2013 Creek Week Clean-Up is Saturday, April 13

The first planning meeting will be on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 a.m. Location: 2020 L Street, AECOM’s 4th floor conference room. Please consider helping us plan this great service & environmental event.

Some meeting materials:  Agenda 10-11-2012 Meeting Schedule Sponsors 2012 Draft Sponsor letter Debrief CW 2012 Meeting Topics & Schedules, Committee Overview

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Bannon Creek Clean Up


At our annual Creek Week Celebration clean ups each April, we often hear the question, “So when can we do this again?” To which we usually have to answer… “Not until next year…” Well, one of our site leaders, Tanja , and her crew of volunteers went the extra mile (setting a good example for the rest of us) and organized another clean up in her area and one of our Board Members, Bill Templin, was able to attend and take some photos of their well-coordinated efforts.


This channel is part of the Reclamation District 1000’s area and they were right there to help haul stuff away that volunteers pulled from the creek and adjacent parkway. They also kindly mowed down the tall weeds along the creek so people could find the trash easier… and help reduce the chance of a grass fire causing big time damage to the area… Bill noticed that there had been a recent grass fire just before the clean up, so maybe mowing the grass helped to keep that fire a small one.


Lots of visitors were noticed using the area for walking and even berry picking… and viewing the scenic beauty of the area as shown in the following photos.

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Creek Week Planning

State Water Resources – Water Molecule Journey

Anyone is welcome to check the blog to see how the planning is coming along. Here are the notes from our first meeting. Also a list of upcoming meeting topics, committee descriptions and a planning timeline. Committee members may want to use these Creek Week Planning blog posts to access planning materials. We can have discussions here and even make decisions between meetings.

Thank you to the Creek Week committee for serving.

Creek Week offers families, clubs, businesses, service organizations and any concerned individuals a chance to volunteer outdoors – to do worthwhile community service, learn and have fun!

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Creek Week 2012 Planning

Creek Week planning committee meetings are the first Thursday morning from 7:30 until 8:30 October through March.  All Planning meetings will be held at 2020 L Street, Suite 400 in the AECOM conference room.

Splash Off on Friday, April 6, 11 to noon.

Clean-Up on Saturday, April 14, 9 until noon.

Celebration on Saturday, April 14, noon until 2:00.


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Volunteers Wanted! If you would like to volunteer for SACC, please post on our blog! Also, if you would like to post a volunteer opportunity related to creeks, environment, green jobs, etc., please post the information on our Creek Peeks Blog under the “Volunteerships” category! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Creek Peeks Blog

Welcome to Sacramento Area Creeks Council Website & Blog! The Sacramento Area Creeks Council preserves, protects, restores and maintains the natural streams in our communities through education, advocacy, financial support and technical expertise.

We’d love to hear from you! Post articles, announcements, commentary, requests, or messages related to creeks or relevant environmental issues on our Creek Peeks Blog.


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The Arcade Creek Project at Mira Loma High School

By Alexandra Johnson

Behind the brick buildings and amidst the uproar of afternoon traffic, the Arcade Creek continues to serve a unique purpose. For nearly a decade now, the Arcade Creek has been the center of a year-round science project for the International Baccalaureate students at Mira Loma High School. The Arcade Creek Project is comprised of eleven distinct studies, which work collaboratively to assess the overall health of the riparian ecosystem and spread the message of environmental preservation. Over 250 students are part of the Arcade Creek Project this year.

Unlike typical school projects, the Arcade Creek Project provides students with an opportunity to study science curriculum through a tactile, hands-on approach. On any given day, countless students can be spotted venturing out towards the urban creek. Students alone are responsible for the extraction of samples, collection of data through observation, and restoration of the creek. All samples and observations are further analyzed during habitual meetings in the Creek Room of our high school.

“I enjoy studying the Arcade Creek because it allows me to take what I learn in the classroom and compare it to what I see in nature. Things like keystone species, invasive species, and seed dispersal mechanisms are a lot easier to comprehend when you see them with your own eyes.” –Marisa Galvez, Senior Restoration Manager

To ensure efficiency and success each year, the Arcade Creek Project has developed a structure encompassing eleven fields of study: Chemistry, Sediments, Biological Assessment, Bio Assay, Outreach, Long Mapping, Habitat, Vertebrates, Restoration, Technology, and Botany. Each group of students specializes in their exclusive study for a period of two scholastic years.

Although the structure remains constant throughout the years, the Arcade Creek Project improves each year. The Biological Assessment study collects and analyzes the aquatic macroinvertebrates found in the Arcade Creek in order to assess its overall health. This year, the Biological Assessment study took samples of the water both before and after the season’s first rain. In their analysis, they hope to determine whether the influx in water and the change in seasonal temperatures will alter the mortality rates of the macroinvertebrates. The Chemistry study is also implementing new techniques in their data collection process. In years past, the study has monitored the levels of Chlorine, Phosphates, Nitrates, and Dissolved Oxygen in the water. At present, the study is incorporating the use of probes to streamline their collection process. The use of these technological advances aims to move the study forward and facilitate the collection of accurate data. Visiting the Arcade Creek each Saturday, the Restoration study has amassed an extensive list of accomplishments this semester. They have removed large portions of Red Sesbania and Himalayan Blackberry, 20 bags of trash, 30 bags of recyclables, and even a rusted trampoline.

With first semester drawing to a close, students at Mira Loma High School are gearing up for the second half of this ongoing endeavor. The Arcade Creek Project has and will continue to be an integral part of our school community. To learn more about our efforts, please visit arcadecreekproject.org.

