Above: At El Cerrito Plaza, volunteers added plants, built trails, installed furniture, and more. Click image for a slide show of our work.
Below: Albany's and El Cerrito's Creekside Parks. F5C volunteers have transformed a tangle of weeds into a welcoming urban oasis.
Friends of Five Creeks has worked along lower Cerrito Creek since 2000. Our aims are:
We have many projects along the creek:
- A creek friendly to people and wildlife.
- Restoration and appreciation of the regionally important natural area of creek, El Cerrito's urban Creekside Park, and Albany's Creekside and Albany Hill parks and open space.
- A creekside pedestrian-bicycle greenway from the Ohlone Greenway (trail on the BART right of way) to the Bay Trail and Eastshore State Park. At our urging, the cities of Albany and El Cerrito have adopted a plan for the trail. Segment by segment, it is becoming reality.
- At the Ohlone Greenway, Friends of Five Creeks removed blackberries and ivy that were choking the creek, planted natives, and installed seating rocks. Plantings were damaged over the years, and wiped out by City of El Cerrito maintenance workers 2013. However, this reach is due for improvements, and likely daylighting of the creek downstream, perhaps as soon as 2014 as condominiums are built in the southeast coner of the El Cerrito Plaza parking lot.
- Between Talbot and Kains Streets, the creek was little better than a degraded concrete ditch. Friends of Five Creeks advocated for restoration, made possible by remodelling of adjacent El Cerrito Plaza and a state grant to the City of El Cerrito. The parking lot was moved back; a new, more meandering channel was planted with natives. Friends of Five Creeks contributed amenities such as signs and litter cans, and does ongoing maintenance and fill-in planting.
- West of San Pablo Avenue downstream to Pierce Street, Friends of Five Creeks volunteers have been restoring the creek since 2001. Almost a half mile of flood-causing blackberries and other invasives have been replaced by varied natives. We also donated a table on the El Cerrito (north) side and two benches on the Albany (south) side.
- Our work extends south to the historic willow grove near Middle Creek, the grassy meadows on lower Albany Hill, and the eroded trails on Albany Hill.