Maintenance of Creeks on Private Property
The Public Works Department recommends the following guidelines for maintaining a creek on your property:
Remove all debris and foreign object, including bottles and cans, construction debris, fallen tree limbs, and any other litter. We recommend storing outdoor furniture and other backyard items at least 10 feet away from the top of the bank to avoid anything washing into the creek during a heavy storm. Sheds or other small structures closer than 10 feet from the top of the bank should be anchored to the ground.
Cut vegetation along the creek banks up to the top of the bank (flood line). This includes shrubs, tules, pampas grass, cattails, and bamboo, but not low ground cover. Do not clear-cut the creek slopes. If you cut a plant, cut it at the ground level, but leave the roots in the ground. Remove hanging vines that could block the natural flow of water. Trim berry vines to the top of the bank.
Prune back any tree limbs hanging within two feet of the top of the bank. Prune from the creek banks up to the top of the bank (flood line). If there are trees growing within the stream channel that could cause an obstruction to the flow of water, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for direction. A single, living tree with a diameter of 2-inches or greater need not be removed, provided it is not leaning toward the creek. If you do cut a tree, cut it at the ground level, but leave the roots in the ground.
Any work to alter a creek requires a permit. Widening, filling, or dredging requires permits from the City, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
These diagrams illustrate the above guidelines and are provided by the Contra Costa County Public Works Maintenance Division.