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Volunteers Clear 18 Tons of Garbage From County Creeks

by Alta Tura


Creek Week Volunteers

April 28th dawned clear, and an estimated 1,400 volunteers
turned out to clean a creek on Clean-Up Day.

Moderate flows in our region's watershed this spring made
the creeks more accessible than last year. Because there
were no extreme high water events in the rainy season, less
debris than usual was washed up on the banks. Even so,
about 18 tons of garbage were removed from creeks in Sacramento,
Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and unincorporated
Sacramento County. Specially trained volunteers also removed
invasive red sesbania plants from 1,000 feet along both sides
of Steelhead Creek near Dry Creek. Thousands of seedlings
were uprooted and an estimated 3 million seeds were disposed.

In addition to the usual tires, shopping carts, and general
garbage, there were items fished out of creeks that mystified
the finders: a bed frame, water heater, bowling ball, fire
extinguisher, fax machine, waffle iron, motorcycle frame,
cage trap, washing machine and public telephones. Our volunteers
suspect that garbage gets in the creeks in a variety of ways.
The big items are illegally dumped; some are stolen property.
Homeless encampments account for much of the garbage. Many
smaller items have been tossed out of car windows or blown out
of trucks and find their way to the creek by way of gutters and
storm drains. Every item has its own untold story.

Many wildlife sightings were reported by creek cleanup volunteers.
Introduced or nuisance species such as opossum, turkeys, peacocks,
pheasants, and mosquitoes were spotted. Creek cleaners saw robins,
raccoons, grey squirrels, garter snakes, jack rabbits, western
fence lizards, and mallards - all native residents. Volunteers
were careful to avoid poison oak, a native plant found in abundance
along many of Sacramento's creeks. Poison oak is one of many native
plants that provide food and cover for urban wildlife. Since ninety
percent of urban wildlife depends on creeks, it is not surprising
that eggs and young were reported by volunteers.

The afternoon Celebration at the Discovery Museum Science Center
gave volunteers the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments.
Great live music, fun activities, barbeque, free museum admission
and earth-friendly exhibits were enjoyed by all. Many were
impressed and inspired by the imaginative Junk & Gunk sculptures
on display.

Thank you to all who helped with the cleanup. You helped us in
our mission to preserve and protect an important urban natural
resource - creeks!

This article originally appeared in our 2007 Summer Newsletter

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Cleaning Steelhead Creek

by Libby Harmor

Steelhead Creek Volunteers

Valley View Acres is a rural neighborhood in North Natomas bordered on two sides by Steelhead Creek and the Ueda Parkway. The east levee of the creek is a front or back fence for many residents. The parkway and creek are used year round for bike riding, horseback riding, dog walking, hiking, jogging, bird watching, fishing and general nature enjoyment. There are others who use the area for car dumping, trash dumping, unwanted pet dumping, drinking and other less desirable activities. The neighbors police the creek on a regular basis and keep an eye out for dumpers.

On April 28th, residents of Valley View Acres were joined by a bus load of Center High School students and other Creek Week volunteers to clean Steelhead Creek. The students working with the Weed Warriors concentrated on the eradication of red sesbania, a pretty but incredibly invasive plant/weed. The other folks spent time pulling trash out of the creek to make it safer for wildlife, horseback riding, fishing, and other recreational use.

Four sites along the creek were manned by volunteers from the neighborhood. Trash was placed in bags and hauled to the top of the levee where city, county or special district employees loaded it into trucks to be hauled to the landfill. The red sesbania trimmings were pulled to the levee top and put in a dumpster. Some of the larger items, like a camper shell, tires and shopping carts were dragged up the levee and left for the dump trucks. Although regretful that muddy banks prevented the hauling out of an engine, volunteers headed for the Celebration at noon, satisfied with the morning effort.

Libby has been a Creek Week volunteer for many years. We thank her for her hard work and leadership on the Steelhead Creek cleanup.

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2007 Newsletter

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Is Your Garden Creek Friendly?

by Betty Cooper

2007 Creek Week Volunteers

It’s a great feeling to see all that trash piled up after a Creek Week Cleanup. But what can we do to help creeks every day, around our own homes? The choices we make in our gardens and home landscaping can contribute to the long-term health of our creeks, even if we don’t happen to live very close to one. That’s because rain and sprinkler water runs drains from our yards into storm drains, carrying many things along with it. The storm drains funnel all that water into creeks and rivers without any processing or filtering, and the runoff contains chemicals and invasive plant seeds that come from our yards. If you are reading this newsletter, you probably already know that you shouldn’t pour anything down the storm drains. You may also know about some of the alternatives to pesticides and herbicides that are safer for the environment. You can get great information about those alternatives at UCDavis Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program and also at City of Sacramento’s Storm Water Pest Control Program. Another solution to creek pollution is to replace large lawn areas and fussy hybrid plants with native plants.

Native plant landscaping is great for the health of creeks because:

  • Native plants are more drought tolerant so less watering is necessary; less watering means less run-off.
  • They have fewer pest problems so pesticides aren’t necessary.
  • They don’t spread invasive seeds that wind up sprouting along the creeks and crowding out natives.
  • They are well-adapted to the area and thrive with little or no additional fertilizing.

You can also find excellent plant choices at nurseries such as Corn Flower Farms or California Gardens. Or visit local native gardens like the one at Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Visit the gardens during different seasons, and watch for native plant sales. The California Native Plant Society is holding a sale on Saturday, September 22nd, 9 a.m – 3 p.m. at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park, Sacramento. Come see some beautiful plants and meet folks who love native plant gardens.

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2007 Newsletter

Posted in Author: Betty Cooper, Creek Info | Comments Off on Is Your Garden Creek Friendly?