LTWCA Newsletter - April/May 2005


Protect Our Watershed

Did you know something as simple as wrapping a strip of copper around a flower pot or the wooden sides of garden beds can help protect the environment and wildlife? Snail and slugs are repelled by copper because of the unpleasant reaction it causes on their bodies. Although the more common method, the application of snail bait, is innocuous when used by only a few, it can be harmful when combined with other chemicals and when used by millions of people.


We all live in a watershed, a land area that drains water into our creeks and into the bay. [Especially here in Los Trancos Woods where ALL our run-off drains directly into Los Trancos Creek to San Francisquito Creek to the Bay.] When it rains, pesticides from your home, garden and yard flow into storm drains that empty directly into our creeks and the bay. Many commonly used household products including bug sprays, snail bait and weed killers contain chemicals that may be harmful to aquatic life. These chemicals are used to kill a wide variety of insect pests including ants, fleas, cockroaches, aphids, spiders, and wasps. They work by shutting down the nervous system of target pests, but can have the same impact on beneficial insects and birds. Children and pets can also be harmed through repeated exposure, or short time exposure to high concentrations.


Below are some actions you can take to reduce pesticide use and protect your watershed:

* Keep pests from entering your home by trimming plants and trees so they don’t touch your house.

* Prevent ant invasions by storing food in containers that seal tightly.

* Keep things clean and dry and caulk cracks where ants are entering the house.

* The easiest and safest way to get rid of spiders and their webs is to vacuum them up. The dust inside the vacuum bag will quickly suffocate spiders. This works for lines of ants too. [But only in the house since spiders are valuable assets to the outside environment where they eat insects.]

* Select nontoxic or less-toxic alternatives to pesticides.

* Don’t use pesticides outdoors when rain is predicted, or prior to watering your lawn or garden.

* Never dispose of pesticides in the trash, storm drain or sink. Contact you local county’s household hazardous waste disposal program.


For more information about less-toxic pest control and ways to protect your watershed visit: or call 1-866-WATERSHED.

Excerpt from Tideline, a publication of San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society


Emergency Preparedness News - A WILDLANDS FIRE is coming to YOUR neighborhood!


The Spring 2005 Los Trancos Woods Emergency Preparedness Drill will be on Saturday, April 30, 8:30 am - 11:30 am in coordination with San Mateo County, Portola Valley, and Woodside. The drill will focus on response in the event of a wildfire. This is very timely - with all this rain, everything is growing, growing! Our beautiful green hills rapidly turn into tinder boxes when they dry out.


Are you prepared? Take this quiz and find out:

1. Do you know where your "walkie-talkie" is and how to use it? Does it contain fresh batteries?

2. What District you are in? Who is your District Emergency Rep.?

3. What are the names of your immediate neighbors? Could you call out to them by name to get their attention if you need help?

4. Do you have a connected and ready-to-use garden hose visible to your neighbors in case they see sparks on your roof and you are away?

5. Does your whole family know where to meet outside the neighborhood, if some are away from home and you have to evacuate?

6. Do you know whose garage hosts the Los Trancos Woods Emergency Operations Center (EOC)? (Keep reading, I'll give you this one!)


If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should attend. Share your knowledge!

If you answered no to any of these questions, you should attend. You will learn a lot!

Answers to 2 & 3: See your Emergency Phone Tree for your District, your Emergency Rep., and your neighbors.


Submitted by Jamie Sovereign and David Smernoff


Neighborhood Notes

- The LTWCA Board is looking for community input on the proposed relocation of the Blue Oaks Below Market Rate housing units. The proposed location is directly adjacent to Los Trancos Woods in the present Open Space area on the Fire Road. Please read the two letters which are posted on the community bulletin boards or read your LTW Yahoo Group e-mail. We need your concerns or comments by 15 April. Contact David S., 851-9202, or Linda D-N, 851-1787.

- Keep West Nile Virus out of our neighborhood. Mosquito-proof your home. The coming two months, as the rains subsides, will be the most important time to thwart the mosquitoes. They need standing water for laying eggs, so twice a week drain standing water around your home, such as flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, buckets, barrels, and cans. Check rain gutters, and remove discarded items which could collect water. Keep mosquitoes outside by installing well-fitting screens on windows and doors.

- Keep wildflowers in our neighborhood. Picking or digging up wildflowers reduces the spectacular display we get each spring in the wildland areas. Every seed, every bulb, every plant is important to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Let’s take pictures and memories instead.

- Another installment of the Community Bulletin Board is coming in the June/July Newsletter. “Post a notice” on any services (baby sitting, pet sitting, etc.), items to sell or buy, or info. solicitations. Send your postings to: or call 851-1787.

- A Cal-Water Representative will be in the neighborhood to answer any of your questions during the next LTWCA Board Meeting on 11 May, at 7:00 p.m. at 1074 Los Trancos Rd. All community members are welcome to attend.


Next Meeting - 7:00 p.m., 11 May, 1074 Los Trancos Rd. Agenda includes Cal-Water, emergency preparedness, and Blue Oaks BMR’s. For minutes of the last meeting , please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.


Los Trancos Woods (LTWCA) Web Site

The web site address is:                                     The group e-mail list is:                                

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site AND Thanks to Alex Kostrikin for copying our newsletter.