Protecting Watersheds

Alameda County is home to some beautiful waterscapes—from beaches and shorelines to lakes, wetlands and an abundant network of creeks that crisscross the land. The Bay Trail, parks and recreation areas invite us all to enjoy this natural beauty and find respite from city life.

All these “waterful” places are home to plants, birds, fish, insects and other wildlife. They also play an important role as “living filters” that clean rainwater runoff , replenish groundwater and can even help protect shorelines from sea level rise.

The health of local waterways is affected by what happens in surrounding areas, called “watersheds.” Everyone lives in a watershed—the land that water flows over or through on its way to a creek, delta, bay, or ocean. Everything that happens in the watershed affects water quality and habitat quality for fish, birds and other living things. Pollution in distant parts of a watershed can still find its way to the water. Pollution is washed into storm drains, travels many miles through underground tunnels, and eventually flows into creeks and the Bay.

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Typically, a watershed’s boundaries are ridges or other elevated features of the natural landscape that cause the water to flow in the same direction.

Alameda County has over 100 watersheds, ranging in size from just a few acres to the giant Alameda Creek watershed that overlaps with two other counties. To find “your” watershed, click here!

sausal creek

Protecting our local watersheds means stopping pollution at the source—by preventing anything other than rain from entering the stormdrains in our urban neighborhoods.