Formed in 1996, the Friends of Sausal Creek is a group of community members protecting Sausal Creek at a grassroots level.
To promote awareness and appreciation of the Sausal Creek watershed, and to inspire action to preserve and protect the creek and its watershed as both a natural and a community resource.
The Sausal Creek Watershed encompasses 2,656 acres in Oakland, California. The headwaters of Sausal Creek arise in the Oakland Hills and the creek flows through the city, discharging into the tidal canal that separates the island of Alameda from Oakland; the creek ultimately flows into San Francisco Bay. For approximately half its length, Sausal Creek forms a lush, seemingly natural riparian corridor, unique in this highly urbanized area. For the remainder of its length the creek is mostly culverted or channelized. Although approximately twenty percent of the watershed remains as open space, the watershed is an urban one, ranging from low-density residential development in the hills to a dense mix of commercial and residential uses in the lower reaches of the watershed. The watershed is home to approximately 27,000 residents of diverse backgrounds and cultures--African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.
The watershed is also home to a diverse assemblage of plants and animals. Recent surveys have catalogued over 250 plant species and nearly 80 bird species inhabiting the riparian corridor and uplands. However, this ecosystem has been altered over time and its present condition bears little resemblance to that of the past. Terrestrial and aquatic systems that were once integrated are now dissociated and fragmented by human activities such as logging, urbanization, and fire suppression. Consequences of these human activities include the alteration of the geomorphic processes that shape Sausal Creek; changes in plant communities and the process of plant succession; and an overall loss of biodiversity.
Not only has the watershed's urbanization resulted in habitat loss, but the watershed's native diversity has been replaced, in many areas, by exotic species--Algerian and cape ivy displace native gooseberry and wild rose in the riparian corridor; eucalyptus and Monterey pine now grow where productive grasslan