Projects Initiated by CCWC
Lower Codornices Creek Interpretive and Restoration Project
The CCWC received funding in December 2007 to implement the “Codornices Creek Watershed Stewardship Project”. The project will consist of working with key stakeholders to create an interpretive trail and a Creekside Outdoor Classroom, both being part of a larger riparian and creek restoration effort. This project will complement creek restoration work that began 10 years ago on the lower reach of the creek below San Pablo Avenue (see Figure 1) by Ann Riley of Waterways Restoration Institute and Restoration Design Group (RDG).
Initially, the reach between 8th-9th Streets was completed 10 years ago. Subsequently, the reach upstream of the Union Pacific (UP) railroad tracks to 5th Street was completed (also known as Phase 1), followed in 2006 with the 5th-6th Streets reach (also known as Phase 2). This latter project was completed with support from the Coastal Conservancy.
The city of Albany recently received a $2.1 million grant from the CA Resources Agency's River Parkways Program to continue Codornices' restoration between 6th-8th Streets and will contract with RDG to carry out the project (also known as Phase 3). Figure 2 depicts the project restoration phases. The entire Codornices restoration in the lower reach involves collaboration between the cities of Albany and Berkeley as well as the University of California-Berkeley (UC).
This project consists of three components:
(1) Hands-on Riparian Restoration
- Planting native vegetation with CCWC volunteers and other partners and community members at the various restoration reaches to increase diversity and habitat availability. Three primary focuses include:
- Leading and supporting plantings at new restoration reach (6th-8th);
- Integrating native plant restoration into the interpretive component of the project; and
- Maintaining already completed reaches.
(2) Trail improvements
- Adding an interpretive element to the creekside Class 1 Bikeway, which can be accessed by the surrounding community, including University Village (UC's family housing), and that connects to the Bay Trail through 8th and Buchanan Streets (Figure 2). Interpretive elements will be added to sections of the trail below 8th Street to coincide with the planned and completed Codornices restorations. These may include, but may not be limited to, signage, benches, and public art. This component will involve volunteers at all phases of the process.
(3) Environmental Education
- Creating an experiential learning environment about creek ecosystems, anthropogenic impacts, and the community's asset. A Creekside Outdoor Classroom will be created for use as a gathering place, educational center, and native plant nature area. Interpretive components will be designed to complement this area, which will possibly be located at 6th Street; however, the specific location will be determined with full stakeholder input once the project commences. River of Words, a local organization working with youth and watershed poetry and art, will partner with us to integrate these additional elements.
The key to long-term success of this project is comprehensive and complete collaboration with all stakeholders. An Interpretive Advisory Committee (IAC) made up of vital stakeholders, partners and technical professionals will lead the visioning process of the interpretive planning. The IAC will include representatives from the cities of Albany and Berkeley, University Village, schools, businesses, and community groups as well as the hired designers.
In addition, the CCWC will hold community meetings and a design charrette throughout the process to ensure the products address stakeholder needs and obtain buy-in. Through this effort, CCWC will bring partners together and ensure that Codornices' restoration projects become educational and recreational assets to the community and can be accessed by all users.
(See our Project Fact Sheet for a brief description and images of the site. Please share it with your colleagues, neighbors and other interested persons.)
Partnerships and Collaborations
The CCWC also collaborates with local organizations to support management of creek restoration projects. Most recently, the CCWC partnered with the Urban Creeks Council, a local creek restoration non-profit organization, on a restoration project at St. Mary's College High School, in which a fish barrier was removed to allow for improved upstream access to native trout. We helped to gather volunteers from the High School and community and led three planting days to begin to restore the bare steep slopes along site.
In addition, we have worked with Friends of Five Creeks, a community creek stewardship group, to plant native plants and trees and remove invasive vegetation at the 5th Street creek restoration site. This site was restored as part of a larger effort carried out by a partnership of the cities of Albany and Berkeley and University of California-Berkeley. Restoration Design Group, a private firm located in Berkeley, carried out the restoration work.