Will Sebastopol Creeks See the Light of Day?

As part of our Urban Forestry Program, Forest Unlimited organized citizens interested in improving and “daylighting” Sebastopol’s two urban creeks, Calder and Zempher. Calder Creek is their first project.

Calder Creek runs through Ives Park. At the edge of the park Calder enters the dark confinement of two large underground pipes laid beneath three parking lots and Highway 116. It finally escapes four blocks later into the life-giving light near the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the Joe Rodota Trail. A spring Southwest of Ives Park nourishes Calder’s year round flow.

The Sebastopol group, which has yet to adopt a formal name, held its first organizing meeting on July 1. Citizens (including professionals in creek restoration, City Council Members, residents, artists and educators) pooled information and suggested some interesting ideas for improvement of the creek. Here are some of their ideas:

Reconfigure the intersection of Jewel Avenue and Willow Street which sits atop Calder Creek and is confusing and dangerous, daylighting a small portion of the creek in the process.

Daylight the portions of the creek beneath city-owned parking areas east of Ives Park by rezoning for housing and commercial development. Selling the lots for development would increase Sebastopol revenues, focus development in the downtown core, make it easier to walk to businesses, beautify the area and provide a source of funding for the daylighting. Reforest the daylighted section with a riparian zone and connect Ives Park to the Joe Rodota Trail with a bicycle route along the creek beneath the state highway.

Naturalize the creek channel in Ives Park by restoring meanders and removing the concrete banks, sloping the sides so children could safely access the creek for environmental education.

Address pollution and runoff issues by encouraging the city to relocate the trash dumpster away from the creek, organizing creek cleanup events and instituting water quality monitoring. The group has already hosted a walk on the lower portion to the creek and will soon investigate the upper portion.

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