The CCRCD has created a blog page to share latest projects, news, insights, and other informative and interesting facts and events concerning the conservation of resources in Contra Costa County. Click here to see more about our Watersheds.
A watershed can be small, such as a modest inland lake or a single county. Conversely, some watersheds encompass thousands of square miles and may contain streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and underlying groundwater that are hundreds of miles inland. The largest watershed in the United States is the Mississippi River Watershed, which drains 1.15 million square miles from all or parts of 31 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces stretching from the Rockies to the Appalachians!
Water from hundreds, and often thousands, of creeks and streams flow from higher ground to rivers that eventually wind up in a larger waterbody. As the water flows, it often picks up pollutants, which may have sinister effects on the ecology of the watershed and, ultimately, on the reservoir, bay, or ocean where it ends up. Not all water flows directly to the sea, however. When rain falls on dry ground, it can soak into, or infiltrate, the ground. This groundwater remains in the soil, where it will eventually seep into the nearest stream. Some water infiltrates much deeper, into underground reservoirs called aquifers.
Find out which watershed you live in with the Contra Costa County Watershed Atlas. You may also download the 152 page CCC Watershed Atlas PDF (141MB) here.
"The Alhambra Creek Watershed covers approximately 16.5 square miles in north central Contra Costa County in Northern California and encompasses a portion of the City of Martinez. Its upper portions are wooded/grassy ridges and slopes, which collect runoff for threemain stem streams. The combined branches flow through valleys containing open space, wildlife habitat, residential and commercial areas, through downtown Martinez and then discharge into the Carquinez Straits through a tidal wetland." (Alhambra Creek Watershed Management Plan, Alhambra Creek Watershed Planning Group, April 2001, p. 24).
The Alhambra Creek Watershed Planning Group has evolved into the Alhambra Watershed Council of today.
Our goal is to understand and assess water-related issues and challenges at the neighborhood level, from the community’s perspective. (Information is available in English and Spanish)
The Carquinez Strait is a narrow tidal strait in northern California.
Marsh Creek watershed is the second largest watershed in Contra Costa County. It originates on the eastern slope of Mt. Diablo and flows 30 miles through the rapidly growing communities of Brentwood, Oakley, and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The Peyton Slough watershed is composed of urban Peyton Creek and some minor tributaries, managed runoff from the Shell Oil Refinery, urban runoff, as well as drainage from portions of I-680.
The Pinole Creek Watershed covers approximately 15 square miles in the north-west part of Contra Costa County.
The Rodeo Creek Watershed is located in Western Contra Costa County. Interstate 80 and Highway 4 pass through the watershed. The Cities of Hercules and Pinole are directly to the south and the community of Crockett is to the north.
The Walnut Creek Watershed is the largest watershed in Contra Costa County totaling 146 square miles, or 96,000 acres, in size. The Walnut Creek Watershed has 309 miles of creek channels accounting for almost a quarter of all mapped creek channels in Contra Costa County. The watershed extends from San Ramon to the south, Martinez to the north, Moraga and Orinda to the west, and Concord to the east.
Skills: Watershed management and coordination, grant writing, fundraising, events.
Fun Fact: Owns a marina, small urban farm, and a Scottish Highlander cattle ranch in the Delta. Loves music and silly hats!
Heidi Petty has been with the CCRCD since 2007. Her current position is Watershed Program Manager and Fundraising Coordinator, focusing on the Contra Costa side of the Carquinez Strait shoreline. In 1999, Heidi started a small bonsai and custom saltwater reef tank business named ‘Through the Looking Glass: A Living Art Studio’ in Crockett, CA, where she got an in-depth understanding of saltwater filtration and hydrology. Heidi has held numerous community leadership positions in the Crockett, Port Costa, and Rodeo area, including President of the local Chamber of Commerce and Board Member on the Crockett Community Services District. Her entrepreneurialism and government service background makes her a valuable asset to the RCD as a special government district.
She now lives on the river in Oakley, CA, and owns a marina and small urban farm as well as a 28-acre Highlander Cattle Ranch in the SF Delta. She is excited to expand her work by partnering with the technology industry to create innovative ways to help the environment through long-term partnerships and connecting tech to her restoration work.
Skills: Horticulture, CA native plants, invasive plant management, pollinators, environmental education, project management, grant writing
Fun Fact: Enjoys birding, photography, knitting, flower arranging, and traveling
Lisa serves as Watershed Conservation Manager for the Walnut Creek Watershed, she facilitates the Contra Costa Watershed Forum, and she leads the CCRCD’s Monarch Conservation Program. She joined the CCRCD’s staff in January 2019. She has worked on a range of projects to conserve Contra Costa County's watersheds and biodiversity including native plant establishment, pollinator habitat establishment, invasive plant management, environmental education programming, and creek restoration.
Lisa is from Los Angeles and has a BA with Honors in English from the University of California at Berkeley. She earned a Professional Sequence in Editing certificate from UC Berkeley Extension and worked in publishing for 10 years, primarily editing educational materials including science textbooks and curricula.
Her passion for nature led her back to school to study horticulture at Diablo Valley College where she earned a Nursery Technician certificate. She likes hiking with friends and family, eating chocolate, watching baseball, and creating beautiful things.
Skills: Public programming, education, interdisciplinary projects, facilitation, administration, intertidal and nearshore ecosystems.
Fun Fact: Often taking a class at the public art center.
Lydia Grew up in Contra Costa County and studied Environmental Studies and Studio Arts at Whitman College.
Her previous experience includes work with Indigenous issues in the East Bay, environmental education, and programmatic work in ecological agriculture, the intertidal zone and fisheries in Maine. She has taught preschool through undergraduate level students and has organized events like the California Indian Arts and Culture Festival, the Seaweed Symposium and the Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend.
With the CCRCD, Lydia supports community-led watershed initiatives and facilitates network collaboration and public engagement through the Watershed Symposium and Shoreline Festival. She is glad to work in her home watershed and is involved with community art centers.
Skills: Environmental education, community engagement, research processes, insect identification, report writing.
Fun Fact: Victoria competes in triathlons and will hike or bike up any hill/mountain she can get her feet or wheels on. She summited Haleakalā in Maui, HI on bike in the summer of 2021. Her next challenge is pending. Victoria also loves to cook and create random dishes from available seasonal produce.
Victoria (she/her) is from Orange County, CA. She graduated in 2021 from University of California, Davis with a BS in Environmental Science and Management with an emphasis in Natural Resource Management and a minor in Insect Biology. She participated in a research lab at UC Davis exploring the impacts of human development on insect/plant relationships over time. Following this, she worked as an environmental consultant to identify and resolve soil and/or groundwater contamination to protect water resources throughout the Bay Area.
Victoria grew up helping her dad weed and tend to his extensive vegetable and fruit tree garden and spent many family vacations camping in various national parks. Victoria considers herself very lucky to have grown up with access and connections to the outdoors and wildlife. She understands the importance of access to healthy, natural places for individual and community wellbeing. Victoria is excited to work with CCRCD and partners to help achieve more safe, accessible, sustainable, and functional natural areas regardless of community wealth, race, or composition.