No American should go through life without knowing a river, some river, and the wider the better.

Wallace Stegner, quoted in Sierra

Once you start to think seriously about conservation in cities, it becomes clear there are in fact real opportunities. The most obvious arise from restoring rivers and streams.

Peter Kareiva, chief scientist, The Nature Conservancy

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we restore urban forests, we find solutions to a multitude of urban problems. Wildlife regains critically needed habitat; people find places to reflect and recreate; flood risks and water pollution can be reduced.

Kristen Van Dam, Senior Ecologist, Urban Creeks Council

It's not so much that we are trying to save the beauty and efficacy of the natural world; rather, it saves us.

Gretel Ehrlich, The River and the Road
Urban Creeks Council is a non-profit organization based in the Bay Area, California, working to preserve, protect, and restore urban streams and their riparian habitats.

Urban Creeks Council builds projects and programs that unite communities around their streams. We build places that increase urban aesthetics, restore wildlife habitat, and make urban communities better places to live. We empower communities to restore and protect their streams by employing volunteer power to construct and manage native riparian habitats. Through our programs, we leverage broad and effective partnerships to help cities and other agencies responsibly manage their natural resources.

With our 30-year history of engagement rooted in science, we transform neglected, degraded waterways back into living streams. We help agencies to make better restoration and management decisions through science-based research and help them accomplish resource management goals through on-the-ground fieldwork. Through our Restoration Apprenticeship Program, we introduce young people to restoration, teach them ecological concepts and technical field techniques, and build their leadership skills in concert with our volunteer program.

Urban Creeks Council was founded in 1984 by restorationists seeking to provide an alternative to a planned concrete flood control channel in the North Richmond community. The bid to replace the design with a natural forested two-stage channel was successful- so much so that the Army Corps of Engineers incorporated the project’s logo into their own. Since then, UCC has pioneered the restoration of natural stream channels in cities for the benefit of wildlife habitat, ecosystem function, and human communities. We have built more than two dozen multi-objective restoration and ecosystem enhancement projects, focusing on organizing communities around their creeks and using science to inform ongoing restoration and ecological management.

Our flagship program is Living Arroyos, a multi-agency collaboration focused on enhancing and managing up to 45 miles of riparian habitats in the Livermore-Amador valley, CA. In partnership with the Zone 7 Water Agency, the City of Livermore, and local agencies and businesses, we work to improve the area’s streams using science and volunteer power. Living Arroyos embodies the principles of community-based restoration, multi-objective benefits, and ongoing management and monitoring to preserve and improve urban riparian habitats.