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Contra Costa Watershed Forum

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Volunteer Creek Monitoring Program

Volunteers are active in collecting baseline data on creeks and watersheds. The Bioassessment and GPS Creek surveys produce data that are useful to a variety of groups - from resource managers to community organizations. Join us in monitoring and surveying your local creek!

The Contra Costa Watershed Forum has joined forces with the Contra Costa Clean Water Program to monitor and assess watersheds and creek conditions. There are three components to the CCWF Volunteer Creek Monitoring Program: 1) Bioassessment Surveys, 2) GPS Creek Surveys and 3) Assistance and Resource Center.

Monitoring Programs

The information gathered by volunteers is used for a variety of purposes:

  • to assess the current conditions of Contra Costa County streams
  • to compare stream health to state water quality standards
  • to calculate water quality and biological integrity indices
  • to serve as a baseline for comparison in future studies

Data Center

The data gathered through the program are available for use in various projects (click for more information):

All data requests should be made directly to Jamison Crosby at


Using aquatic insects as indicators of water quality, volunteers learn more about the health of their neighborhood creeks and identify potential problem areas. While water samples yield a detailed identification of the water at the time of sampling, the density and diversity of bugs in our creeks yield a watershed-level perspective of water quality and habitat viability over time. Community members, local college students, and volunteer groups can help collect specimens for identification.

GPS Creek Surveys

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, volunteers monitor the current conditions of their neighborhood creeks. In the summer and fall adventurous volunteers wade into local creeks, mapping the physical attributes of the stream channel (substrate, canopy cover, bank characteristics, etc.), extent and type of native and invasive vegetation, and human influences (outfalls, dams, etc.).

Joining a data collection event is a fun way to explore parts of your urban environment most people never see.  GPS Creek Surveys are more than just fun…they’re science!

Monitoring Assistance and Resource Center

The Watershed Monitoring Coordinator can provide assistance to groups in Contra Costa County who are involved in creek monitoring activities.  Equipment can be borrowed from the program (when it isn't being used by the program) and technical assistance is availiable to provide help with data collection activities.

Join a Monitoring Activity!

If you are interested participating in a Bioassessment or GPS Creek Survey, please contact your local “Friends of Creek” group or Michelle Luebke, Watershed Monitoring Coordinator at (925) 335-1315 or


Made possible by support from the Department of Conservation and Development and the CC Clean Water Program.