January, 2009
Creeks Winter e-news

Tea Fire and Sycamore Creek

After the recent Tea Fire, the Creeks Division conducted stream monitoring to learn more about the effect of fire on water quality.  Previous research in Southern California has shown that wildfire can lead to increased levels of metals, nutrients, and sediments in storm water.  The Tea Fire provided an interesting test case to look at fire effects on water quality, because the fire burned the entire upper Sycamore Creek watershed.  During the first storm after the fire, Creeks Division staff set out to test whether runoff from burned and unburned areas would be different. Creek samples were collected from the burned watershed as well as a similar sized unburned watershed, upper Mission Canyon. 

At the Sycamore Creek site, the water smelled of soot and ash and looked black, compared with the Mission Creek runoff. Although sampling was cut short due to an evacuation order, results showed that there were higher levels of suspended sediment and several metals in the burned site versus the unburned watershed. The levels of metals, which included copper, nickel, and arsenic, were well below standards known to cause toxicity in aquatic organisms.

In addition, the Creeks Division took samples of ash from sites where structures had burned and sent them to USGS for analysis. Results will be available soon and can help scientists to better understand Southern California wildfires and effects on water quality.


Creek Week a Success!

An impressive 500 people participated in Creek Week 2008 and this is what was accomplished!
* Well over 3 tons of trash was removed from 11 local creeks and beaches.
* Nearly 200 native plants and trees were planted at creek restoration sites.
* Over 200 youth and their families learned about local watersheds through creek clean-ups and exploration, photography, poetry, art and educational events.

Special thanks to all Creek Week participants and volunteers, and to all of the organizations and agencies who hosted events to highlight and restore our local watersheds!


Students Restore Local Creeks

Over 3 days in November and December, 180 students from Franklin, Cesar Chavez and Harding schools, helped clean up local creeks and plant native plants. In collaboration with the bilingual MERITO program, the Creeks Division helped the students plant a variety of native plants along Sycamore Creek and Old Mission Creek at Bohnett Park. These creeks are a part of the Community Creek Stewardship Program in which students and neighbors are invited to help improve habitat and water quality in their neighborhood creeks.

Learn More about Creek Stewardship


Clean Creek Restaurants

The Creeks Division, through its Clean Creeks Business Certification program, is currently working with restaurants to reduce sources of polluted run-off leading to our creeks and ocean.  We are proud to recognize the following restaurants that have voluntarily adopted creek friendly practices:

Aldos, Arigato, Café Buenos Aires, California Pizza Kitchen, Chilango's Latin Gourmet Restaurant,
Elements, El Paseo Restaurant, Garrett’s Whale Tale, Giovanni’s Pizza State, Harbor Restaurant, Left at Albuquerque, Los Arroyos, Louie’s Bistro, The Natural Café, Pierre Lafond Bistro, Pizza Mizza, Rusty’s Pizza, Shalhoob’s, Shoreline Café, Sojourner, State & A, Super Cucas, Via Maestra, and Wahoos

Learn More about Clean Creek Certified Restaurants


Clean Creek Automotive

The Clean Creeks Business Certification Program also focuses on automotive businesses, providing education about common auto repair practices that can pollute creeks and the ocean and offering training in proper pollution management practices. The program recognizes the following businesses that have made a commitment to help keep our creeks and ocean clean:

A’s Automotive, Ayers Automotive, Blanquette Automotive, Bowman’s Auto Repair, Clark Motors, The Engine Company, Fast Lane 10 Minute Lube & Oil, HP Autowerks, Imported Auto Service, Jess Union Service, Lang Motors, Lara’s Auto Repair, Muller & Gross, Munoz’s Auto Repair, Powell Garage, Precision Automotive & Smog, Richard’s Accurate, Smog-It, Schneider Autohaus, Superior Brake & Alignment, Swedemasters, Tire Pros, and Under the Hood Automotive

Learn More about Clean Creek Auto Businesses

Youth CineMedia Creek Videos


Teens involved with Youth CineMedia have created several short videos documenting local creeks and youth restoration efforts. These innovative clips were recently shown at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and are now up on the Creeks Division website!

View Videos



City of Santa Barbara • PO Box 1990 • Santa Barbara • CA • 93102

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