How to Volunteer
Creeks Master Plan
Wildlife in the Creeks
A Rare Opportunity to Save a Rare Native Tree
Native Northern California Black Walnut
(Juglans hindsii): A
True Contra Costa Original
groves of native trees,
you help us find them please?
they hidden in our midst?
do they no longer even exist?
DNA testing can tell us for sure
walnuts are hybridized
hindsii, are they there?
there a native nut to spare?
our research if you care!
of the Creeks is partnering in a fundraiser to collect samples of
candidate black walnut trees for genetic testing. If we reach our
$10,000 goal, we can test all 60 candidate trees. Genetically pure
trees will be propagated and used in creek restoration projects in
Contra Costa County. Deadline for contributions is June 25,
2015. Read more . . .
See a slideshow about the overall project including maps.
Annual Creek Cleanup
Thank you to the 160 people who helped to clean up the downtown creeks on May 9. We are pleased to report that the volume of trash declined
by about 50%, largely as a result of the plastic bag ordinance that
went into effect last fall.
In addition to removing trash from the creeks, we also weeded along the Creekwalk and did maintenance in the pollinator habitat.
Photos of the 2015 creek cleanup are available here.
Corporate Caring Week: September 21-26
Community Service Day: Saturday Oct 10
2016 Annual Creek Cleanup: Saturday May 14
To sign up, contact us.
Caring for Our Creeks:
We participated in this March evening event sponsored by the Walnut Creek
Watershed Council to inform the public about what's going on in our
watershed and how the public can participate by joining a volunteer
creek group like ours.
Creek Channel Restoration: On Saturday, January 31, we began restoration of the creek channel itself at
Park, bringing back native plants that have been crowded out by
weeds. This is a pilot project to see whether we put the plants in places where they can prosper.
Creek History Talks:
In honor of Walnut
Creek's centennial, Friends of the Creeks gave two illustrated talks
on the history of the creeks.
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.
New Recycling Capabilities
In March, most residents of the
Walnut Creek watershed will be able to recycle scrap metal, rigid
plastics, and bagged plastic bags as part of their curbside
service. Republic Services, the new franchisee, will send a
detailed customer guide in March or April. Then, between April
and July, they will replace the current carts with new colors that
match other Bay Area jurisdictions: green for yard trimmings and food scraps, blue for recycling, and black
for garbage. Standardizing the colors makes it easier for
everyone to do the right thing even when they are in another city.
The plastic bag recycling is particularly good news since plastic bags are so bad for fish and ocean life.
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 native and
horticultural plants suitable for growing under oaks as an
inspiration to home gardeners to make the most of the native oaks that may
be in their yards.
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. We are expanding our theme to include other
pollinators, particularly native bees, and have renamed the area as
"pollinator habitat." The new layout has been decided and we are
mulching the new walkways.
During the winter, staff laid the backbone of a new irrigation
system. Then volunteers put in the first new plants -- several
flowering species for the pollinators and native grasses that not only
feed many species of butterflies but will also deliniate the garden
walkways. In addition, we provided ADA access.
Volunteers from Crew 6 cleaned up San Ramon Creek close to Las Lomas High School.
Volunteer getting ready to plant a common monkey flower
Bridge near Duncan Street circa 1914
Walnut Creek Historical Society,
used by permission
Volunteers cleaning up trash in 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 Oak Woodland 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.