Friends of Five Creeks

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Friends of Five Creeks
Friends of Five Creeks logo.png
TypeParent organization is a registered non-profit [1]
PurposeWildlife habitat protection
HeadquartersAlbany Community Center, 1249 Marin
Volunteer [2]
LeaderSusan Schwartz
Parent organization
Berkeley Partners for Parks

Friends of Five Creeks is a regional community volunteer organization founded in 1996 by Sonja Wadman originally dedicated to the stewardship of creeks in northern Alameda County and western Contra Costa, California, United States. [3] [4] [5] Education about wildlife and restoration is also a major facet of the FFC's mission. [6] [7]



The organization is dedicated to improving creek habitats for environmental, flood control, pollution filtration, and beautification reasons. The original five creeks were Cerrito Creek-Middle/Blackberry, Marin Creek, Codornices Creek, Schoolhouse Creek and Marin/Village Creek, however the organization's involvement has expanded to all the creeks in the area including the communities of Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond, and the surrounding unincorporated areas. [5] [4] Susan Schwartz, the organization's leader, states that the organization like other "friends of" groups would not have gotten off the ground without help from the Urban Creeks Council. [8] The group holds up to 40 events a year where the volunteers work on refuse collection, graffiti removal, removing culverts in addition to plating native vegetation and removing invasive species. [9] [4] There is a monthly work party to pick weeds and showcase the area's natural habitats with a new site each month. [6] The organization is registered with the California Coastal Commission. [3]

Creek work

Village Creek is maintained by FFC. Marin Creek.jpg
Village Creek is maintained by FFC.

The organization organizes more than 40 work parties each year, providing direction and tools for groups of volunteers who work to restore a section of one of the creeks. [10]

Cerrito Creek runs from the El Cerrito hills to the San Francisco Bay. The organization has daylighted and restored a portion of the creek along the parking lot of El Cerrito Plaza Shopping Center. [6] Further down stream part of the creek runs through Pacific East Mall's parking lot, where it forms the border between Richmond and Albany. [11] [12] This portion of the creek was daylighted and restored by the organization in 2003. [13] [12] Berkeley Daily Planet columnist Ron Sullivan reports a statement from FFC's Susan Schwartz that Pacific East Mall landscapers in Richmond have used herbicides, and speculates that this could explain her (Sullivan's) observations of dead grasses, plants and trees along the creek path near the mall's property line. Furthermore, Sullivan reports allegations and concludes from seeing the results that small native shrubs were mowed, and reports allegations that the mall has not agreed to a written maintenance plan as required by its use permit. [12]

In 2001 the organization received two separate grants totaling $400,000 to work on the restoration of Codornices Creek. [14] In the 1990s the Friends of Five Creeks discovered the reappearance of steelhead and rainbow trout at Codornices Creek while performing restoration work. [15] The "Friends" are also lobbying for the creation of public space adjacent to the creek for a new Whole Foods supermarket and parking structure along the stream's banks in U.C. Village. [16]

The organization also helps to restore and work on some non-creek areas such as the Berkeley Meadow and Eastshore State Park in addition to blight abatement, and trash collection activities at local parks. [17] [18] [19] Working with Citizens for Eastshore Parks FFC is studying the possibility of daylighting a portion of Schoolhouse Creek. [20]

Education work

Friends of Five Creeks works with school groups to educate them about the creek and bay environments. [21]

Related Research Articles

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Golden Gate Fields

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Strawberry Creek

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Codornices Creek

Codornices Creek, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) long, is one of the principal creeks which runs out of the Berkeley Hills in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. In its upper stretch, it passes entirely within the city limits of Berkeley, and marks the city limit with the adjacent city of Albany in its lower section. Before European settlement, Codornices probably had no direct, permanent connection to San Francisco Bay. Like many other small creeks, it filtered through what early maps show as grassland to a large, northward-running salt marsh and slough that also carried waters from Marin Creek and Schoolhouse Creek. A channel was cut through in the 19th Century, and Codornices flows directly to San Francisco Bay by way of a narrow remnant slough adjacent to Golden Gate Fields racetrack.

Schoolhouse Creek (Alameda County)

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McLaughlin Eastshore State Park

McLaughlin Eastshore State Park is a state park and wildlife refuge along the San Francisco Bay shoreline of the East Bay between the cities of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland. It encompasses remnant natural wetlands, restored wetlands, as well as landfill west of the Eastshore Freeway. Its shoreline is 8.5 miles (13.7 km) long, and its total area is 1,854 acres (750 ha), which includes both tidelands and uplands. Originally named just Eastshore State Park, it was renamed in October 2012 to honor the late Save the Bay founder Sylvia McLaughlin, who, along with the late Dwight Steele of Citizens for Eastshore Park, drove the establishment of the park. Prior to 2013, it was jointly managed by the California State Parks and East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). The state agency and EBRPD executed a 30-year agreement for EBRPD to manage the park.

