Unlock Alameda Creek


At the tributary scale, we propose to unlock the sediment flows of Alameda Creek, to the Bay. We will focus our efforts on redesigning this waterbody to more effectively deliver sediment, reconnect steelhead with their historic spawning grounds, and organize a water-based network of communities that physically connect to the Bay.

Alameda Creek is the largest sedimentshed in the Bay. Though it has been dammed, rerouted, and channelized, it still contributes more sediment to the South Bay than any other tributary. Even so, its potential is far from realized—the flood channel was only designed for the flow of water, not for sediment, fish, or public access. Sediment gets trapped behind multiple dams and in the channel itself, where it reduces flood protection and requires expensive dredging. Fish face many hurdles to migrating upstream and public use of the creek is limited.

Building off the current efforts of local partners including the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Friends of Alameda Creek, and the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, we propose to Unlock Alameda Creek. To do this, we will design the channel to move mud, enabling it to get to where it is needed most.

At the Creek’s interface with the Bay, we will re-connect the channel, tides, and the Eden Land restoration ponds by selectively breaching levees. This will allow sediment to feed neighboring marshes where it is desired, rather than accumulating in the channel. Inland from the tidal marshes, we will test the use of upland sediment sources, dredged materials, treated wastewater, and biosolids to support fresh to salt water transition zones, while looking for opportunities to plan for and incentivize future marsh migration areas. Along the channel, we will explore options to strategically alter the flow of sediment to feed distributaries, build erodible tributary sediment pools, and move mud downstream. In the creek’s upper reaches, we look to harvest sediment from behind dams.

But this isn’t just about mud. We believe Alameda is a creek that should be designed for social equity, public benefit, and fish as much as sediment. This #trib connects communities that are diverse in race, ethnicity, age, and income level, linking them with each other and the Bay. We want to enable inter-species interactions along the creek, building empathy and capacity for new sediment publics over time. A network of paths, mud rooms, sensing stations, and fish ladders enable inter-species interactions along the creek, building empathy and capacity for a new sediment public over time--creating space to get our hands and feet muddy.

We start with Alameda Creek because of its potential to deliver sediment at the scale the South Bay needs. Ultimately, our goal is for Alameda Creek to be a model for unlocking #tribs around all of San Francisco Bay. The strategies that we test here will form a toolkit that enables the Bay Area to unlock sediment as a valued resource, and build a sediment public throughout the bay.

Concept

image

Unlock Alameda Creek

Comments are private and will only be shared with the organizers.

Click on the image below to comment.

Large32de6150aad6733be6702cc4e6197d4f
×

Public Sediment

Public Sediment is a multidisciplinary design team that views sediment as a core building block of resilience in San Francisco Bay. The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture with Arcadis, the Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and the Buoyant Ecologies Lab.

Our team believes in ecological infrastructure and its protective value. Yet the Bay area’s ecological infrastructure- its marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges- are at risk. The slow and methodical subsidence of the Bay’s...

Public Sediment is a multidisciplinary design team that views sediment as a core building block of resilience in San Francisco Bay. The team is led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture with Arcadis, the Dredge Research Collaborative, TS Studio, the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Design, the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, and the Buoyant Ecologies Lab.

Our team believes in ecological infrastructure and its protective value. Yet the Bay area’s ecological infrastructure- its marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges- are at risk. The slow and methodical subsidence of the Bay’s tidal wetlands is a catastrophe of tremendous proportion not just for ecosystems, but for communities. Combined with sea level rise, this subsidence exposes hundreds of thousands of residents and the region’s critical drinking water, energy, and transportation infrastructure to tremendous risk. To creatively adapt to this challenge, our team proposes to focus on sediment, the building block of resilience in the Bay. In short, we propose to design with mud.

Counties benefited:
Alameda

Location