Pinole Creek, California

Purpose of the project:
The purpose of this project is to restore access to the upper reaches of Pinole Creek for the current population of Central California Coast Steelhead by modifying the existing box culverts where Pinole Creek passes under Interstate Highway 80 (I-80). Habitat assessments conducted on Pinole Creek in 2009 indicate sufficient habitat to support anadromous steelhead spawning and rearing if passage issues at the I-80 culvert are remedied. This project will improve access to nearly 7 miles of documented quality steelhead spawning and rearing habitat on the main stem of Pinole Creek.

Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project is a part of a local, community-based effort – part of the Pinole Creek Watershed Vision Plan, a plan prepared by the Urban Creeks Council of California. Community Vision Statement for Pinole Creek Watershed:

The Pinole Creek Watershed unifies a diverse community that is actively involved in its stewardship. Pinole Creek is a central feature of the landscape, and hosts a healthy riparian habitat, including a native steelhead trout population. Its clean waters are safe for children to play in, a creek-side trail links parks, schools, and neighborhoods and local shopping centers and cafes overlook the creek. The upper watershed is rural in character, with rangeland, equestrian, agricultural, and open space uses that are man-aged for long-term health of natural resources. Property owners, residents, schools, and agencies work cooperatively to protect and enhance the watershed for future generations.

Community members have long been interested in the health of Pinole Creek. This interest evolved into an organized effort when several local residents founded the Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed in 2001. The group is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Pinole Creek watershed and improving the health of San Pablo Bay. Membership has grown to approximately seventy. The primary activities of the Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed include outreach and education programs such as creek cleanups, water quality monitoring, seed collection hikes, watershed tours and participation in Earth Day and other community festivals. In addition, the group works to promote watershed stewardship among local youth, for example, through partnerships with the Pinole Valley High School Environmental Studies Academy. Ongoing projects in development include a new plant propagation center and water quality monitoring program.

Friends of Pinole Creek will recruit volunteers for volunteer monitoring of the project site to ensure stability and report on fish sightings. CCRCD has performed extensive outreach efforts. This has been reflected in receiving letters of support from local elected officials including Congressman Mike Thompson, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, Supervisor John Gioia, and Supervisor Federal Glover. In addition elected officials, public agencies and non-profit organizations supporting this project include US Fish and Wildlife Service, CA Department of Fish and Game, Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Caltrans, Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee, City of Pinole, EBMUD, and Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed.

Project Timeline: The project will be completed in 2015.

Economic Calculator results:

Jobs: 12.1509
Total sales: $1,437,287
Value added: $874,980
Income: $635,282

Partners:
- Contra Costa Resource Conservation District (CCRCD)
- Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- California Coastal Conservancy
- NOAA
- California Water Boards
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
- Caltrans
- Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee
- City of Pinole
- East Bay Municipal Utility District
- California Fish Passage Forum