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Baxter Creek

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Cerrito Creek

Cerrito Creek is one of the principal watercourses running out of the Berkeley Hills into San Francisco Bay in northern California. It is significant for its use as a boundary demarcation historically, as well as presently. In the early 19th century, it separated the vast Rancho San Antonio to the south from the Castro family's Rancho San Pablo to the north. Today, it marks part of the boundary between Alameda County and Contra Costa County. The main stem, running through a deep canyon that separates Berkeley from Kensington, is joined below San Pablo Avenue by a fan of tributaries, their lower reaches mostly in culverts. The largest of these is Middle or Blackberry Creek, a southern branch.

Fluvius Innominatus or Central Creek is a creek in Richmond and El Cerrito, California in western Contra Costa County. There is one main source and a secondary unnamed tributary. The creek drains into Hoffman Marsh and then flows into the bay through Point Isabel Regional Shoreline's Hoffman Channel. However, before the area was developed and as early as 1899 the creek had 11 sources which stretched far higher into the Berkeley Hills.

Stege Marsh, also known as the South Richmond Marshes, is a tidal marshland wetlands area in Richmond, California in western Contra Costa County.

Marin Creek

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Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) is an United States environmental organization that focuses on the acquisition and preservation of parkland in the San Francisco Bay Area. CESP works to protect open space along the East Bay shoreline for natural habitat and recreational purposes through a combination of advocacy, education, and outreach. Since its founding in 1985, CESP has worked to secure approximately 1,800 acres (730 ha) of public land, primarily through the creation of the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) long Eastshore State Park in 2002.

Pacific East Mall

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  1. "Articles of Incorporation of Berkeley Partners for Parks". Endorsed (1884392) and Filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of California on 18 Mar 1994.
  2. The Right Shade of Green / We're being invaded by alien species [ permanent dead link ]. Kurt True. 29-04-2003. Retrieved 28-01-2011.
  3. 1 2 Friends of Five Creeks. California Coastal Commission. 2011. 27-01-2011.
  4. 1 2 3 Environmental advocate nurtures a love for nature. Shellah Moody. San Francisco Chronicle . 05-10-2008. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  5. 1 2 "Worldwide Work Party" with Friends of Five Creeks . El Cerrito Patch. 2011. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  6. 1 2 3 Creeks. City of El Cerrito website. 2011. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  7. Kauffman, Turk; Puchall, Lauri (May 2006). "Paved Paradise in Berkeley". European Social Ecology Institute. Retrieved 28 January 2011. In recent years, grassroots groups such as... Friends of Five Creeks are attempting to daylight and restore the local network of creeks and bring back wildlife to the watershed.
  8. Water warriors / United Creeks Council quietly fights to bring streams to light Archived 2 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine . Katherine Redding. San Francisco Chronicle. 03-04-2003. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  9. Friends of Five Creeks Never Stops, Catch Up With Them Sunday. Albany Patch. 2011. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  10. Environmental advocate nurtures a love for nature San Francisco Chronicle, 5 October 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2011]
  11. Cerrito Creek watershed map. Museum of California. 2011. Retrieved 23-01-2011.
  12. 1 2 3 Garden Variety: An Ecological Calamity Below Albany Hill. Ron Sullivan. Berkeley Daily Planet. 26-01-2007. Retrieved 23-01-2011.
  13. Creek mouths along the Bay Trail in Berkeley, Albany, and south Richmond Archived 19 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine . Susan Schwartz. Friends of Five Creeks. 09-03-2004. Retrieved 25-01-2011.
  14. Beth El decision set for Tuesday Berkeley Daily Planet, 21 July 2001. Retrieved 1 February 2011
  15. "Friends of Five Creeks". Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  16. Crampton, Matthew; Martin, John (2007), A Re-design Proposal: Connecting Whole Foods Market and Codornices Creek, University of California, OCLC   657366554
  17. Berkeley Takes Action Archived 9 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine . Global Work Party. 10-10-2011. Retrieved 31-01-2011.
  18. Eastshore State Park’s Berkeley Meadow Restoration Nearing Completion Archived 16 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine . 2010. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  19. Friends of Five Creeks. CalRotract. 16-02-2010. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  20. Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) E-Newsletter. December 2004. Retrieved 27-01-2011.
  21. Environment for learning / At one Oakland alternative school, lessons grounded in ecology help guide students onto the right track, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 November 2003. Retrieved 1 February 2011