Upper Sausal Creek Restoration Project Completed, Improves Water Quality, Fish Habitat

By on June 10, 2019

A multi-benefit project, funded by, the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Urban Streams Restoration Program, has fostered a collaborative effort to provide improvements to the community of Oakland and local fish habitats. An event in mid-May celebrated the completion of the Upper Sausal Creek Erosion Control Restoration Project which was attended by local agencies, state government representatives and community members.

In 2008 DWR awarded $540,000 in Proposition 84 grant funding to the Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC). The non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting awareness and stewardship of the Sausal Creek Watershed, and its co-sponsor the city of Oakland. Measure DD, the Oakland Trust for Clean Water and Safe Parks Bond, provided an additional $58,000 for the project.

Beginning in the Oakland Hills, Sausal Creek crosses the entire city before contributing to the Oakland Estuary. Erosion was contributing large amounts of sediment to the creek and impacting water quality and the habitat of the native rainbow trout and other aquatic life. Additionally, the creek supports redwood and oak forests, and a remarkable diversity of resident and migratory birds.

The project repaired three actively-eroding gullies created by stormwater runoff from surrounding roadways that were destabilizing canyon and channel slopes and impacting hiking trails. Using natural and engineering techniques, D-Line Constructors Inc. reconstructed creek banks, stabilized slopes and gullies, and replaced invasive plants with 3,000 locally-adapted native plants and trees. T

The project has resulted in a healthier watershed and improved habitat for rainbow trout and macro-invertebrates. The native plantings help preserve genetic diversity of the region because they were propagated through FOSC’s nearby nursery.

“Against all odds, the native rainbow trout persist in Sausal Creek,” said Tim Vendlinski, FOSC board member and life scientist. “These fish are our legacy and responsibility, and we’re grateful for the partnership we have with the State, the City, and D-Line toward preventing landslides and securing clean water.”

The restoration of Upper Sausal Creek began at the start of the 2018-2019 rainy season by local community volunteers coordinated through FOSC. Nonetheless, construction was completed a month ahead of schedule.

DWR’s Urban Streams Restoration Program provides financial assistance to projects that help restore streams, creeks, and rivers to enhance the environment for fish and wildlife, as well as promote community stewardship. Speaking on behalf of DWR, Kevin Marr, environmental scientist with DWR’s Urban Streams Restoration Program, said, “I have enjoyed working with the staff of the FOSC and the City of Oakland to restore Sausal Creek and promote community stewardship. The partnership between the City and the community serves as a model for implementing restoration projects.”