About Us

The San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition arose from a convergence of concerns about San Pedro Creek by a wide array of citizens. Flooding and related bank erosion initially dominated the community’s awareness of the stream, but the spread of non-native invasive species such as Cape Ivy and giant reed have also drawn the attention of park volunteers and naturalists. Water pollution is also a growing concern. In 1996, independent water quality testing conducted by the Pedro Point Surf Club revealed elevated levels of total coliform bacteria, especially at the creek’s outlet at Pacifica State Beach. In October 1999, the EPA closed one mile of Pacifica State Beach for 44 days due to elevated levels of Enterococcus and coliform bacteria. The San Mateo County Health Department continues to post the creek mouth as unsafe for human use.

The San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition seeks to involve the watershed’s 10,000 residents in restoration projects and to educate them about Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to prevent storm water quality problems. We have organized work parties to remove non-native invasive species and replant/restore native vegetation. We have held bioengineering workshops for community members and civic employees. We have organized creek clean-ups and worked with city and county park officials in San Pedro Valley County Park to replace an existing culvert (steelhead barrier) with a freestanding bridge to allow passage for migrating steelhead.

Through scientific assessment of the creek, we have also worked to provide the community of Pacifica with valuable information about the San Pedro Creek Watershed. Since 1999, we have conducted systematic assessments of the historic and current physical, chemical and biological conditions of the San Pedro Creek Watershed. We have undertaken assessments of the creek’s hydrology, geomorphology, land use patterns, vegetation, fishery and fish habitat, and water quality. Pacifica residents, community leaders and city officials can use this information to help restore and maintain the health of San Pedro Creek.


Goals and Objectives

  1. To develop and implement an historic and current assessment of the physical, chemical and biological conditions of the SPCW.
  2. To restore the geomorphic function, native flora and fauna, and water quality to the maximum extent possible.
  3. To promote awareness of critical watershed issues through an ongoing program of education and community involvement.
  4. To maintain the watershed ecosystem through a continuing program of monitoring and adaptive management.
  5. To improve communication and working relationships with local, state and federal resource and regulatory agencies, community organizations and civic leaders, in order to promote and facilitate watershed protective measures.

1. Assessment

  • Stream Channels and Watershed (Geomorphology and Hydrology): Assess the conditions of the stream bed and banks along San Pedro Creek: rates of channel erosion and incision; hydrologic and channel response to major precipitation/runoff events; and a detailed physical mapping of the creek, noting the location of such features as eroding banks, pipe and storm drain outlets, revetments, pool and riffle habitats, and grade control structures.
  • Biology and Ecology: Assess the extent and health of existing riparian and upland vegetation communities, and associated habitats for aquatic animals. Survey the extent of native and non-native species and communities, especially the extent of non-native invasives.
  • Water Quality: 1.) isolate known and suspected sources of pollution in the watershed which include confined animal facilities, landfills, street and commercial runoff, sewage leaks and illegal discharges; 2.) determine if water quality has the potential of limiting existing steelhead and red-legged frog populations, and other aquatic life; 3.) develop data necessary to educate and work with the public to implement the best management plan to reduce pollutant loads in the creek.

2. Restoration

  • Restore the geomorphic structure -- the banks, channel and associated wetlands – to better support native habitat.
  • Restore the ecological structure and functions of the watershed.
  • Restore native vegetation along the channel and banks, in associated wetlands, and elsewhere in the watershed, where feasible.
  • Restore populations of native fauna in the watershed; in particular, restore the steelhead fishery of San Pedro Creek. Repair or replace fish ladders where no other solution exists (Capistrano, Sanchez Creek).
  • Restore favorable water quality by controlling turbidity, waste disposal and the discharge of harmful substances in the watershed.

3. Education & Outreach

  • Promote awareness of watershed stewardship through stewardship workshops and activities.
  • Work with local landowners and agency representatives to formulate and implement best management practices for site development, waste disposal and bank stabilization.
  • Support the development of watershed educational materials and curricula for local schools; involve students and teachers in restoration efforts.
  • Provide a permanent resource center for the watershed that will provide information and assistance to property owners and others seeking to take actions that might affect the watershed.

4. Maintenance

  • Maintain the watershed ecosystem by providing a continuing program of water, plant and animal assessment, creek bank erosion control, eradication of non-native species, and litter removal.
  • Provide for adaptive management and monitoring to respond effectively to the evolving problems of the watershed.

5. Policy and Community Relations

  • Work with government agencies to formulate ordinances to protect the Creek and watershed (e.g. establish fines for polluters, ensure that new development in the watershed is done in a manner that is sensitive to the impacts of that development to the watershed).
  • Collaborate with regulatory agencies and civic leaders to facilitate the protection of the creek.

Copyright © 2002 San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition. All Rights Reserved.
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