The goal of the Willow Creek Restoration Plan is to bring a year-round stream back into daylight and restore a steelhead run in Sausalito. The restoration of Willow Creek as an above-ground perennial creek system connected to Richardson Bay would occur via a phased process that require a long time, estimated to be thirty years. This effort can be categorized as “infrastructure renewal”, a process that cities counties and districts are undergoing in all facets from water supply to storm drainage to wastewater collection/treatment to road maintenance/upgrades.
Willow Creek Restoration Phases
A forward-thinking view of infrastructure renewal includes restoration of stream and wetland functions as part of the urban infrastructure, with all its benefits to humans, fish and wildlife integrated into the community vision. Such a vision has been achieved in some communities at various levels resulting in significant economic benefits, a recent example being downtown Napa and the Living River project there that obtained over $90 million in stimulus funding and hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment.
Today there is a remnant of the original creek, located in an open space parcel at the corner of Bridgeway and Nevada Street. It is a resource cherished by some in the local community, and has received stewardship from the school in the form of native plant restoration efforts by the middle school students and their teachers. Over the years the City has made efforts to clear the blackberry and other nuisance non-native plants that can take over the parcel, which is owned by The Willows Homeowners Association (HOA) and maintained by the City. The open channel of Willow Creek through this property contains water throughout the year and sustains a grove of old willow trees that provides habitat for animals and people alike. While appreciated by a few that know about it, this area often becomes overgrown with weeds and invaded by transient people such that it is a problem to be managed instead of a community asset. Willow Creek is not well known to the Sausalito community. Yet.