Restoring natural function to the urban landscape by building green infrastructure with volunteers of all ages.
We help communities plan and implement strategies such as bioswales, rain gardens and low-impact design projects that protect local watersheds from the pollution generated by modern life. These collaborative efforts help ensure the free flow of local creeks, reduce urban runoff, promote the spread of native plants and improve the natural beauty and biodiversity of our urban watersheds.
Rain Gardens & Bioswales
Rain Gardens and Bioswales are examples of green infrastructure, also called Low Impact Design, and use natural functions to capture and filter stormwater. Rain gardens and bioswales tackle the issue of pollution in waterways due to urban runoff by absorbing 30% more stormwater into the ground than a conventional lawn and reduce 70% of surface water pollution that originates from stormwater runoff. Learn more about rain gardens and bioswales.
With community input and volunteer assistance, The Watershed Project constructs bioswales and rain gardens across Richmond and San Pablo, including a network of 14 bioswales and rain gardens along the Richmond Greenway. Join our dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers every Second Saturday on the Greenway to plant and maintain these projects!
Rainwater harvesting in cities can produce benefits that extend beyond water conservation. When rainwater harvesting systems are installed in public places, they serve as demonstrations of green infrastructure and offer examples of solutions to our environmental challenges. That’s why The Watershed Project works with schools and local municipalities to develop programming and opportunities to harvest the rain.
Learn more about how Rainwater Harvesting can capture rain in a garden!
Natural creeks flowing through parks, past businesses, and behind homes are a wonderful but sometimes under-appreciated asset in our urban areas. The Watershed Project’s Creek Stewardship programs engage local communities, including students, to protect and enhance creeks and the adjacent vegetation – the riparian corridor. Our multiple goals are ambitious, but we are achieving them with community volunteer and service learning activities.
Our current focus is Rheem Creek adjacent to the Rollingwood neighborhood, upstream of Contra Costa College. We also work with the City of Richmond on Baxter Creek. Past creek projects have included Wanlass Park in San Pablo, CA and parks along Wildcat Creek near San Pablo City Hall and 23rd Street in downtown San Pablo. Future projects are planned in San Pablo along San Pablo and Wildcat Creeks.
The Watershed Project has been instrumental in fostering creek stewardship on a large scale throughout the East Bay. Our community stewardship grants, technical assistance, and capacity building programs has fostered the start up and growth of many Bay Area creek groups, including SPAWNERS, Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed, Friends of Baxter Creek, Friends of Sausal Creek, and Friends of San Leandro Creek.
Trees in urban areas have multiple benefits for human health, the environment, and improve quality of life in neighborhoods. They improve air and water quality, provide shade and reduce temperatures in cities, and increase property values. They also provide a means to bring residents together to improve their communities, and offer job training and employment to local youth.
Since 2012, in collaboration with other nonprofits including Groundwork Richmond, Pogo Park, and Richmond Trees and with funding from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the City of Richmond, The Watershed Project has planted over 350 trees in the Coronado, Santa Fe, Booker T, and North Richmond Neighborhoods.
Habitat gardens bring the color, motion, and excitement of local wildlife species such as birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other beneficial insects into the urban environment. We have created, and helped to create, several habitat gardens using drought tolerant California native plants in Bay Area public parks, and through our Wildlife Gardening classes, have inspired and enabled hundreds of residents to create their own habitat gardens.
Water Friendly Plant List – Our favorites for East Bay landscapes, with a handy chart of color, size, growing conditions, and as a bonus, most attract birds and butterflies.
Low Water Gardening Resources – Where to find plants, water-conserving irrigation supplies, and additional information.
Rainwater Harvesting – You can catch your own rain to use in your garden, and help our creeks at the same time by reducing peak flows.
Sheet Mulching Basics – A low cost and environmentally friendly way to convert a lawn or other high water landscape.
Native Plants of the Wildcat & San Pablo Creek Watersheds – A guide to native plants found the Wildcat and San Pablo Creek Watersheds that are well adapted to our local climate and can be used in your backyard.
Living with Creeks – Practical tips and advice on how to live in harmony with a creek flowing through your property.
Hope Gardens Brochure – A virtual tour of curbside gardens in North Richmond