Giving Natives a Chance

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ICYMI - December 2018 - Giving Natives a Chance Planting Event celebrates its 6th anniversary!

The Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District together with The Restoration Trust had 50 volunteers at the 6th annual Giving Natives a Chance planting event Saturday, December 8.

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 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 2013and the restoration work, the site had less than 5% native cover. Native cover is now at 45% and is likely to continue to increase as the native vegetation grows and expands.

Mike Carlson, Flood Control's Deputy Director, 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. Newly sworn in City of Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer worked alongside other volunteers.

The creek was planted 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 County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff and her staff, City of Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer and her staff, County Public Works Department staff, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Pleasant Hill Boy Scout Troop 239, Northgate High School students, Clayton Valley Charter High School students, and the many other community members who donated their time to this successful event.

                                Giving Natives a Chance by the Numbers


Native Grass Plugs Planted
                   2018                      50                           5,000