Arroyo Viejo Creek Project

Conservation in 

A clean and beautiful stretch of the Arroyo Viejo Creek runs through Oakland Zoo grounds secretly flowing under the entrance road to the Park.

The Arroyo Viejo Creek Restoration Project began with a mission to repair damaged and neglected stream areas by preventing bank erosion, increasing stability, and improving habitat for creek wildlife. Done in partnership with the California Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and the City of Oakland Measure DD Bond, the project was completed in early 2007. The goal was to increase native plant species, wildlife habitat and public access along with creating outdoor classrooms near the creek banks. The need for interpretive elements along the creek led to the development of a series of signs that ask the following engaging questions: "What is a Watershed?", "How do Creeks Work?", "Who Lives Inside the Creek?", "Who Lives Around the Creek?", "Why are Riparian Plants Important?" and "Humans in the Watershed." Oakland Zoo is now poised to take on a more significant watershed education and conservation role.

The Conservation Challenge

The Illegal Wildlife Trade

The illegal wildlife trade is one of the top most destructive and illicit transnational crimes of our times, along with drugs, arms and human trafficking. Illegal wildlife trafficking, for the pet industry and for products and souvenirs, has a devastating impact on animal welfare, species conservation, and ecosystems. It is a major cause of species extinction, second only to habitat loss. Ninety percent of animals smuggled for the pet trade die in transit, and those that survive need constant care and attention.

Harvesting of Turtle Eggs

The Pacific leatherback turtle is nearly extinct with only 1,438 mature individuals remaining in the entire Pacific ocean. Despite their endangered status, virtually all sea turtle nests in Guatemala are harvested by poachers and the eggs sold as a supposed aphrodisiac.

Conservation Approach

Advocacy and Outreach

Thanks to the work of Golden Gate Audubon, Oakland and San Francisco have adopted bird safe building requirements that will help prevent bird collisions. They advocate for responsible pet ownership, such as indoor-only cats, to reduce the number of avian mortalities. Golden Gate Audubon Society also works with arborist societies and independent contractors to provide training on seasonal tree trimming, how to spot a nest, and how to follow proper protocols and laws.

Grassroots ConservationFounded in 1917, Golden Gate Audubon Society partners with land management organizations, local schools, and city planning staff to keep the Bay Area a safe and healthy place for birds. They use a reach of over 7,000 members to monitor threatened species, restore habitats, and educate the public on sharing urban space with wildlife. Docents and volunteers spend time monitoring species like the Burrowing Owl, collecting data on the birds’ activities,     as well as educating the public about the unique species.EducationGolden Gate Audubon Society works with disadvantaged schools in East Oakland, North Richmond, and Southeast San Francisco to provide classes on local habitats and ecosystems, both in classrooms and on field trips. Classes of many subjects are also provided to adults for a small fee. Together, Golden Gate Audubon Society conducts over 150 field trips per year. A Speaker Series featuring biologists, researchers, photographers, and others is hosted monthly in either San Francisco or Berkeley.


Oakland Zoo Takes Action

The Arroyo Viejo Creek Project provides a critical opportunity for the Oakland Zoo to use the watershed as a way to provide hands on educational opportunities that will immerse students in science and underscore the delicate balance and interdependence between plants, animals, and humans. The continuing restoration projects include removal of non-natives, planting of native habitat, holding classes in the six outdoor classrooms, and maintaining a connecting trail to the rest of Knowland Park. The Oakland Zoo uses the creek as an outdoor laboratory to teach students and guests about habitats, backyard wildlife, watersheds, and the effects humans can have on their environment. A group of committed community members has been established to care for the creek. Oakland Zoo is looking forward to connecting people to their own backyards and inspiring stewardship of our California ecosystem.

You Can Take Action Too

Join the Arroyo Viejo Creek Crew! Click here for more information.

Learn more about the Arroyo Viejo Watershed