Urban Forestry Program

Forest Unlimited’s Urban Forestry Program encourages cities to protect and restore creek riparian zones, daylight creeks where possible and provide multiuse trails along creeks.  Forest Unlimited has three Urban Forestry Projects:  1) Calder Creek  Restoration in Sebastopol, 2) Roseland Neighborwood/Roseland Creek and 3) the Urban Tree Planting Collective.

Calder Creek Restoration:

Calder Creek runs through an ugly culvert behind a chain-link fence in Ives Park in Sebastopol.

  We are working with the Sebastopol Creek Stewards and the California Urban Streams Partnership to revitalize Calder Creek.   Calder Creek runs from near 1st Street and Leland Street, through Ives Park to the Laguna de Santa Rosa along the Joe Rodota Trail in the Railroad Forest Park.  Much of the creek is hidden in pipes beneath S. Main Street, Petaluma Ave. and two parking lots.  The proposal is to “daylight” the creek (bring it back to the surface), add a riparian forest along the creek as well as extend the Joe Rodota Trail beneath the two branches of Highway 116 to Ives Park.   The banks of the creek in Ives Park would be resloped to provide access to the creek.  Financing would come from grants to the City of Sebastopol and sale of the parking lot between S. Main St. and Petaluma Ave. for commercial development and housing adjacent to the daylighted creek and multi-use trail.   Because the creek flows below grade, daylighting and adding a trail would provide a safe pedestrian and bicycle route beneath the state highway.  It would also provide a greenway and habitat link between Ives Park and the Laguna.  If you would like to help with this project, contact us.

Forest Unlimited will continue to work for these improvements when Sebastopol revises its planning documents.

Roseland Neighbor Wood/Roseland Creek Project:

Forest Unlimited is working with the Friends of Roseland Creek to develop a park and greenway along Roseland Creek in Santa Rosa.  Roseland Creek flows from Highway 101 west to the Laguna de Santa Rosa.   Portions of Roseland Creek host a bicycle trail and the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County have purchased land along the creek for a park (which the neighbors call the Neighbor Wood).  The neighbors have fought for years to keep this unusually wild parcel in its natural forested state in the face of a City intent on installing concrete, parking and other development.  The City of Santa Rosa has constantly sought to develop the park with parking lots, dog parks and sports facilities.  In April of 2013, Forest Unlimited cosponsored a creek cleanup and tree planting (mainly oaks) along a portion of creek near Roseland Creek School.   If you would like to participate in future cleanups and planting, contact our Urban and Community Forest Program Manager Duane De Witt.

If you would like to start your own Urban Forestry program with our help, please contact us by email.  You may find these tools useful:

A Research Toolkit for Building the Ultimate Urban Forest

Urban Tree Planting Collective

This is our newest program.  Volunteers with the Urban Tree Planting Collective will gather tree seeds of native species, grow native trees and plant them along urban creeks  and trails whith the help of local nurseries.  If you would like to be part of the Collective, contact us.

Grow Your Own

In October acorns  begin falling.  We encourage you to plant a few. In Sonoma County we are fortunate to have a number of beautiful, native oak species, including California live oak, Oregon white oak, black oak, red oak, blue oak, and valley oak.  How wonderful it would be to re-plant the oak trees that once covered Sonoma County.

Acorns cost nothing, and a person only needs a screwdriver to dig a shallow hole to plant them. Deer and field mice will eat oak seedlings, so we have to plant quite a few extra acorns in order to get some to survive. If acorns are planted an inch or so deep in the ground, and if the ground is kept moist, roots and leaves will emerge in just three to four weeks.

The California Native Plant Society recommends that one first plant acorns in pots and then transfer them to the ground in a few weeks when the rainy season begins so that the acorns do not dry out.

However planting in pots costs more money and is more work than planting directly in the ground. An alternative is to plant the acorns directly in the ground and to water them until the rainy season is underway. Normally the rainy season begins in late September in Sonoma County, and the acorns fall in October, so water is not a problem. However with the droughts of the last few years, October rains have not been plentiful, so if planted directly in the ground, the acorns may need water for a few weeks. One study found that the survival rate of acorns planted directly in the ground, not watered, and not covered to protect the seedlings from deer, had a survival rate of about 24%, while acorns pre-planted in nursery pots and then transplanted, again without covers, had a survival rate of about 33%. Covers significantly increased the survival rate, but covers are usually impractical.

Oak trees are beautiful and beneficial trees. They provide shade and food for small animals, and they sequester carbon dioxide.   Sadly, most of the oak trees in Sonoma County were cut down for wood and to provide area for grazing. Please help re-plant our beautiful oaks. Grab the grandkids and plant some acorns this season. The earth will thank you.




For more information on Urban Forests, see the articles below.