CODORNICES CREEK WATERSHED STEWARDSHIP PROJECT
In the Fall of 2007, the Codornices Creek Watershed Council (CCWC) was awarded grant funds from the California Coastal Conservancy for the “Codornices Creek Watershed Stewardship Project” (Project) to complement a creek restoration on lower Codornices Creek between 6th and 8th Streets, along the border of the cities of Albany and Berkeley. The Project involves three major components: 1) an “outdoor classroom,” in support of an experiential learning environment about creek and watershed ecosystems, 2) interpretive elements along a Class 1 Bikeway planned along the creek, and 3) planting native vegetation with CCWC volunteers and other community members to increase diversity and enhance habitat value. These three components have been carried out in phases, during which the outdoor classroom, interpretive elements, and native planting schemes were designed with input from the community and other stakeholders at public design workshops. The CCWC began its implementation stage in May 2010 and will doing on-the-ground implementation in January 2011.
Along the lower reaches of Codornices Creek, the City of Albany has already restored fish habitat and reconfigured an important segment of the Creek between 4th-6th Streets. The reach between 6th-8th Streets (Phase III) will be completed by early 2011, which will be followed by extensive work by CCWC and volunteers to implement community-supported designs and comprehensive planting plans.
PHASE I: PROJECT DESIGN AND STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION
Mary Pearsall, of Mary Pearsall Landscape Design and Planning, was hired by CCWC to facilitate two community design workshops and provide a final project design and construction plan to complement the City of Albany’s new creek restoration project. The purpose of the first workshop in November 2008 was to begin brainstorming and gathering general public input in order to gain an idea of stakeholder’s interests and needs, which were used to guide the design process. In April 2009, CCWC held their second workshop to gather more focused, concrete ideas about what the public would like to have developed at the site to enable the completion of a final draft design of the outdoor classroom and additional interpretive elements for the two block-long reach.
As part of the participatory design review process, CCWC also set up an Interpretive Advisory Committee (IAC) made up of educators, local business owners, representatives of University of Berkeley’s University Village Family Housing, and staff from the Cities of Berkeley and Albany to help guide the project planning and decision-making. The IAC met three times in 2008-09 to provide guidance and feedback on the developing project. The IAC was asked to rate public comments and ideas from the community design meetings on a scorecard as a way to recognize the participatory process and identify what elements would be most feasible at the site.
By January 2010, the CCWC had proposed site features to project partners and representatives of the City of Albany, and, after careful review and thorough discussions, all parties came to agreement about how to combine projects together effectively and positively for the community and other stakeholders. On March 24, 2010, the CCWC gave a final presentation to the public on their plans for lower Codornices Creek and asked for the audience’s future participation and involvement with the CCWC, as volunteers will be needed to make the project be a success.
PHASE II: INSTALLATION OF SITE PLAN ELEMENTS and NATIVE PLANTS
In response to the comments and ideas received from the public workshops, the IAC and project partners, the CCWC will focus on three major components: an Outdoor Classroom, supplemental Native Plantings, and creation of an experiential learning environment through the use of Interpretive Components, which will be installed by Spring 2011:
- Outdoor Classroom -- A creekside Outdoor Classroom is being installed at the base of the new creek configuration at 8th Street. The plans is use this area as a gathering place, educational center, and creekside destination.
- Creekside Discovery Trail -- – There will be a spur trail with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) access off the main bike trail near 8th Street that will lead to the Outdoor Classroom. This area will also be developed as an instructional use area, focusing on habitat enhancement and the role of native plants.
- Animal Track Interpretive Stamps -- Animal tracks will be imprinted into the concrete walkways to represent native species that currently still exist (at 6th Street) as well as those that disappeared after urbanization (at 8th Street).
- Character Rocks -- A series of boulders will be installed along the bike path to serve as informal seating for observing the natural creek envionment and all its amenities.
- Volunteer Planting, Weeding and Stewardship Program (Winter 2010-2011) -- The CCWC is planning and organizing a major volunteer effort to install up to 2,000 native plants following the completion of the creek restoration. California native plants specifically propagated for the site by Diana Benner of The Watershed Nursery in Richmond will be planted by volunteers during the Winter of 2010/2011. After monitoring planting success, Diana will lead additional plantings in Fall 2011 to continue to increase habitat and species diversity.
- Other elements include foot lockers for equipment storage and educational materials; bird nesting houses, including a Barn Owl nesting house as a community/classroom volunteer project; a youth poetry panel; and a web-based site map located on the CCWC website, allowing students, visitors and the public who are interested in learning more about Codornices Creek and Watershed to download a digital map to print and carry with them when they visit the Creek. We also anticipate having various interpretive program elements to discover and experience through the website, such as native plant identification, steelhead spawning, and information on stormwater treatment.
This is a very exciting community project and we welcome your involvement! PLEASE JOIN US in making this valuable project and future program a success and an exciting destination for the entire watershed and beyond! For more information, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to see the site plan (pdf)