To protect the San Pablo Creek Watershed and inspire community appreciation and stewardship through advocacy, education, and habitat restoration.

SPAWNERS Creek Restoration Documentary

Restoring the San Pablo Creek Watershed

This video documents a 5-year restoration project that SPAWNERS did with the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Cleaning, bank-stabilization, and planting projects on Appian and Wilkie Creeks were done with the help of community volunteers and students from De Anza High School as well as the local Boys & Girls Club. This video was produced by Kirston Koths of Oak Leaf Studios, and is best enjoyed in 1080p, stereo.


SPAWNERS formed in the spring of 2000 to bring together local residents interested in making the creek a community asset and protecting its natural resources. Earth Day in April 2000 attracted 75 volunteers to remove invasive ivy from the creek banks at the El Sobrante Library and to pick up trash from downtown El Sobrante as well as the creek. 

SPAWNERS hosts the ongoing effort to control ivy at the El Sobrante library site, where the ivy has been strangling and killing the trees by the creek. Our programs have expanded since 2000 and we now maintain three creek-side native plant revegetation sites at: the El Sobrante Library, the El Sobrante Boys and Girls Club, and behind De Anza High School. We also facilitate a wide variety of outreach and education programs. Our goals are to continue to improve our three sites for both people and wildlife, to educate the community on caring for our creeks and preserving water quality, and to involve volunteers in creek restoration projects within the watershed. 

We have a comprehensive outreach program that seeks to educate residents about sources of pollution and how land use relates to water quality, and to identify ways to address the types of problems encountered. By involving a diversity of citizens, public and private organizations, and resource specialists, the program provides an exchange of knowledge, resources, and support that enables participants to more effectively understand and address water quality problems. SPAWNERS is patterned after other successful  programs such as the Friends of Sausal Creek and the Friends of San Leandro Creek. 

Ongoing activities include:

  • Stewardship: Creek clean-ups, monthly water quality monitoring, habitat restoration and re-vegetation, and erosion control.
  • Native Plant Garden:The group has established two native plant demonstration gardens at the El Sobrante library: a new one in the front planted on Earth Day 2004 and one in the back on the bank of San Pablo Creek. We also constructed a native plant demonstration garden at the El Sobrante Boys and Girls Club. We hold regular workdays to improve and maintain the gardens. Many of the plants used in the gardens have been propagated by our members from local sources.
  • Meetings: Community meetings are held every other month, at the El Sobrante Library, 4191 Appian Way, 7 – 9 p.m. The meetings provide a regular forum for community building, discussion, learning, and planning. Most meetings feature a guest speaker on various topics related to the watershed.
  • Newsletters: A newsletter is distributed quarterly to watershed residents to share and promote information and activities.
  • Publications:
    • A Cultural and Natural History of the San Pablo Creek Watershed,
    • The Gardener’s Guide to Native Plants of the East Bay.
  • Student Outreach: We provide service learning opportunities to groups of youth and local schools who participate in water quality monitoring and restoration activities. 
  • Special Events: Earth Day celebrations and other festivals, watershed tours, native plant walks, creek surveys and mapping.

SPAWNERS obtains fiscal sponsorship from The Watershed Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. 

Funding for SPAWNERS activities is provided by Contra Costa County Clean Water Program and Fish & Wildlife CommitteeCalifornia Department of Conservation, the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, several foundations, and generous donations from our members and volunteers. 

For more information or to join in our restoration opportunities and efforts to educate the public about San Pablo Creek’s resources, please contact

             Helen Fitanides at (510) 665-3538 or helen@thewatershedproject.org

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