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January 7, 2009 > Tule Ponds - who cares?

Tule Ponds - who cares?

Submitted By Joyce Blueford

Recent rains have replenished the water in human-made Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon Wetland Center. The additional rainwater brings birds and other wildlife to this 17-acre site in the heart of Fremont. This "water gem" is hidden behind the Fremont BART Station and most visitors are amazed that they never noticed the area. High school volunteers help maintain and restore the Tule Ponds under the guidance of staff from the Math Science Nucleus, which mangers the site for Alameda Country Flood control and Water Conservation District.

Tyson Lagoon was once a larger lake; geologists have traced the age of the lake to a minimum of 4000 years old. It was created by a depression between the active and inactive trace of the Hayward fault in what is called a "sag pond." A high water table west of the fault makes Tyson Lagoon a permanent lake, home for many threatened species including the Western pond turtle, osprey, tricolor blackbird, and yellow legged frog. Over 130 different species of birds have been observed at the Lagoon throughout the year.

In addition to Tyson Lagoon, there are three constructed ponds on the site that help prevent flooding after major storms. As a city grows its roads, sidewalks, and homes prevent water from being absorbed naturally into the ground. During heavy rains the water flows into natural low spots. Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon was designed to help control the flow of debris and heavy metals through the watershed before it continues to the San Francisco Bay. It uses natural wetland plants like tules and cattails to help filter storm water that enters the area. Community volunteers pick up the garbage after storms.

In December, Joyce Blueford, a geologist and Board President of the Math Science Nucleus gave the first lecture in a series of presentations to make the community aware of how water flows through cities. These free lectures for families will be held on the fourth Sunday of every month to cover a variety of subjects including native plants, feral cats, early Indians, earthquakes, butterflies, and more. For more information on the dates and times please go to and click on "Local Events."

The educational and restoration programs at this site are developed by the Math Science Nucleus (a non-profit organization), including 100 free field trips for Alameda County schools and other programming for the community. Over 10,000 school age children visit the facility yearly. For more information please email

Math Science Nucleus Sunday lecture series
1 p.m.
Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon
1999 Walnut Ave., Fremont
(510) 790-6284

Sunday, January 25
Native Plants of Tri-City Area

Sunday, February 22
Feral Cats and How to Cope

Sunday, March 22
California Indians - Traditions

Sunday, April 26
Young Birders

Sunday, May 24
Frogs and Turtles of the Tri-City Area

Sunday, June 28
Twilight Tour (7 p.m.)

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