Shrinking Kenwood Marsh protects a beauty, the endangered checkerbloom

When conditions are right, ghosts form at night over Kenwood, linger until dawn, then melt away in the morning sun. On rare occasions during midwinter storms, they become more substantial. You can recognize them if you know what you’re looking for.
Many residents of Kenwood have heard of the Kenwood Marsh and may have noticed small pockets of willows and tules here and there. Yet today, what remains of the marsh is pretty well hidden.
What was the marsh like before the town of Kenwood was founded in 1888? While hard to come by, there are clues in early maps and descriptions, in the patterns of soils and heritage oaks, in the memories of elders who grew up here.
The picture that emerges is complicated. Conditions in the marsh must have changed dramatically from season to season, as well as from year to year. But cobbling the clues together does give an idea of what it was like.
An early observer remarked “Sonoma Creek spreads out and loses itself… forming a kind of willow thicket and marsh or lagoon.”Even toward the end of the summer, there were wet places on the valley floor. Winter rains on the hills ran down the creeks and into the marsh, which acted like a giant sponge. That sponge slowed the flow of water downstream, lessening winter floods and increasing summer flows in Sonoma Creek.
The earliest maps show not one big marsh but a string of wetlands covering hundreds of acres and stretching between modern-day Oakmont and Dunbar School. These wetlands were part of a mosaic that included drier areas supporting grasslands and oaks.
Within the marsh were tules, willows and ponds of open water. These and other resources seem to have made it an attractive place for the area’s First Peoples.
Read more at: Shrinking Kenwood Marsh protects a beauty | The Press Democrat