Other SSU-SCWA Activities

SCWA and SSU together and separately have long-term interests in Copeland Creek and surrounding watershed. In addition to WATERS projects, we maintain a list of various ways in which our organizations collaborate or undertake compatible projects.

Sonoma County Water Agency Interests

On Copeland Creek, SCWA sponsors clean up days (such as the Expeditionary Learning Program at Mountain Shadows Middle School in 2008 and 2009) and a variety of restoration activities. Long-term initiatives on the Creek include:

  • Copeland Creek Restoration Project - Between 1999 and 2007, this project restored approximately 6,000 feet of Copeland Creek in an area intensively grazed by cattle for over a century. Project goals included stabilizing banks, decreasing creek sediment load, excluding cattle from the creek, and improving habitat for steelhead and other native fish and wildlife. Monitoring continues through 2014.
  • Copeland Creek Project - a multi-phase effort targeting improvement of flood protection and fish habitat, and reduction of sediment. In August 2011, Phase 1 of the project was funded in August 2011 by California Department of Water Resources undertake Phase 1 of the project ($1 million).

Sonoma State University Interests

Since the founding of SSU in 1961, faculty, students, and staff have been engaged in issues surrounding the regional management of water resources, energy and sustainability. Many of these activities have become part of the mission and goals of SSU institutes, departments, and programs:

  • SSU Preserves - SSU owns and administers the 411-acre Fairfield Osborn Preserve which lies on the upper reaches of Copeland Creek for the purposes of education and research. The Preserve is administered by the School of Science and Technology to support disciplines across campus.
  • Department of Environmental Studies and Planning - ENSP is an interdisciplinary department with a focus on sustainability that identifies Copeland Creek as a unique resource in its course offerings. ENSP administers the Center for Sustainable Communities and Institute for Community Planning Assistance which are focused on engaging students in community projects and programs related to sustainabilty. ENSP offers two study plans and degree options for undergraduates that are directly related to watershed management issues:
  • Campus Gardens - on-campus gardens (map) showcase native biodiversity on Copeland Creek, and include:
    • ENSP's Classroom Garden which is increasingly involved in the demonstration of agricultural practices compatible with watershed management. Interns running volunteer crews each Friday under the Garden Work Day program also engage in Copeland Creek restoration.
    • Other gardens maintained by SSU Landscape Services include interpretive signs and trails teaching about Copeland Creek and California diversity. Gardens include Butterfly Garden and Native Plant Garden.
  • Friends of Copeland Creek is a student organization, supervised through the Department of Biology, dedicated to the ecological restoration of Copeland Creek on the SSU campus. Contact information
  • SSU Campus Planning, Design and Construction - The Director of Campus Planning is responsible for administering the Copeland Creek Master Plan, a working document that establishes guiding principles, goals, and actions for development and preservation of the Copeland Creek Buffer Zone on campus. The Copeland Creek Advisory Committee advises and assist the Director of Campus Planning in monitoring, studying, and assessing impacts of development and restoration.

Contracts and Collaborations

  • Native Plant Propagation Services – Over the last decade, SCWA has hired SSU faculty and staff (Caroline Christian, Karen Tillinghast and others) to grow native plants from local stock to supply regional restoration efforts. The plants are grown in part by students taking ENSP's Native Plant Propagation courses.
  • Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps - SSU, SCWA, and Sonoma County Adult Youth Development (SCAYD) partnered to create learning opportunities for disadvantaged youth on the SSU campus and Fairfield Osborn Preserve. 2012 News Center Article
  • Biological Consulting - Biology Professors Nick Geist and Derek Girman have provided services to SCWA for studies of wildlife.

Internships and Graduate Hires

  • SCWA Water Education Program - SCWA provides environmental education training sessions for disadvantaged youth as part of the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps program. SSU students are regularly hired as as summer interns for this program, providing 11 weeks of training for work crews.
  • After graduation many SSU students are hired by Sonoma County Water Agency in area of planning, education and research.

Restoration Projects and Activities

SCWA and SSU have common interests in creating conditions on Copeland Creek that maintain flood capacity while enhancing diversity of species in the riparian corridor. Restoration projects on the Creek have included:

Regulations and Permitting

SCWA and SSU regulatory responsibilities on Copeland Creek vary by reach:

  • Laguna de Santa Rosa to Hwy 101: SCWA Owned in Fee Engineered Channel; SSU none
  • Hwy 101 to SSU campus: SCWA Easement Engineered Channel; SSU none
  • SSU campus: SCWA Easement Modified Channel; SSU Copeland Creek Master Plan and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan

SCWA Regulatory Documents include:

SSU Regulatory Documents include:

  • Copeland Creek Master Plan - The Director of Campus Planning is responsible for administering the Copeland Creek Master Plan, a working document that establishes guiding principles, goals, and actions for development and preservation of the Copeland Creek Buffer Zone on campus. The Copeland Creek Advisory Committee advises and assist the Director of Campus Planning in monitoring, studying, and assessing impacts of development and restoration.
  • Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan - The plan identifies and evaluates sources of pollutants and implements site-specific best management practices (BMPs) to reduce or prevent pollutants entering the Creek. Environmental Health & Safety staff are primarily responsible for implementing the Plan.

SSU Courses, Activities and Projects in Local Watersheds

SSU involvement with watershed related issues are campus-wide, involving students, faculty and staff in the Schools of Social Sciences, Science and Technology, Business and Economics, Education, and Arts and Humanities. Academic engagement has included Master’s Theses, internships, class projects, and contracts for work on topics related to restoration, regional planning, water quality, flood control, and watershed management.