Giving Natives a Chance

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ICYMI - December 2019 - Giving Natives a Chance Planting Event celebrated its 7th anniversary!

The Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District together with The Restoration Trust had 50+ volunteers at the 7th annual Giving Natives a Chance planting event Saturday, December 7.

This annual event focuses on returning native plants to local creeks and flood control channels. Efforts have been focused on the Clayton Valley Drain off Solano Way in Concord, which drains to the Walnut Creek Channel, Carquinez Strait, and then to the Pacific Ocean.

This year’s work included planting 5,000 native creeping wild rye grass plugs on the south creek bank, pulling invasive weeds, and removing a pick up truck’s load of garbage out of the creek. Prior to our first event in 2013 and the restoration work, the site had less than 5% native cover. Native cover is now at 54% and is likely to continue to increase as the native vegetation grows and expands.

Tim Jensen, Flood Control’s Division Head, welcomed the volunteers and thanked them for all of their efforts on behalf of the District. John Zentner of The Restoration Trust, explained the importance of these plants in our ecosystem, the function that each species would perform in the channel, and trained the volunteers on the proper planting technique. Former City of Concord Mayor and current City of Concord Councilmember Carlyn Obringer, also worked alongside volunteers and thanked them all for their efforts.

Past events have including planting the creek with Santa Barbara sedge, Baltic rush, and creeping wild rye. Each species has different environmental needs and has beneficial effects on separate parts of the channel. These species are native grasses or sedges that provide erosion control, fire suppression, and are compatible with flood control objectives. They spread from underground rhizomes that anchor the soil and are all perennial species, meaning they stay green all year. They do not have woody stems, so during floods, they lay down on the slope, which does not impede the flow of water during high-flow events. These species also provide carbon sequestration, unlike non-native annuals, and remove as much as 500,000 gC/acre a year or about ½ ton of Carbon per acre per year. 

The District would like to thank all the volunteers for their support including the City of Concord, County Public Works Department staff, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Pleasant Hill Boy Scout Troop 239, Outside The Box 925 and EarthTeam for bringing students from Antioch High School, Pinole Valley High School, and Pittsburg High School, our partners at The Restoration Trust, and many other community members who were generous enough to donate their time.

                                                                  Giving Natives a Chance by the Numbers


Native Grass Plugs Planted
                       2019                               52                                  5,000
                       2018                               50                                  5,000

Please contact Michelle Cordis at (925) 313- 2381 or by e-mail here with any questions or comments.