San Francisco Zen Center


Background

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, located near Muir Beach, is a Buddhist practice center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, offering training in Zen meditation and ordinary work. It is one of three centers that make up San Francisco Zen Center, and is one of the oldest continuously operated organic farms in the country.

Project

Green Gulch Creek runs the length of Green Gulch, and is one of the last streams south of Lagunitas Creek with a remaining wild run of Coho salmon. In the winter of 2004-2005, Coho salmon were spotted in a portion of the creek. The following year one thousand baby Cohos were counted. This discovery galvanized the Green Gulch community to put resources into restoring the creek, which over the years had become significantly degraded. The goals were to restore the natural function of Green Gulch Creek; to provide a sustainable habitat for California red-legged frogs, Coho salmon, steelhead trout, wading birds, song birds, and many other wildlife species; to create a corridor for wildlife movement to and from protected adjacent state and federal lands; and to demonstrate that sound farming practices and great wildlife habitats can exist together.

Loan Purpose 

The MCF Loan Fund made a 12-month construction loan to San Francisco Zen Center for $276,000 with a 4% fixed interest rate. This supplemented other federal and private funding it received for the $1.5 million project.

Outcome

A recreation of a natural meandering channel at the downstream end of the creek was constructed in 2014. Phase 2, reconnection of a tributary to restore sediment delivery and assist with summer stream flows, was completed in 2015. The restoration now provides summer rearing and winter refuge habitat for salmonids hatched in Green Gulch Creek, as well as those rearing in the estuary area.