Small Grant 2013 – Increasing Community-based Watershed Stewardship in the Gallinas Creek Watershed and Facilitating Collaboration among Marin County Watershed Groups
Small Grant: $5,000
As in many Bay Area watersheds, human activities in the Gallinas Creek Watershed pose significant challenges to its creeks, wildlife, and the Bay. The Gallinas Watershed Council seeks to protect this important natural community with its unique array of wildlife and habitats. Watershed marshes support the largest population of endangered California clapper rail in San Pablo Bay as well as other rare species, and China Camp State Park contains a relatively pristine and ecologically rich remnant of San Francisco Baylands. Yet there remains a widespread lack of understanding among local stakeholders about the importance of watersheds, how watersheds function, where sensitive tributaries are located, and how human activities impact watershed resources.
Thanks to the SFEP Small Grants Program, GWC has been undertaking a variety of education, outreach, and regional collaboration efforts. GWC education and outreach activities include tours of the watershed, cleanups, and outreach at community events. GWC tours allow participants to make a personal connection with the watershed and provide an on-the-ground opportunity to witness and discuss real watershed issues, challenges and potential solutions. Cleanups engage individuals directly in watershed stewardship. SFEP’s Small Grant also made possible the purchase of a realistic, 3-D watershed model that offers an engaging and interactive way to educate the public about watersheds, point and nonpoint source pollution, and strategies for reducing human impacts. Finally, GWC seeks to increase the effectiveness of both local and regional efforts to protect watersheds through the organization of a regional meeting last fall that brought together interested individuals and watershed groups across the county. The purpose of this meeting was to provide a venue for information exchange and collaboration, and to jumpstart a mechanism for continued exchange with the goal of making the watershed approach a more influential part of public dialogue and decision-making.