The North Richmond Watershed Connections (NRWC) project will implement a suite of urban greening projects in streets, parks, creek trails, and urban farm to enhance the health of San Pablo and Wildcat Creeks and their respective watersheds, while improving North Richmond residents’ much-needed access to local natural resources. The Watershed Project is collaborating with Urban Tilth and Contra Costa County’s Transportation Engineering and Watershed Programs.
The Watershed Project’s role in the project includes:
- Walkable Watersheds Route: Working with residents and Tribal partners to create wayfinding markers, street artwork, and interpretive elements along the Watershed Connections route to enhance the sense of place in the neighborhood and the quality of neighborhood access and walkability.
- Adopt-a-Tree Program: Involving local residents in planting close to 40 trees in the neighborhood, mostly in front yards.
The North Richmond Watershed Connections Project is funded by the California State Coastal Conservancy.
Clean & Green Adopt-a-Tree Program and the Walkable Watershed Updates | Contra Costa County, CA Official Website
Watershed Connection Routes, January 2023
A 1.75-mile loop walking trail, connecting Verde School with Shields Reid Park along Giaramita St. and Fred Jackson Way, has been designed. This route can be extended by walking along the Wildcat Creek Trail to the fish passage beneath the railway tracks. Other connections are to bicycle routes.
We are working to create elements that will establish the pedestrian and Bicycle routes, and attract residence participation:
- Interpretive signs for the bicycle route, identifying the current location and options for additional nearby destinations and connections to other bike paths.
- Interpretive signs for the walkable route, identifying the current locations and progress along the path.
- Information on local points of interest along the routes, and watershed/environmental education that will include unique artwork.
- Interviews with Tribal representatives and local residents highlighting natural assets and climate resilience.
- Interpretive signage and activities for students, as part of the Safe Route to School program.
- Printable and GIS versions of the map and interpretive signage.
Halloween, October 2022
The Watershed Project partnered with Urban Tilth and hosted a Halloween event for the Verde School students. We connected with the children outdoors to enhance their relationship with the creek and the natural environment next to their school, and experience walking along the creek trail. Booths and tables included fun activities focused on watershed education, including a cleanup activity.
Earth Day, April 23, 2022
At an Earth Day event, on April 23, 2022, TWP collaborated with volunteers, County staff, and other partners to kick off the “Walkable Watersheds” route, which includes coordination with the Contra Costa Health Services’ “Safe Routes to School” program. The goal was to designate and beautify the safest route to Verde School along Giaramita Street, between this K-8 School, which is adjacent to Wildcat Creek, and the Shields Reid Community Center, along with Chesley Street that runs alongside it. This event was preceded by a Street Cleanup on Friday, April 22 to clean the sidewalks, pick up trash, remove weeds, and provide information to the residents of Giaramita Street about the Safe Routes to School event.
More than 40 volunteers and residents, including children, along with staff from Supervisor Gioia’s Office, TWP, Contra Costa County Public Works Department, Richmond Land, Contra Costa Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Office, and the County Health Services Department participated in the Earth Day event. The event was dubbed “Paint Day” for painting stencils of bubbling water and making chalk drawings on the west-side sidewalk of Giaramita to animate the “Safe Route to School” and Walkable Watersheds route. In addition, TWP has commissioned a local artist to further beautify the route with imagery that evokes the life of Wildcat Creek. Additional days will be scheduled to complete the Safe Route to School and Walkable Watersheds route, which includes 13 blocks of the North Richmond community. (See project map above.)
TWP would like to acknowledge the State Coastal Conservancy for the grant funding under Prop 1 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant that make this project possible.