Ask Me: Even in a dry year, water flows down Dry Creek

The Fresno BeeJuly 12, 2014 

The Dry Creek canal crosses Clovis Avenue, seen to the left, just south of Alluvial Avenue on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in Clovis, Calif.


Question: We have been walking the Dry Creek Trail where the water is flowing deep and fast. Where does it come from and where is it going? It is amazing to see it in this dry year.

— Joy Chittick, Fresno


The deep, fast flow of water in Dry Creek originates at Pine Flat Dam, according to Fresno Irrigation District's water master Jim Irwin. From there the water travels into the Kings River, the Gould Canal and Enterprise Canal before entering Dry Creek.

The water is on its way to the irrigation district's customers, including farmers and a Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District water recharge basin at Marion and Alluvial avenues.

"It looks more like a natural creek, but it's part of the irrigation canal system," Irwin said of Dry Creek. "All our canals have water right now." The district's water deliveries began June 1 and should be completed by the end of July.

Dry Creek is part of the Fresno Irrigation District's "stream group" that serves customers in Fresno and Clovis and Fresno County as well as the flood control district, Irwin said.

On a side note, the Gould Canal is named for L.A. Gould, a San Jose nurseryman and orchardist who owned many acres of fruit trees, vineyards, alfalfa and grain in Fresno County in the 1870s. He was one of the organizers of the Kings River and Fresno Canal.

Q: At Palm and Dakota avenues there is a small boarded-up service station that has been abandoned for many years. What is the history of the station?

— Rose Bowser, Fresno


Fresno city directories list the station as Joe's Signal Service Gas Station at 3758 N. Palm Ave. from 1961 to 1967. The manager was David Adams.

From 1968 to 1969, city directories list the station as Lawley Rex Enco Service. The owner also had a station at 2340 N. West Ave.

The station was vacant in 1970, but in 1971 it was listed as Stan's Enco Service. In 1973 the name was changed to Stan's Exxon.

The station apparently closed in 1975 and has been vacant ever since.

Q: A few years ago I heard about a cemetery somewhere in the Bay Area that provides sort of "dust to dust" burials without permanent markers but with a means of locating gravesites for visitors. Do you know where this is and how I can contact them?

— Edward C. Kerber, Fresno


You may be referring to one of several funeral services in California that provide green burials.

One such facility is the Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley that provides burials without embalming and in biodegradable containers — a plain pine box, wicker casket or fabric shroud — in unmarked graves in an open space setting.

While traditional grave markers are not allowed, an engraved rock can be placed. Gravesites can be located using Global Positioning Systems technology.

"We know where everybody is," said Fernwood manager Kathy Curry. The appeal of green burials is to "give back to the earth" in an environmentally friendly way, she said.

The Green Burial Council headquartered in Ojai is a nonprofit organization that promotes green burials.

According to a history on the council's website, the green burial movement began in England. The first green burial cemetery in the United States was started by Dr. William Campbell in the 1990s.

The Green Burial Council was founded by Juliette and Joe Sehee in 2005. Today the council provides a list of certified green burial funeral services in America, including one in Fresno. There is no green burial cemetery in Fresno, but there are some in California.

For a list of funeral homes and cemeteries offering green burials, visit the council's website at


Ask Me publishes on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Paula Lloyd is a freelance writer. Send questions to or by mail to Paula Lloyd, c/o The Fresno Bee Newsroom, 1626 E St., Fresno CA 93786. Please include your name, city of residence and a phone number.

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