This 2018 Annual Report highlights the efforts of our very motivated friends groups and our local government, regulatory and corporate partners to improve the health of the Walnut Creek Watershed. The individual reports are important because they show the wide-ranging actions that are being taken to improve the watershed, the use of volunteers, and the progress that is being made in many areas. These reports demonstrate that there are several exciting things happening in our watershed. The Council was started in 2011, and I am proud to say 2018 was our best year yet! In 2019, our major focus will be on removing invasive species and planting native plants in our riparian areas. In March, we are co-hosting a workshop with the California Invasive Plant Council and the City of Walnut Creek. We are looking forward to learning about all the invasive plants in our watershed and how to treat them. In 2018, we received over $40,000 in mitigation funds to be used to target Arundo donax. We identified and mapped more than 250 Arundo infestations in our watershed. Arundo is a non-native, invasive species that uses a lot of water, displaces native plants and wildlife, and creates a fire and flooding hazard. We have already committed $10,000 of that money as a match with the City of Walnut Creek on a major project in Civic Park in the City of Walnut Creek. The project will not only remove the 11 stands of Arundo in that portion of Walnut Creek (the creek), but it will also remove the Himalayan blackberry and the ivy that is present, and install some native plantings. We hope to work with all our stakeholder groups to expand the effort to eliminate these invasive plants from our creeks. Finally, we are working with several others to plan the Fourth Quadrennial Contra Costa Watershed Symposium on December 5th, 2019. The last one was in 2015 and was outstanding. This one will be as well. I hope to see you in our creeks and at the Symposium!
- Bob Simmons
Our Creeks: Two creeks, Grayson Creek and Murderers Creek, flow through the City of Pleasant Hill, connect with Walnut Creek, and then drain into Suisun Bay. Pleasant Hill’s creeks are part of the Walnut Creek Watershed, the largest watershed in Contra Costa County.
2018 Creek Cleanups and Trash Assessments: In 2018, dozens of volunteers cleaned up more than 3000 linear feet of Grayson Creek during community service events sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Civic Action Commission and The Watershed Project. More than 1700 pieces of trash were removed and catalogued in detailed trash assessments. This data is helping to develop policies to prevent water pollution. For example, the Last Plastic Straw Campaign utilized our data on plastic and Styrofoam waste in their presentation to the Pleasant Hill City Council advocating for a policy to reduce disposable foodware, which is a major source of creek pollution.
Water Quality Monitoring: In 2018, volunteers continued to help collect monthly water samples and “first flush” data from Grayson Creek. Measurements of pH, dissolved oxygen, and other parameters were monitored and reported as part of a countywide water quality monitoring project. FPHC also collaborated with the Flood Control Connect with FPHC: Website: www.pleasanthillcreeks.org Facebook: @PHcreeks Email: email@example.com. District, the Watershed Project, and Diablo Valley College to integrate water quality monitoring fieldwork into biology classes.
Grayson Creek Bird Survey: In partnership with Mt. Diablo Audubon Society, volunteers conducted monthly bird surveys to document avian diversity in two sections of the Grayson Creek riparian habitat. As of December 2018, the survey team has documented more than 60 species of native and migratory California birds in the study area.
Public Outreach and Education: FPHC participated in numerous community events, including Earth Day at Diablo Valley College, Spring and Fall Nature Day Events at Wild Birds Unlimited, Watershed Day at the Capitol, the Creek Invaders symposium, and the Fall 2018 San Ramon Creek bypass construction.
New Pleasant Hill Library: FPHC is actively participating in the design process for the new Pleasant Hill Library, which will be built on Oak Park Blvd. adjacent to Grayson Creek. Key objectives include creating connections between the library, nearby schools, and the creek as well as optimizing opportunities for open space, outdoor education, wildlife viewing, and a multi-benefit green corridor. We are excited that plans for the library, released in 2018, include a creekside trail, nature oriented programming, and native habitat gardens.
Chairman: Bob Simmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
For General Watershed Issues: Elissa Robinson, email@example.com
For Arundo Issues: Lisa Damerel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2019 - Walnut Creek Watershed Council - All Rights Reserved
Many images courtesy of Contra Costa Resource Conservation District