Be Prepared Articles

Keeping Trees Healthy During a Drought
(August 2021 Splasher) by Valley Water

Trees are vital parts of our community here in Santa Clara County. They create the air we breathe, help protect water quality, create shady gathering places for humans and wildlife, and can even add value to our homes by keeping them cooler in the summer and by adding year-round curb appeal. All that trees ask for in return is a bit of water.

During drought periods in California, please remember to water your landscape trees, even though other parts of your yard may go brown or dry during periods of water conservation. Many trees growing in lawns have shallow roots due to typical lawn watering schedules. When irrigation is reduced or stopped altogether, trees can quickly become stressed or die. Most trees benefit from deep, infrequent watering provided by drip irrigation or soaker hoses, or a graywater system. Apply a few inches of mulch to help retain moisture but be sure to keep it at least 6″ away from the trunk of the tree

Plan to deep water your trees every one to two weeks in the summer months. Watering in the morning or evening is always better to allow the water to percolate into the root zone while temperatures are cooler. Larger trees may require far more water than small younger trees, but all trees prefer a long slow drink of at least 10-20 gallons on average per irrigation cycle. Drought-resistant trees, including many California natives, may need far less water during summer drought periods than other ornamental species. Consult your local arborist or nursery professional if you need advice about the trees in your landscape.

For more information, visit:


San Jose Water Conservation
(July 2021 Splasher) by Steve Ferree

San Jose Water is encouraging its 230,000 customers to begin conserving water immediately in response to the drought emergency. All customers are asked to cut water usage by 15% from 2019 levels.

  • Check for leaks in faucets and toilets: A toilet leak can amount to 30 gallons per day
  • Water your garden one fewer time a week: This could save about 27 gallons of water
  • Reduce shower time by two minutes: This could save 12 to 15 gallons of water a day
  • Turn off the sink tap while brushing your teeth or shaving: This could save around 24 to 30 gallons of water a day
  • Wash full loads of dishes using a dishwasher: This could save around 50 gallons per wash
  • Wash full loads of clothes: One fewer load a week could save five gallons of water per day
  • Upgrade your utilities: For example, a newer toilet could save 33 gallons a day

Neighborhood Watch Programs within Shadow Brook
(Nov/Dec 2020 Splasher) by Tami Sell

The Neighborhood Watch (NW) Program within Shadow Brook was started in January 2016 by volunteer residents after a huge increase of burglaries in Almaden Valley.  Information on how to prevent burglaries was presented by a San Jose Police (SJPD) Officer at a Neighborhood Safety meeting in March 2016, which was well attended by Shadow Brook residents.  Meeting highlights are included in this 5 minute video on burglary and crime prevention, called “Don’t Be a Victim”, presented by SJPD:

The green “Almaden Neighborhood Watch” signs posted in the windows represent neighbors keeping an eagle eye out for their neighborhood to help discourage crime.  New laminated signs can be purchased for $4 at PostNet, between Safeway and Ace Hardware.

SJPD has Crime Prevention Specialists who can assist you with hosting a Neighborhood Watch meeting, with at least 9 of your adjacent neighbors, to learn more about burglary prevention and neighborhood safety.  After this meeting, your block will be awarded a metal Neighborhood Watch sign posted on a streetlight pole.  Currently, the blocks of Bubblingwell Place, Creekview Court, Charter Oak Place and Blue Mist Place all have held these SJPD NW meetings.  If you are interested in hosting a meeting for your block, you can find more information at

Suggestions to help decrease crime in Shadow Brook include to keep your front porch lights on all night long, empty your mailbox each evening, check for packages that may have been delivered late, bring in garbage cans (and your neighbor’s cans if they are working late or out of town), have a light on timer in your front room when you are away to give the appearance that your home is occupied, and turn on a radio while you are away.  Thank you for your help in keeping Shadow Brook a safe, wonderful community to live in!

The Challenges of living in Almaden Valley
(October 2020 Splasher) by Steve Ferree

Living in California and Almaden Valley does have its challenges.  We already know we are in an earthquake zone.  We have two reservoirs built in the 1930s and with dams that have been declared potentially open to failure during large earthquakes.  Hillsides on both sides of the valley not only have high potential for wildfires but have seen fires in recent years.   We have seen our homes face loss of power due to PSPS or rolling blackouts from PGE and the loss of internet due to these outages.  Even as recently this past June parts of Almaden Valley were told to evacuate due to the Colleen Fire that came over the hill from Santa Teresa.   And this doesn’t even count that we are currently living in a Pandemic and many of us are in various degrees of quarantine.

But even with all these challenges most of us love our neighborhood and Almaden Valley.  It is a great neighborhood to raise kids, friendly neighbors, a great pool, winning swim team and our home values continue to rise.

The challenges of the area can easily be handled through preparation.  Here in Shadow Brook we will be giving you some resources that help keep you prepared through a series of articles over the next few months from various neighbors that have worked hard to be prepared.  Here are a few resources that can help you in the meanwhile:

Almaden Valley Public Safety Net (AVPSN) – a group of Almaden Valley neighbors who are connected by their portable radios connected to a Radio Repeater group.  AVPSN monitors the radio channel 24/7 with many members eager to help each other.  Join the AVPSN and stay connected with your neighbors in case of emergency.
The Almaden Valley Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trained CERT team for Almaden Valley in the City of San Jose.  A few of your Shadow Brook neighbors including Tami Sell and Steve Ferree are trained members of CERT.
Santa Clara County Alert System – Text your zip code to 888777 to get emergency alerts sent to your cell phone directly.  Alerts can include Fire, Earthquake, Severe Weather, Crime incident that affects your neighborhood, etc.
Download Ready SCC Community Preparedness App ReadySCC – Get emergency alerts; help you prepare you family emergency plan, evacuation maps and shelters, and much more.
 Earthquake Brace + BoltDeveloped to help homeowners lessen the potential for damage to their houses during an earthquake.  Homeowners can receive up to $3000 toward earthquake retrofit.
PG&E Wildfire PSPS Alerts – Sign in for your online account at and complete your profile and sign up for notifications about outages, Public Safety Power Shutoff Notifications and more.
PG&E/CAISO Rotating outages status and warnings – When PG&E and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) decide that they need to implement rotating power outages, find out if your home is on the list and its zone. – good source to know what to do during power outages, what to do before, during and after.