The City of Concord is fortunate to have many beautiful amenities including creeks of varying sizes. Not only do our creeks provide crucial habitat for wildlife, they’re also an integral part of the City’s stormwater drainage system.
Did you know that homeowners are responsible for maintaining the stormwater drainage systems on their properties to keep creeks healthy and unpolluted and to prevent flooding and erosion? It’s true. As with most cities (including unincorporated Contra Costa County) property owners with a creek on their property, or property owners fronting a creek, must maintain the creek and abutting vegetation, including removal of any trash accumulated by the creek.
Property Owner Responsibilities
In most cases the nominal creek centerline acts as the property line, despite the misperception that a fence at the top of the creek bank defines a property. By City of Concord Municipal Code, property owners on both sides of a creek share responsibility for maintaining the banks and riparian corridor vegetation. By properly exercising this responsibility, property owners not only enhance their own property, but can: prevent erosion; avoid flood losses and property damage; preserve water quality; and contribute to the survival of fish and wildlife.
Property owners’ responsibilities include:
- Inspect and maintain their portion of the creek to ensure it remains free of all debris such as grass clippings, fallen trees and limbs, leaves and waste vegetation, trash, and other objects that could obstruct the full flow of water.
- Inspecting and cleaning culverts under the driveway and v-ditches along the property, especially before the rainy season begins in October and before major storms. Such actions ensure that stormwater will flow unimpeded and will not carry pollutants into the creeks.
- Ensure that nothing but stormwater enters the creek and that yard clippings and other waste, litter and debris are not placed in the creek or on its banks.
- Maintain stable vegetated creek banks to minimize the rate of soil erosion and to prevent bank failures that may add large volumes of sediment to the creeks and can cause property damage.
- Never alter the creek without determining whether a permit is required from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the City of Concord.
- Ensure that all construction near the creek is permitted and complies with the City’s creek setback requirements.
- Maintain a sufficient riparian canopy of native bushes and trees to keep the creek water cool, thus avoiding growth of harmful algae and preserving animal habitats.
Get more detailed information about stormwater and creek-related ordinances in the Concord Municipal Code.