Annual Creek Cleanup 

Thank you to all our cleanup volunteers!

Over 150 people attended the 28th annual downtown Walnut Creek creek cleanup on May 13.  We collected 16 cubic yards of debris. Two-thirds of it was habitat restoration-related, and the rest was trash. Some memorable items:

    Most ironic:  a kitchen sink stopper
    Most poignant:  an aluminum crutch

Unfortunately we found more sleeping bags and suitcases full of clothes than ever before.  It looks as if the homeless were caught by the winter storms and lost some valuable possessions.

More photos from the cleanup will be available soon.  Meanwhile, enjoy the one on the right.

Photos of the 2016 creek cleanup are available here.

Creek Restoration Project Continues in Civic Park June 10

We are transforming a weedy area of creek bank in Civic Park into a meadow of wildflowers and native grasses.  Join us for some rewarding work, camaraderie, and sometimes a brief talk about an aspect of creek ecology.  No experience is required -- just a desire to make the creek a better place for both humans and wildlife. 
For our Saturday, June 10 workday, we'll sheet mulch next year's restoration area.  Join us if you want to learn how to do it!

For more information about workdays
To sign up, contact us.
Photos of past restoration days


Upcoming Events

Restoration workday:  Sat Jun 10 from 9:00am-noon
Restoration days
monthly on the 2nd Saturday
Community Service Day, Sat Oct 14, 8:45am 
2018 Annual Creek Cleanup
:  Sat May 12, 8:45am
To sign up, contact us.


    Community Service Day Projects

    Friends of the Creeks sponsored two projects on Community Service Day in 2016 -- a cleanup on Pine Creek, and for the more restoration minded, ivy removal in San Ramon Creek near Creekside Drive downtown.  The Flood Control District sponsored a second Pine Creek cleanup.

    Investigating Fish Habitat

    As part of our ongoing project to learn more about the fish in our creeks -- both what species we have and where they live -- we asked Gretchen Hayes, a geomorphologist, to teach us how to do pebble counts. This is a technique for assessing the quality of gravel beds for suitability as redds (the nests salmon build to lay their eggs).  After locating a promising spot, we laid out a grid, took a sample pebble from each intersection, and measured and recorded it to get a histogram of gravel sizes.  We found that we had more fine gravel than is optimal.

    Other Recent Activities

    Creek Cleanup for the Salmon:  Since salmon need clean water both to live in and reproduce, we cleaned up an area of Walnut Creek where salmon usually come to spawn. Because of the homeless camps nearby, there were a lot of large objects like grocery carts, old clothing, and luggage, along with a lot of cigarette butts and fragments of packaging.  We didn't see a single plastic bag, however. We were not able to remove all the trash, but it's a lot cleaner than it was and we'll return next year.

    Sandbagging:  As an experiment, we used sandbags to divert all the flow of San Ramon Creek from the bypass into the natural channel during the dry season to see whether it made a difference in the water temperature.  There wasn't enough extra water to make a difference, but we'll try again early next summer when there is more water (and more baby fish).

    Arundo Removal:  A group removed arundo from a stretch of creek bank below the Creekwalk in Civic Park East on August 14. A second group worked on Las Trampas Creek in September.  Slowly but surely, we are making progress against this invasive weed.

    volunteers cleaning creek
    Crew 5 poses with the trash from their area.  It's a fine collection, even though the lawn chair they found is missing.

    planting pipevines

    Volunteers pause after planting pipevines, the sole food of pipevine swallowtail butterfly caterpillers.

    ivy removal volunteers

    Ivy removal volunteers in San Ramon Creek on Community Service Day 2016

    volunteers doing pebble count

    The  volunteer on the left is measuring a pebble, while the one on the right is reaching into the water to select one.
    volunteers clean the creek for the salmon
    Volunteers cleaned up the creek for the salmon on October 29.
    sandbags in the concrete channel

    Placing sandbags in the bypass channel to divert the flow into the natural channel, August 2016

    Young people removing arundo

    Volunteers cutting arundo  below the Creekwalk