Small Grant: $5,000
Urban creeks help conserve biodiversity and provide a wonderful opportunity for residents to interact with nature, but they also suffer from dumping, littering, and non-point source pollution. The Watershed Project is working with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and other organizations to engage the residents of San Pablo and nearby communities to protect and enhance Rheem Creek at Wanlass Park, and increase appreciation of this biodiversity. Outreach to local schools and churches reaches a diverse audience and enhances general awareness of creeks and water quality issues.
Funding from the SFEP Watershed Small Grant program covered the removal of invasive species from the 100 meter-long segment of Rheem Creek at Wanlass Park, as well as the planting of 240 native plants. As the native plants become established, stability of the creek bank will increase and weed maintenance with gas powered tools will decrease, resulting in water quality and air quality benefits.
Also, the grant supported community involvement with more than 230 volunteers participating in either watershed awareness events, or hands-on activities. During these events volunteers learned about the watershed ecosystem and its threats, including impact of marine debris and upstream trash, water quality risks from gardening chemicals, etc. Low impact methods were taught, like the use of California native species (drought tolerant plants), as well as how they improve birds and pollinators habitat.
Through the Watershed Project restoration activities, participants, casual park visitors, and residents understand their connection to the larger watershed of the San Francisco Bay Estuary, and how to protect it.
Photos by The Watershed Project