Passing slowly up Alameda Cañon, with eyes open and appreciative, one may secure a gallery of mental pictures, which in richness of color, variety and beauty, will rival any collection of landscape paintings in the world When we remember that this rare bit of rural beauty and wildness is almost on the threshold of a populous city, our appreciation is quickened and heightened.
From Picturesque California, edited by John Muir, 1888
Over a century later, rare beauty and wildness can still be found along Alameda Creek, although the threshold of our urban development has now encroached greatly upon the natural habitats of the watershed.
The vision of the Alameda Creek Alliance is to restore native wildlife, plants, habitats and ecosystems within the Alameda Creek watershed as much as possible given modern constraints. We also seek to protect undeveloped areas along the creek for their habitat value to native flora and fauna.
Our efforts are focused on bringing wild steelhead trout, often cited as an indicator species of watershed health, back to our watershed. But restoration involves far more than charismatic fish, for as John Muir famously said, When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
Steelhead trout are indeed hitched to all activities and processes in the watershed, affected not just by water diversions and pollution, but also by land use and lifestyle choices far upslope from any watercourse. Sediment caused by overgrazing, hormones from flushed birth control pills, car oil changed in a driveway, or pavement laid down for development can all impact fish and their habitat far downstream. Steelhead need cool, clean silt-free water and healthy streamside forests to thrive, attributes that we ourselves desire not just for a clean water supply, but also for recreation, opportunities for education, and enjoyment of and connection to nature. Restoring steelhead and repairing their essential habitat in the watershed will also benefit numerous other wildlife species that share stream and riparian habitats.
Our belief is that the simple act of restoring steelhead trout to our local creek can tie us more closely to the place we live. The dramatic journey of steelhead and salmon around the Pacific and back to their home stream captures public interest. We seek to translate that interest to action and inspire watershed residents and land managers to value Alameda Creek for its wildlife, natural features, aesthetic qualities, cultural and natural history, and recreational and educational opportunities.
Alameda Creek Alliance mission statement