Above: Near the mouth of Schoolhouse Creek, we combat invasives that take over large areas -- like this fennel jungle. Click image for a slide show of our work.

Below: Friends of Five Creeks hopes someday to "free" Schoolhouse Creek from its pipe.

Schoolhouse Creek

Schoolhouse Creek is small but historic. Berkeley's first school was built on its banks. Originally, it emptied into the south end of a large salt marsh that carried the waters of Schoolhouse, Codornices, and Marin Creeks north behind low dunes and sandy beach. But the beach was used for construction sand. The marsh and shoreline were covered by a garbage dump. The creek was put into a pipe that carried sewage west to the Bay.

Schoolhouse Creek waters are clean again, but the little creek still flows in a culvert for most of its course from hills to Bay. Friends of Five Creeks' long-term goal is to bring Schoolhouse Creek out of its pipe at its mouth in Eastshore State Park. The tidal channel that would result would enrich the park and also lessen flood danger in West Berkeley.

In the meantime, F5C volunteers work to control invasives and make the area friendly to people and wildlife. We have removed a forest of invasive, fire-prone French broom, dug out huge clumps of Pampas grass, opened "windows" of view to the Bay, and begun planting tough, drought-tolerant natives. There is a lot to be done!