The Peninsula Watershed encompasses 23,000 acres of the San Francisco peninsula and is a unique natural resource located in a predominantly urbanized region. Due to its use for water collection and storage, the Watershed has been protected from the urbanization which has consumed much of the Bay Area. As a result, this environment hosts a variety of habitats and supports the highest concentration of rare, threatened and endangered species in the entire Bay Area.
Located in central San Mateo County, the Peninsula Watershed includes three reservoirs -- San Andreas and Crystal Springs adjacent to Highway 280 in the east and Pilarcitos to the northwest. Highway 92, which connects San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, bisects the Watershed between Upper and Lower Crystal Springs Reservoirs. Other roads adjacent to the Watershed include Edgewood Road to the south and Skyline Boulevard to the east.
In addition to their primary uses for water collection, water storage, and water quality protection, the Peninsula Watershed lands serve as a State Fish and Game Refuge and are designated by the California Department of Forestry as a hazardous fire area. A Scenic Easement (19,000 acres) and a Scenic and Recreation Easement (4,000 acres) established through a four-party agreement between us, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Caltrans, and San Mateo County, also overlay the Watershed. The Watershed is also home to the historic Pulgas Water Temple.
Recreation activities are permitted in the Scenic and Recreation Easement, located adjacent to I-280. Hiking, biking, walking and running are popular activities along the six-mile Sawyer Camp Trail and golfers enjoy the public Crystal Springs Golf Course. Additional public trails which border the Watershed include Sheep Camp Trail, Sweeney Ridge Trail, San Andreas Trail, Crystal Springs Trail, Ralston Trail and Edgewood Trail.
Land uses adjacent to the watershed are predominantly residential to the north and east and include the communities of San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and Woodside and unincorporated private open space to the west. Also in the southern portion of the Watershed, surrounded by our land, is the 600-acre Filoli Estate which includes a residence, gardens and grounds, which are open to the public.
The varied topography of the watershed can be attributed to the many faults traversing the area. The San Andreas Fault runs through the Watershed in a north-south direction, directly through the San Andreas and Crystal Springs Reservoirs. At least three other faults lie in close proximity. Major streams which feed the reservoirs include San Mateo Creek and Pilarcitos Creek.
Due to the diversity of climate, topography, geology and soils, a wide variety of habitats exist on the watershed. These include old growth Douglas fir forests, characterized by trees over 200 years old; serpentine grasslands, dominated by native bunchgrasses; areas of coastal scrub and chaparral; stream corridors; and wetlands. These areas host a wide variety of plants including nine rare, threatened and endangered species.
Numerous animals can also be found on the Watershed including mountain lions, deer, bobcats, coyotes, bald eagles and golden eagles. Seven rare, threatened and endangered species have been identified on the Watershed including three species of butterfly and the San Francisco garter snake.