off-highway vehicle scars are the source of serious erosion problems. The two-year Pedro Point Headlands Restoration and Trail-Building Project will result in the replacement of unsustainable footpaths with 1.5 miles of recreational trails and establishment of a native plant nursery to grow plants for restoration of 20 acres of coastal habitat. PLT will perform this work with more than 2,000 hours of volunteer support. Select areas of PPH will remain open to visitors while restoration is underway. Funding for the project comes from San Mateo County’s Measure A for Year 1. Measure A is a 10-year, half-cent general sales tax approved by voters in 2012 to fund essential services and maintain or replace critical facilities. Says San Mateo County Park Director Marlene Finley, “We’re pleased to partner with PLT as their long-term care of PPH is a great model of partnership, volunteerism and outstanding stewardship. Funding for this project is another example of how Measure A funds are being used to actively restore lands and develop trails that enhance the quality of life for residents and park visitors.” Restoration of the Pedro Point Headlands benefits county residents and visitors seeking a local coastal area with remarkably photogenic shoreline views and hiking trails amid diverse plant communities of coastal scrub, reedgrass, and Monterey pine woodlands. PLT Vice President Dinah Verby says, “The Pacifica Land Trust is grateful to be considered for San Mateo County Measure A funding for the Pedro Point Headlands Restoration and Trail-building Project. For 25 years, PLT has supported many thousands of volunteers who have devoted time and effort to heal, restore and make PPH accessible to all. We welcome San Mateo County Parks' involvement in making this open space an ecological reserve and recreational destination."

John Maybury is a blogger (, freelance copy editor, and newspaper columnist (Pacifica Tribune). His Meandering column and features for the Loma Prietan date back to the previous century. Send your questions and answers to Meandering Maybury at