About Friends of the Creeks

In 1991 the City Council appointed a task force to create a master plan for the enhancement of the creeks in the downtown area. Following adoption of the plan in 1993, the task force members decided to incorporate as a nonprofit organization, Friends of the Creeks, to work with the City of Walnut Creek to implement the plan they had developed.

Over time, Friends of the Creeks’ vision of this partnership has extended to removing arundo and other invasive exotic plants from the creeks. We have moved beyond the downtown creeks to helping neighborhoods in various parts of the city with creek issues and to advocating for creeks in new development projects.  As the result of our efforts, the current General Plan contains much stronger policies and protections for creeks.

Friends of the Creeks was one of the organizers of a hands-on restoration workshop in Walnut Creek in 1999, out of which came both the Watershed Forum and its quadrennial symposia.  We have been active in this information exchange and networking group since its beginning.

Expanding our interests further, we became one of the half dozen groups that founded the Walnut Creek Watershed Council late in 2011.  Council membership now includes all the cities in the watershed, the County and Flood Control District, other local government agencies, all four nonprofit creek groups, land trusts and other environmental groups, private industry, and individuals.  This diverse membership gives us a broader view both of what is possible and what is necessary.  The Council is a vehicle for achieving a common vision of what the watershed could be and a platform for accomplishing it.  After persuading the Water Quality Control Board that residents of a watershed should have a voice in where and how new development is mitigated, we created a list of such projects within our watershed.  We are currently working on a vision statement.


Recognition from Our Peers

Contra Costa's creeks community gathered for the 5th Quadrennial Watershed Symposium on December 3, 2015 to exchange information and hear about the latest research and trends.

The Symposium is also the occasion when the community gives awards to people who have made outstanding contributions.  This was our watershed's year and we are very honored to have been so generously recognized.


FOC Wins Action for Beauty Award

Friends of the Creeks was one of three recipients of the 2013 Peg Kovar Poppy Award from the Walnut Creek Action for Beauty Council.  The award was presented at the group's annual luncheon on October 11, 2013.  The Poppy Award is given for Beauty of Environment, and the project for which we won was the Creek Walk.  Our contributions were native plant knowledge and a grant we received from the Contra Costa County Fish & Wildlife Committee to pay for the plants.  The other recipients were Karen McArdle, the architect, and the City of Walnut Creek, who paid for the project as part of the Creeks Master Plan.  

Lincoln Avenue bridge over Walnut Creek


Bob Simmons accepts award

Bob Simmons, founding Chair of the Walnut Creek Watershed Council and  FOC member, accepting the Watershed Champion award at the Watershed Symposium on December 3, 2015.

Watershed heroes accepting awards

Jim Hale, Ron Brown, Lesley Hunt, and Igor Skaredoff received Watershed Hero awards at the Symposium.  Jim and Lesley are both founding members of Friends of the Creeks.


Recipients of the 2013 Poppy Award:  Lesley Hunt (Friends of the Creeks), Karen McArdle (Hansen McArdle Inc.), and Heather Ballenger (City of Walnut Creek)