The mission of the Contra Costa Watershed Forum is to identify common principles among parties involved in creek and watershed issues and promote actions that transform these principles into multi-objective enhancements of creeks and watersheds throughout the county.
The Watershed Forum's mission statement is under revision. The current (unrevised) mission is represented here. This page will be updated to reflect the revised mission when it is complete and approved by Forum participants.
The following general goals reflect input from the April 1999 Contra Costa County Creek and Watershed Symposium and shall help to guide the work of the Forum:
- Promote creeks as community amenities and encourage coordination and cooperation in creek and watershed management to achieve this goal.
- Promote protection and restoration of creek ecosystems, water quality, hydrological processes, wildlife corridors, recreational opportunities, and scenic appeal while also reducing flood risks and protecting health, safety, and property.
- Improve and streamline regulations and regulatory compliance.
- Promote cooperative planning processes that protect flood plains and riparian areas while maintaining the interests of property owners.
- Promote public education and outreach to improve understanding of and involvement in creek and watershed issues.
- Improve the level of trust among all parties involved in creek and watershed issues.
Basic Committee Functions
The Contra Costa Watershed Forum shall attempt to implement its mission by drawing on the experience, expertise, and interests of the broadest possible group of participants. The committee will have no independent authority. It will seek to develop and communicate group consensus and to enable participating organizations to perform their separate missions more effectively and with greater coordination. Key areas of potential committee work are summarized below:
- Provide a forum for agencies, organizations, and individuals to discuss creek and watershed issues of mutual interest, enabling them to coordinate actions to improve effectiveness and avoid duplication.
- Identify needs and opportunities for joint projects.
- Develop more efficient means for sharing and disseminating information, including potential creation of a web-site and/or general information telephone number.
- Maintain an up-to-date mailing list and database of contact information and interests.
- Provide a clearinghouse for information on available funding sources for creek and watershed projects.
- Support grant funding to projects in the county by providing applicants with advice and technical information. Demonstrate to granting authorities that there is county-wide interest in such projects and that coordination is a priority. Help match projects and funding.
Education And Outreach
- Initiate workshops and symposia on particular topics related to creeks and watersheds. Plan for holding a second, general county-wide symposium in 2-5 years.
- Develop or assist with developing written educational materials specific to creek and watershed issues in the county, including base materials such as maps of watersheds.
- Provide a forum for educational institutions to coordinate their creek and watershed curricula and activities.
- Provide technical and other assistance to agencies in the county which request it.
- Coordinate volunteer activities relating to creek and watershed projects.
- Develop a speakers bureau, a library of education materials, and/or a list of education programs related to creeks and watersheds.
- Provide a forum to discuss means for improving the implementation of creek and watershed policies to better protect resources and the interests of all sectors of the local community.
- Develop suggestions for streamlining regulatory permitting while maintaining or improving protections for creek and watershed resources.
- Develop a model creek ordinance.
- Develop a program for coordinating creek and wetland mitigation.
- Provide interested individuals and organizations with technical assistance on creek and watershed issues by holding workshops, developing written information for distribution, or connecting these interested parties with technical experts or other technical resources.
- Discuss technical issues related to implementation of newer approaches to creek and watershed management, such as bio-engineered channels and use of flood control detention basins as restored flood plain habitat. Discuss potential improvements in the design and construction of such projects.
- Assist with coordinating any efforts to expand creek and watershed monitoring and data sharing.
Participation and Representation
Participation on the Contra Costa Watershed Forum shall be open to all interested individuals and organizations. Because broad participation and representation of a diversity of interests is crucial to the success of the Forum, the following list of target constituencies has been developed to drive the recruitment of participants:
- Local governments
- Conservation advocacy organizations
- Special districts • Environmental education institutions
- Regulatory agencies
- Private landowners and agriculturalists
- General community interests/citizens
- Private sector professionals
- Business community
Suggested Operation Procedures
The Contra Costa Watershed Forum shall make decisions by consensus. The Forum shall attempt to avoid reaching agreements on matters directly affecting specific constituencies when these constituencies are not present. When this is not possible, due to factors such as a consistent lack of participation, the Forum shall not represent agreements to be any broader than they actually are and shall continue to strive to seek the input of unrepresented interests. The Forum may form subcommittees to address specific topics and develop more specific operating procedures as needed. Administrative support will be provided by Contra Costa County.