September 17th, 2009

Alameda Creek Regional Trail 2: Beard Rd. to Niles Cyn.

Alameda Creek Regional Trail 2: Beard Rd. to Niles Cyn.

Last Sunday D. and I returned to the Alameda Creek Regional Trail to see the rest of it. I took these pics.

The channel as we set out upstream from the Beard Road staging area.

Dry Creek enters Alameda Creek here.

If Dry Creek is dry, why do they need gates?

Canada geese enjoy a small stretch of open water on the creek.

Looking east upstream.

The channel is quite overgrown with vegetation.

Looking upstream.

A fish passage has been created in the concrete foundation of a decommissioned rubber dam (now removed) to allow for fish passage under low flow conditions.  This project is part of a broader effort to restore steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek Watershed.

The BART trestle can be seen in the distance.

The BART weir.  This bank-to-bank sloping concrete apron was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent channel erosion. It allows flows to pass through a high gradient stretch of the flood control channel without producing instability to the channel walls or the piers supporting the adjacent Union Pacific Railroad and BART tracks.

Just upstream from the weir is another rubber dam, soon to be decommissioned to restore steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek Watershed.  The fish ladder being installed will help steelhead migrate upstream.

Above the dam, the creek pools up into a lake that spans the entire channel.  During higher flows, the dam was deflated to prevent flooding.

An Amtrak train crosses Alameda Creek.

A great blue heron in the shallows.

Looking downstream.

Fish screens.  They will prevent juvenile steelhead trout from being trapped in the diversion pipeline from the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel into the adjacent groundwater recharge ponds at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area.  The fish screens are retractable, for maintenance and flood control.

Projects like this will make up to 20 miles of Alameda Creek and its tributaries accessible to ocean-run fish for the first time in over 50 years.  Once complete, steelhead will be able to access the upper watershed for spawning.  The Alameda Creek watershed is the largest drainage in the southern San Francisco Bay region, encompassing almost 700 square miles.

Mission Blvd. crosses Alameda Creek at the mouth of Niles Canyon.

Alameda Creek where it emerges from Niles Canyon.

Dabbling ducks like it here.

Looking downstream through the mouth of the canyon.  The creek continues up into the canyon, but the trail ends here, at the Niles staging area.

The hills are dry, waiting for the winter rains to begin.

On the bank of the creek, a pepper tree is in bloom.