Pinole Creek is fed by an extensive watershed that reaches into the hills of Martinez.  It is home to a fabulous variety of wildlife and native plants that reflect the watershed’s health.  One on-going threat to the creek is the build-up of sediments that erode from crumbling hillsides and wash into the water during seasonal floods.  Just such a site exists at Pavon Creeks, located at “the Y”: the intersection of Castro Ranch and Alhambra Valley Roads.

 

A major restoration project was completed by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in 2010.  The project included the construction of a series of seasonal wetlands and sediment traps as well as riparian planting to stabilize creek banks.

In April 2017, after the intense rainy season, FOPCW joined other members of the community to tour the site and discover the changes that have occurred since project completion in 2012.  A wonderful story unfolded as Bert Mulchaey and representatives from Balance Hydrologics, who designed the project, shared the current status.

Willows are thriving in the various channels, their roots slowing down the flow of water and silt.  The sediment forebays have trapped a large portion of the silt that washes down in a typical year.  As a result, the lower ponds (closest to the road intersection) are home to an increasing diversity:  Western pond turtles, the endangered red-legged frogs, killdeer, egrets, blue herons, and buffleheads make their home in the seasonal wetlands.

Monitoring will continue for another 3 years as the site becomes permanently established. Thereafter, the creek and wetland restoration will be maintained in perpetuity for the benefit of sensitive fish and wildlife species.  It was a great day to tour the Pavon Creeks site and experience first-hand the beauty of our watershed.

Orienting visitors to the lay of the land at Pavon Creeks
Orienting visitors to the lay of the land at Pavon Creeks
One of the sedimentation ponds, providing habitat.
One of the sedimentation ponds, providing habitat.