The Watershed Institute

Where We Work

Creeks of Salinas

Habitat Stewardship Project, Monterey Bay's (HSPMB) work in the Natividad Creek Corridor has spanned 24 years since the “dump area” that is now Natividad Creek Park was cleaned up by a HSPMB led coalition of neighborhood groups. All who come to Natividad Creek Park and the Upper Carr Lake Basin downstream where Natividad Creek meets East Laurel Drive meet, are impressed with the blend of natural elements and conventional park amendments.

Over the years HSPMB volunteers have planted over 50,000 native species, especially low-growing California lilacs, mounding coyotebrush, native grasses, white yarrow, Douglas iris, sedges, and California fuschia along denuded creek banks, park perimeters, high focal point areas (ie., Cougar Overlook, the Children’s Discovery Garden, the BMX Bike Area, and Upper Carr Lake.) HSPMB coordinates monthly volunteer efforts in the Natividad where new native plants are added, birds are censused, or trash is removed.

HSPMB is proud of our pioneering restoration work in the Creeks of Salinas bringing "nature to people and people to nature". HSPMB's work is continuing in the Creeks with new demonstration restoration projects in Carr Lake on land purchased by the Big Sur Land Trust.

Creeks of Salinas

This restoration project engages and educates teachers, school children, youth and the general populace in a restoration project called the “Creeks of Salinas.” The project aims to meet NPDES mandated stormwater discharge requirements for the city of Salinas, California State Science and English Language Development Standards for the schools, and community service requirements for the high school students.

Salinas sites that this project addresses:

  • Gabilan Creek
  • Sanborn Creek
  • Natividad Creek
  • Upper Carr Lake

Signs of success

Restoration success is visible by the number of native bird species seen returning to the creek. Since HSPMB started censusing bird numbers in 2006, we have seen a remarkable increase in birds sighted in the Creeks of Salinas. HSPMB volunteers and students assist in counting birds twice a year, once in January and once in May. You can view our bird sightings list to see the species that can be found at this site.