How to Volunteer
Creeks Master Plan
Wildlife in the Creeks
Winter Planting Days
December 13, we will begin restoration of the creek channel itself at
Park, bringing back native plants that have been crowded out by
weeds. To sign up, contact us.
preparation: Saturday, December 13, 2014 Planting days:
Weekends Dec-Feb TBD
Annual Creek Cleanup: Saturday May 9, 2015
Creek History Talk November 13
In honor of Walnut
Creek's centennial, Friends of the Creeks gave an illustrated talk
on the history of the creeks at the Shadelands Art Center on Thursday,
Attendees heard what happened to our creeks as pioneers settled this
area. Things are nothing like they used to be!
We partnered with the
Flood Control District for our Community Service Day (CSD) project this
year and cleaned up two stretches of Pine Creek. One crew worked
along Oak Grove between Diablo Shadows Park and the traffic circle, and
the other worked from Ygnacio Valley Road north to the city
limits in the Woodlands neighborhood. There was considerably more
trash this year than there
had been in the past.
of Caring: We removed arundo and some other invasive weeds
from a downtown site on Las Trampas Creek on September 10.
Otters Are at Home Here
From a low point perhaps fifty
years ago, otters have been slowly staging a comeback in Contra Costa
County. They have gradually recolonized many of our creeks,
learning to cope with flood control structures and other unnatural
objects as they get around. They can walk cross country to move
from one creek to another. They have visited Heather Farm Park in
Walnut Creek for many years, but recently they have been staying
longer, there are more of them, and there has been breeding
activity. Otters range as far south as Danville now and can be
seen in Walnut Creek at Civic Park and in Las Trampas Creek. Much
of this renaissance is due to cleaner water. For otters to
flourish, they need two things from humans: high quality water
and protected wildlife corridors so they can move around.
The Creek Walk Is Expanded
The first section of the Creek Walk included interpretive
panels, picnic tables, realignment of the trail farther away from the
creek, a new pedestrian-only trail, and replanting of the project area
with plants native to the Walnut Creek vicinity. It was opened to
the public in May, 2011.
During the summer, the plants filled out and flowered,
providing food for pollinators. Where the native grass seed was
allowed to fall, there are new seedlings around the parent plants, as
intended. To the east of the planted area, City staff pruned up
the trees and removed underbrush to give the area a more open
feeling. As a result of all the improvements, the public is
making greater use of the area.
On the first Community Service Day in October 2011, the
Gardens at Heather Farm and Friends of the Creeks volunteers combined
to plant an IPM demonstration garden under the oaks at the east end of
the Creek Walk. (IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, which
is a set of techniques for managing a garden with little or no use of
pesticides.) The new garden showcases a selection of
horticultural and native plants suitable for growing under oaks as an
inspiration to gardeners to make the most of the native oaks that may
be in their yards.
In the fall of 2014, in cooperation with a group of Civic Park
volunteers, we began work on
rehabilitating the butterfly habitat at the east end of the Creekwalk.
In August 2010 we began a new program – gathering data on the fish in Walnut Creek
just below the drop structure near the Willows Shopping Center.
This location is the farthest upstream that steelhead and salmon can
come to spawn. We are attempting to document their success by
sampling several times over the course of a year to see what species
are present in the creek in each season.
We returned to the area a couple of times in December to look
for salmon. We found a few the first time, none the second.
However, there were lots of signs of otters.
Annual Creek Cleanup
About 190 people participated this
year as we celebrated the 25th annual downtown creek cleanup and the
City of Walnut Creek's 100th birthday. Volunteers did everything
from lining up sponsors for food and printing, publicity, registration,
leading crews, preparing food for breakfast -- and of course, cleaning
In addition to removing trash from the
creek, we made great progress in removing arundo and weeding in the
butterfly habitat in Civic Park.
Special thanks to
our sponsors: Alphagraphics, Allied Waste, Fresh &
Easy, Noah's Bagels, Peets, Safeway, Sprouts, and Sunrise Bistro.
Photos of the 2014 creek cleanup are available
Bridge near Duncan Street circa 1914
Walnut Creek Historical Society,
used by permission
Volunteers cleaning up trash from Pine Creek near Arbolado Drive on
Community Service Day, September 27, 2014
Otter eating a freshly-caught trout in the front pond at Heather Farm
Park in Walnut Creek. Two recently installed floating islands
have created habitat and improved water quality.
The new IPM garden as it appeared in March, 2012. It is planted
with species suitable for growing under native oaks. There is an
informal seating area in the middle.
People explore the Creek Walk after the dedication ceremony.
Collecting a fish sample with seining nets in lower Walnut Creek
Volunteers cleaning up an area near Civic Park