Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project
Lower Walnut Creek, 3 miles east of the City of Martinez, Contra Costa County, East Bay Region
Vital Fish, Bird and Wildlife Habitat Program; Integrated Flood Protection Program; and Shoreline Public Access Program.
2023 UPDATE: This year focused on plant establishment, managing and adjusting the irrigation system, inspecting and caring for the plants, removing invasive species and weeds, and generally establishing 31,100 plants. In December 2023, the project was awarded a $3,000,000 augmentation to fund the public access portion of the project - an extensive network of trails and associated amenities, offering wildlife-compatible recreation and broad views of the restored wetland habitats, Suisun Bay, and Mount Diablo. Planned public access amenities and trails include four miles of trails, bridges, boardwalks, water access points, a parking area, and an interpretive/ education center.
2022 UPDATE: The grantee restored tidal influence to the North Reach of the project by breaching the levee separating the site from the bay in October 2021. The project had a robust construction season with some of the final portions of the restoration phase of construction wrapping up at the end of March 2022. The later part of the construction efforts focused on the installation of some of the 31,100 native plants and the supporting irrigation system.
This project will construct two critical components of the wider Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project: the North and South reaches. It will restore and enhance brackish tidal wetlands and adjacent uplands along the southern shore of Suisun Bay, Walnut Creek and Pacheco Creek in Contra Costa County.
The project will improve habitat quality, diversity, and connectivity along 3.2 miles of creek channel (up to 279 acres). Public trails and associated amenities will offer visitors opportunities for wildlife-compatible recreation, environmental educational and broad vistas of the project area, Suisun Bay and Mount Diablo.
In the South reach, the restoration will be accomplished by breaching and lowering levees to reintroduce the tides to diked former baylands, excavating tidal channels, and constructing a new setback levee for flood protection. The sides of the setback levee will be gently sloped to support a wide marsh to upland transition.
In the North Reach, restoration will be accomplished by breaching and lowering berms, excavating to create new tidal wetlands and channels, and grading existing upland areas to create a diverse landscape of lowland terrestrial habitats, including seasonal wetlands, and uplands integrated with the tidal wetlands.