Throughout Alameda Creek’s 640-square-mile watershed dozens of wet spots have been drained, dams built, creeks buried, and channels reshaped. “The watershed is huge and complex, and all these changes, compounded over time, have left us with a long and arduous path to getting it to function more naturally again. We’re going to need the full cooperation of every partner to reach our goals,” says Carol Mahoney, a planner for Zone 7 Water Agency out in Livermore.
The creek is the biggest tributary to San Francisco Bay that isn’t fed by snowmelt. Right now numerous entities are planning extensive and expensive changes to improve the creek’s hydrology and ecology. The biggest ticket items may be billed to Alameda County coffers – but other state, regional, and local agencies are on the hook too. Many of these efforts, if properly strung together, could make Alameda Creek a state-of-the-art example of watershed restoration in much-altered systems.
Indeed the creek may be the first Bay-Area test case of the federal government’s next generation policies concerning the alteration of the nation’s flood control infrastructure, and of a local county’s struggles to put this new mindset into practice.”