The North Richmond Watershed Connections (NRWC) project will implement a suite of urban greening projects in streets, parks, creek trails, and urban farm to enhance the health of San Pablo and Wildcat Creeks and their respective watersheds, while improving North Richmond residents’ much-needed access to local natural resources in a severely disadvantaged community. The project is an innovative collaboration between Contra Costa County’s Transportation Engineering and Watershed Programs and two local nonprofit organizations, Urban Tilth, and The Watershed Project. The County and its two nonprofit project partners are working with community members to create a healthy, walkable, green connection between San Pablo and Wildcat Creeks to benefit the health and water quality of these two urban watersheds, enhance public green space, and increase walkability and neighborhood safety.
The NRWC project consists of three components, illustrated in the figures below.
The Fred Jackson Way (FJW) 1st Mile/Last Mile Urban Greening component is being managed by the Transportation Engineering Division of Contra Costa County, which will serve to enhance a Complete Streets Project there through the planting of 38 crepe myrtle trees as street trees in the North Richmond “downtown” portion of FJW.
Fred Jackson Way Rain Garden component is being led by Urban Tilth, which operates the North Richmond Farm (The Future Farm – Urban Tilth ). The Fred Jackson Way Rain Garden, otherwise described as a linear bioretention basin, will function as a kind of engineered wetland to filter stormwater from Fred Jackson Way before it enters San Pablo Creek.
The Clean and Green Adopt-a-Tree Program and the Walkable Watershed component is being managed by The Watershed Project (Greening Urban Watersheds - The Watershed Project). The Watershed Project (TWP) will create a “Watershed Connections” route in the North Richmond neighborhood and will involve local homeowners in planting close to 40 street trees there, largely to be planted in front yards. TWP will also work with residents to create wayfinding markers, street artwork, and interpretive elements along the Watershed Connections route to enhance the sense of place in the neighborhood and the quality of neighborhood access and walkability.
The North Richmond Watershed Connections project is based on a "Prop 1 - Urban Greening" grant of about $900,000 that was approved by the State Coastal Conservancy Board of Directors on August 22, 2019. It was awarded to Contra Costa County for the County’s Public Works Department/Watershed Program to implement this important Green infrastructure, urban greening, and resiliency project with its partners.