Marsh Creek restoration project

Photo Courtesy of Contra Costa County Public Works

A multi-benefit improvement project is underway along Brentwood’s Marsh Creek that’s expected to reduce flood risk, provide additional wildlife habitat and enhance trail users’ experience.

Work is flowing ahead on a multi-faceted improvement project along Brentwood’s Marsh Creek to reduce flood risk, increase wildlife habitat and enhance recreational users’ experience.

Crews working along a nearly 1-mile stretch of the Marsh Creek channel and adjacent areas, from Sungold Park to Dainty Avenue, are expected to dot the area with trees and vegetation aimed at protecting the community and infrastructure from floods. It will also improve habitat and water quality for fish and birds; craft a shady parkway setting comprised of native plants and trees to enhance the Marsh Creek trail-user experience; and add a pedestrian underpass under Central Boulevard.

The Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District — and a host of other funding sources, including federal, state and private grants and $1 million from adjacent housing developer Pulte Homes — will bankroll the bulk of the project’s projected $9 million cost.

“The Three Creeks Project is what we call a ‘multi-benefit project,’” said Paul Detjens, a Contra Costa County senior civil engineer. “It reduces flood risk, provides additional wildlife habitat and enhances the user experience. It’s a win-win.”

Work is currently underway to move dirt in anticipation of future vegetation plating, Detjens said.

It’s envisioned that 4,000 linear feet of Marsh Creek at the confluence of Deer and Sand Creek will eventually be widened with vegetation added.

In all, the 13.5-acre project site will include 2.1 acres of frequently inundated floodplain and 4.4 acres of woody, riparian vegetation, creating quality habitat for Chinook salmon and swainson’s hawk.

It’s expected portions of the project could wrap up by December, with planting spread out over three ensuing winter seasons following an adaptive management plan to maximize planting success, Detjens said.

“This is an exciting step in an important project that will improve wildlife habitat, water quality and flood control,” said District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis. “Once completed, people accessing the Marsh Creek trail will see a landscape that will be even more interesting and interactive.”

The overall project, an extension of the flood control district’s master plan to reduce flood risk to Brentwood residents, began with nonprofit American Rivers’s plans to widen and plant vegetation along about a quarter-mile of Marsh Creek from Sungold Park to Deer Creek.

That project was later merged with the district’s plans to carry out a similar half-mile-long endeavor, from Deer Creek to Dainty Avenue.

“Being able to enjoy, connect with and care for nature in urban areas is more important than ever,” American Rivers representative Amy Merrill said. “Having vibrant, beautiful parks and green space nearby is vital to health, happiness and well-being. This project will restore the creek for all to enjoy and is part of restoring a vital riparian corridor between the eastern flanks of Mount Diablo and the Delta.”

Detjens and Brentwood Parks and Recreation officials hinted that a future pedestrian bridge over Marsh Creek at Sand Creek could be installed, contingent upon future funding.

It’s possible the city could condition the future developer of the large vacant parcel across the creek from the Palmilla community to add the bridge when that area is developed, although nothing has been finalized, according to Brentwood Park Planner Joe Odrzywolski.

For more information on the project, visit