The last time environmental groups came before the Oakley City Council to suggest opening up and expanding the Marsh Creek side of the still-under -construction Creekside Park on Laurel Road, the already stretched-thin council told representatives from the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and the Natural Heritage Institute (NHI) that if they could figure out how to secure funding for the project, they could count them in.
And so, in an unprecedented collaboration between the city of Oakley, Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Friends of Marsh Creek and the NHI, the groups have done just that, to the tune of more than $1 million, thanks to a grant approved through the California River Parkways Program, and Prop. 50 (the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act).
I am absolutely ecstatic, said Councilman Kevin Romick, an original supporter of the plan. This is just an excellent opportunity to create a creekside environment in a creekside park. I couldn't be happier.
The grant will provide for the restoration of more than 1,000 feet of Marsh Creek, the building of a pedestrian bridge linking the Marsh Creek Regional Trail to Creekside Park, the planting of shade trees and the construction of a creekside nature trail. The dollars will also allow for the excavating of the Marsh Creek Channel owned and operated by the flood control district which will create sufficient room to plant shade trees along the creek while providing a channel for flood waters.
This project supports flood control's long-range vision of converting traditional flood control channels into more natural systems, said Mitch Avalon, deputy director of the flood control district, in a recent press release. This project is a great partnership that will improve the riparian habitat and still provide flood protection for the City of Oakley.
Oakley resident Diane Burgis, coordinator for the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, said the funding will help improve the habitats of fish and wildlife while improving the water quality of the area and providing a beautiful place for residents to enjoy the creek.
Marsh Creek is an important natural resource that runs right through Oakley, said Burgis recently. The creek is home to salmon, river otters, turtles, frogs and numerous birds.
Sarah Puckett of the NHI believes that the collaborative efforts of all the agencies involved went far to help secure the grant and subsequent funding.
The project would not have happened without the leadership and vision of Oakley Councilman Kevin Romick and the hard work of city staff led by City Manager Bryan Montgomery, said Puckett.
For his part, Montgomery is just pleased the residents of Oakley will be the recipients of a successful partnership and generous grant. These dollars will provide the funds to make the new Creekside Park an even nicer amenity. The natural connection to the creek will be something everyone can enjoy for generations to come, he said. It will be a wonderful addition to the park, and to the city of Oakley.