Storm Drain and Creek Maintenance

Creek maintenance is the responsibility of the owner whose property abuts a creek usually to the centerline of a free. When the creek area is not properly maintained, the resulting obstructions can lead to increased flooding, changes in the course of the creek, and increased erosion on the obstructed property of downstream. It is imperative that the work be conducted in such a manner that will not affect the natural habitat of fish and game that share the creek with us and in a way that will preserve the beauty of our creeks.

The Public Works Department recommends the following guidelines be followed when maintaining the creek on your property.

1. Remove all debris and foreign objects.  These may include anything from bottles and cans, broken concrete, fallen fences, shopping carts, appliances, or any man-made object. lt also includes wood and fallen trees or tee limbs. This is the property owner's responsibility even if the object washed down from upstream. lt is recommended that all stored material in your backyard be placed a minimum of 10 feet away from the top of the bank to avoid material from washing away into the creek during heavy storms. Sheds and minor structures should be anchored to the ground if closer than 10 feet.

2. Remove vegetation except for low ground cover from the creek band up to the top of the bent (flood line) including shrubs, tulle, pampas grass, cattails, and bamboo. Leave all root systems in place. Remove hanging vines that may create an obstruction to the natural flow of water in the creek if you have berry vines, trim these back to the bank.

3. Remove from the creek banks up to the top of the bank (flood line) any tree limbs which hang within two feet of the top of the bank. Any single tree of 2-inch diameter or greater which is living and not leaning toward the creek may remain if there are trees growing in clusters, trees with multiple trunks, or trees within the s&eam channel that may cause an obstruction to the flow of water, "Do Not Remove" until you contact the California Department of Fish and Game for direction.

4. Do not clear-cut the creek slopes. Leave ground covers such as low grasses or vines. If you are directed to cut a tree, cut it at the ground level, but leave roots in the ground.

This diagram illustrates directions to the above guidelines.

5. If you have existing slops stabilization measures such as rip-rap (rock, concrete), a retaining wall, or jute covering, keep these measures ln good condition.  If these measures require any repair or if you want to install a measure to stabilize your slope, you must first contact the County to get a drainage/grading permit. A permit from the Department of Fish and Game and the Regional Water Quality board may be required-. If any work is done to alter the creek including widening, filling, dredging/altering the natural creek flow, an Army Corps of Engineers Permit will be required.

Public Nuisance. Allowing or maintaining obstructions in a creek is a public nuisance under both local and state law. Both the California Civil Code (section 3479) and the California Penal Codes (section 370 )declaration that anything which unlawfully obstructs the free passage of any river, stream, or canal is e public nuisance. Contra Costa County Title 10 Chapter 1010-2 also provides that such conditions constitute a public nuisance. A public nuisance pertains to any person owning, leasing, occupying, or having charge or possession of any real property which . . .causes or will cause erosion, subsidence, or surface water runoff problems which can or may be injurious to the public health, safety, and welfare or to adjacent properties.

If you have questions, you may call the Public Works Department at (925) 888-7026. For Permit information, contact the California Department of Fish and Game at (707) 428-2002, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board at (510) 622-2300, or the Army Corps of Engineers at (415) 503-6708.

  1. Public Works


    Physical Address
    329 Rheem Boulevard
    Moraga, CA 94556

    Phone: 925-888-7026

    Hours
    Monday through Friday
    9:00am - Noon;  1:00-5:00pm 
    Closed Alternating Fridays




  2. Maintenance Office Building

    Physical Address
    335 Rheem Blvd
    Moraga, CA 94509

    Hours
    Monday through Friday
    7 am to 3:30 pm