The nonprofit organization Save Mount Diablo just preserved its most recent creek parcel, Marsh Creek 7 near Brentwood. The pace of creek preservation is increasing – the organization has announced purchase of two other creek parcels in the past six months: Marsh Creek 5 and 6, two mini volcanic domes. The organization has preserved more than a mile of Marsh Creek on such properties in just the past few years – a strategy that Save Mount Diablo says will not only protect a critical resource and wildlife corridor but will save millions of dollars.
Marsh Creek 7 is adjacent to another 9-acre property owned by Save Mount Diablo, Marsh Creek 1. The new property protects the neighboring 460-foot section of the creek, tripling the length of the protected area. Marsh Creek is one of the Diablo wilderness’ most important features, defining and connecting the area east of Diablo, the second longest, least disturbed creek in the county and one of its most important wildlife corridors. A new state park, the former Cowell Ranch two miles downstream, has been named Marsh Creek State Park partly out of respect for the creek’s integral role for Mount Diablo’s wildlife.
The park’s new name and focus will help Save Mount Diablo’s program to protect segments of Marsh Creek upstream. Water is one of the rarest resources in dry California and most wildlife visit water every day. In total, 8.5 miles of the creek have been preserved upstream of Brentwood, including 1.2 miles of creek on property preserved by Save Mount Diablo.
Stream preservation and restoration is becoming increasingly widespread for a host of reasons, from resource protection to fish migration. However, stream restoration projects around the Bay Area can cost millions of dollars even for short segments of creeks. “We bought 10 creek parcels averaging 650 feet of creek for an average purchase price of $300,000,” said Land Programs director Seth Adams. According to Save Mount Diablo, short stream restoration projects elsewhere in the Bay Area cost millions of dollars. According to Ron Brown, the organization’s executive director, “By protecting creeks instead of letting them be destroyed, we’re saving tens of millions of dollars.”
Marsh Creek 1 and 7 stretch from Marsh Creek Road across the toe of a rocky blue-oak wooded ridge into the grassland valley to the west that connects to Round Valley Regional Preserve. Several years ago Save Mount Diablo volunteers built a small loop trail on Marsh Creek 1 but it is somewhat steep. The new property will allow a realignment and expansion of part of the trail.
Save Mount Diablo purchased vacant Marsh Creek 1 in 2007, hoping that the neighboring parcel would become available. Now the owner has sold Save Mount Diablo the neighboring 7.6 acres, including a home, for $550,000. The owner is pleased to preserve the property while continuing to live in the house for the next several years.
“Although more than eight miles of Marsh Creek have been protected, many more still need to be preserved for habitat and wildlife corridors,” said Julie Seelen, Save Mount Diablo’s Advancement director. “We wouldn’t be able to be proactive and increase conservation without the support of our generous donors and volunteers.” To learn about opportunities to get involved with Save Mount Diablo, visit www.savemountdiablo.org.
First Tours of Marsh Creek 7
Tours of Marsh Creek 7 will take place Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 8. Each tour is less than a mile in length. Look forward to beautiful sections of Marsh Creek, and one short climb to spectacular views. Space is limited and RSVP is required. Visit www.savemountdiablo.org for more details.
Save Mount Diablo is a nonprofit 501©(3) conservation organization that has been preserving lands on and around Mount Diablo and educating the public to the mountain’s natural values since 1971. Preserved lands have increased from 6,788 acres in one park to more than 100,000 acres in 40 parks and preserves. Save Mount Diablo continues to preserve, defend and restore the remainder of the mountain for people and wildlife to enjoy. Contact Save Mount Diablo by phone at 925-947-3535; by fax at 925-947-0642; by mail at 1901 Olympic Blvd., Suite 320, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; or visit www.savemountdiablo.org.