It’s been a long five years of for the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed (FOMWC) who have been waiting to break ground on their restoration project that will restore 1,000 feet of Marsh Creek behind Creekside Park. The wait is over a small ground breaking occurred on Thursday afternoon with construction set to begin on Monday.
The $1,067,550 grant award will restore 1,000 feet of Marsh Creek by providing plant shade trees, construct a creek side natural trail, and build a pedestrian bridge to link Marsh Creek Regional Trail and Creekside Park.
Diane Burgis, FOMCW executive director, was excited that the project was breaking ground and can’t wait to watch it progress over the next few months.
“This project is important to the watershed and to the City of Oakley for several reasons. It restores a portion of the creek to support an ecosystem that is not supported right now because there are no plants or trees along the creek,” explained Burgis. “50 years ago the flood district modified creek and turned it into a canal in order to make it more efficient at conveying the water through the area. At a consequence, all the trees and plants that were native wildlife was removed. This project serves as an example as to what the rest of the creek could look like.”
Five years ago, Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed with National Heritage Institute wrote the grant on behalf of the City of Oakley—the city council had to approve the proposal. After some initial resistance, the city has worked hard and made a big effort to make this happen once the council approved the grant.
There are also economic benefits to these types of restoration projects.
“We are also trying to protect the community from flooding threats. There are studies that say that open spaces and landscaping and parks help improve the value of homes and experience of living in that area. So hopefully we are going to increase the value of homes by doing this type of work,” said Burgis.
Ultimately, Burgis believes that if people can get it out of their mind that this is not a canal, but rather a creek, the people will be more likely to support more restoration projects in the future because of the community benefits it will provide in the end.
“We are really excited to get started and I feel like it’s the beginning of other restoration projects because it can be the example of what can be accomplished as we learn new things. We can use that to our advantage in other projects,” said Burgis.
This project that brought together the City of Oakley, the Contra Costa Flood Control District, East Bay Regional Park District, Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and the Natural Heritage Institute.
Other groups are watching this project and using this as a template. By getting this funding and accomplishing this project, it makes Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed more attractive on future projects because they will have the experience under their belt.
This is a very positive project that will bring a lot of nice publicity to Oakley. Kudos to all involved!
For more information on Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, visit http://fomcw.org/