Creek flows from the flanks of Mount Umunhum to where it joins
Guadalupe Creek just below Almaden Lake as the source of the Guadalupe
River. That river carries on through San Jose to San Francisco Bay.
The Los Alamitos watershed is
the area sloping down to this creek, which ranges from the slopes of
the coastal range to the residences and businesses of the Almaden
Valley. It has both great beauty and history going back to the
Native Americans and to the discovery of ore of the liquid metal
mercury, which was important to the development of civilization as we
know it today.
FOLAW, the Friends of Los
Alamitos Watershed, is a small community organization dedicated to
celebrate the beauty and history of this region, and to help with its
beauty and quality through education and community service.
We would like to thank the Santa Clara Valley Water District
for their watershed grant, supporting our website and sign project.
Celebration Announcement: The Friends of Los
Alamitos Watershed celebrated the Hacienda Mercury Sign
Installation Celebration Event at New Almaden Quicksilver County Park's
Hacienda Parking Lot on Monday,
February 25, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. See our Hacienda Signs section for more details.
Announcement: Due to the celebration event on February 25, our
next meeting is on Thursday February 28, 2013 has been cancelled.
FOLAW organizes creek cleanup in the
watershed, removing trash from the roadsides and stream banks.
This is done both independently and in cooperation with other
conservation organizations in the region. See the Creek
Cleanup section for more information about past and future
We also have informational meetings on
topics of interest about the watershed and issues affecting it. These
range from presentations on the history and contributions of the region
as well as other issues facing the community as they arise. See our News and FOLAW Meetings
sections for more information.
We have held community antique auctions. The
funds raised were to pay for our incorporation as an educational
non-profit organization and for our modest running expenses. This
is a volunteer activity with no one getting paid. See the Fundraisers section for more information and news
about upcoming events.
We are working on a project to
put up informational signs on mercury near Los Alamitos Creek at the
Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park See the Hacienda Signs section.
A significant element in
our heritage comes from the rich deposits of mercury in the coastal
range which were first discovered in our watershed and mined from the
early 1840s to 1975. Mercury is not unique to this site. It deposited
in cracks and joints in the broken rock throughout the region. Most of
it was long gone before mankind discovered it, having been eroded away
as the coastal mountains built up and deposited in the soil throughout
the region, particularly in the valleys. Mercury has served mankind for
at least the past 3500 years. This liquid metal has many uses from
percussion caps that set off bullets to medicines and electric lamps,
including the compact fluorescent lights which deliver more than five
times the illumination as incandescent lamps using the same energy.
Mercury is also a toxic
substance in certain chemical forms. Fortunately, the mercury in our
environment is a sulfide called cinnabar. It is highly stable
chemically, which is why it has remained in the deposits in our
environment. There is more on this including a discussion of efforts to
remove the mercury from the environment through a process called a
TMDL, which is a Total Maximum Daily Load that is allowed to be
emitted. This all is discussed in the sections called Mercury and
Page created 2/26/13
by Ron Horii