San Pablo, the “City of New Directions,” is taking a new direction with the help of The Watershed Project. In 2012, San Pablo implemented a variety of green initiative projects at Wanlass Park, a 3.5 acre piece of land located along Rheem Creek. The Watershed Project is helping restore Wanlass Park’s creek beds so that San Pabloans have a peaceful and sustainable space to spend time outside!
With the help of the local community, we are adding native plants to the creek bank, to improve the appearance of the area as well as stabilize the soil and offer better homes for local critters, including our beloved birds and bees. This revitalized riparian corridor will both cool down and green up the park, as well as make a little less work for the city maintenance team. Most importantly, through this restoration project, San Pabloans are able to get their hands dirty and gain the understanding that a healthier watershed can also create a healthier and happier community. As more residents appreciate the natural beauty we can create in the midst of urban areas, fewer will view creeks as dumping grounds.
At The Watershed Project we want this newfound appreciation for creeks to go beyond adult volunteers. That’s why, as part of this project, we are partnering with local schools. We would like to offer our tried and true 8-week after school program, Riparian Lab, to surrounding elementary schools. Riparian Lab students will get to explore the restored Rheem Creek at Wanlass Park during educational field trips. This month, a group of students from Contra Costa College and the biology club from Middle College High School are heading over to the park to weed overgrown patches of invasive plants, plant additional natives, and spread mulch to reduce weeds.
Other groups are helping as well. A group of Chevron volunteers participating in the Week of Caring will be installing benches on September 19th. We have received funding for the project from the San Pablo Community Foundation and the San Francisco Estuary Partnership.
If you are interested in learning more about your local environment, and want to help The Watershed Project and the community of San Pablo restore Rheem Creek, come join us for some planting fun by emailing Martha Berthelsen. With your help, Wanlass Park can become a clean, open space that raises environmental awareness, as well as, providing the community with a peaceful and attractive place to kick back and relax.