Lake Merritt is a large tidal lagoon in central Oakland , California, just east of downtown. It is surrounded by parkland and the neighbourhoods of the area. It is historically important as the first official wildlife refuge in the United States, designated in 1870, and has been listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1963, and as a National Historic Places Register since 1966. The lake features grassy shores; numerous artificial islands intended as bird sanctuaries; an interpretive center called the Rotary Nature Center at Lakeside Park; a boating center where sailboats, canoes and rowing boats can be rented and lessons are held; and a fairy tale theme amusement park called the Children's Fairyland. A common walking and jogging trail runs along its perimeter. The circumference of the lake is 3.4 miles (5.5 km) and the land is 155 acres (63 ha).
The shoreline of Lake Merritt and the Lakeside Park have many plants and trees of interest, but the highlight of the lake's plant life is in the gardens, which include the spectacular Bonsai Garden, the Community / Edible Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Mediterranean Garden, the Lakeside Palmetum, the Rhododendron Garden, the Sensory Garden, the Succulent Garden, the Vireya Show Garden, the Pollinator Garden and the Bay Friendly Demonstration Garden.
The "necklace of lights" covers Merritt Lake. With 126 lampposts and 3,400 "pearly bulbs," the necklace was first lit in 1925. In 1941, the lights were replaced in order to comply with World War II blackout terms. After a decade-long campaign by the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, the lights were illuminated again in 1987.
The natural wetlands of Lake Merritt have long gone — turned into parks, sidewalks, and highways. Some of the wetland vegetation has been restored to five "Bird Islands" made of dredged silt between 1925 and 1956; islands that shelter hundreds of nesting and roosting water birds. The islands have a fresh water irrigation system to provide the birds with drinking water. The boom and the rope / booy barrier shield the islands from recreational boaters.
While native trees such as shoreline live oak and California buckeye are present, most of the park surrounding Lake Merritt has been landscaped with plants from around the world. As early as 1910, City Park Commissioners remembered Oakland as a city of immigrants and thought that "visitors to the park would like to see plants from their native lands." This trend of diversity in the park's landscape has persisted with landscape renovations. The signature plant of the lake is the New Zealand tea tree, which grows along the water's edge with its picturesque gnarled branches.
One zone of native plants was created at the revamped tidal marsh located on the canal just south of Merritt Lake Blvd Bridge. Pickleweed has been planted within the tidal region, and other native plants such as salt grass, marsh gumplant, marsh baccharis , Jaumea and Frankenia have been propagated from local genetic resources and planted on the slope above the marsh. A second native marsh plant zone is planned for the coast east of the Sailboat House.
Aquatic vegetation typically seen inside the lake itself includes widgeon grass, filamentous green algae, sea lettuce, dead man's fingers, and sometimes wireweed. The growth of these aquatic plants reaches its height in mid-June, and the resulting decay and decay will result in bad odors, unsightly appearance, and the loss of oxygen in the water column. To avoid this nuisance, the City uses a floating mechanical harvester to eliminate excess development during the summer months. The most common aquatic plants in Merritt Lake are small, free-floating phytoplankton. Visitors sometimes do not understand the often murky water in the lake, but cloudiness is a water column rich in microscopic life, providing the basis for a complex and thriving network of animal life in the lake, both marine and avian.
This amazing landmark is located in California’s Alameda County and is only a short distance away from:
- Jack London Square
- Oakland Zoo
- Chabot Space & Science Center
- USS Hornet - Sea, Air and Space Museum
- Mission Peak
- Coyote Hills Regional Park
- The University of California Botanical Garden
- Del Valle Regional Park
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!