Living Arroyos
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Joseph’s Farewell


For two years and nine months I have nurtured native trees within the Livermore-Amador Valley watershed. Many of these trees I helped plant and keep alive during the two year drought; they are my green “children,” my baby trees. I share this surrogacy with all of my current and past co-workers and with the thousands of volunteers that have helped us. Together we brought verdant life to weedy man-made canals and streams. We planted native trees and removed invasive species. We cleaned up debris and trash clogging our waterways.

The Living Arroyos Internship changed the trajectory of my life. During the first year of the program, I went from studying art to being an environmental major. Living Arroyos gave me invaluable first-hand experience with local ecology and environmental restoration. I gained a glimpse into the world of watershed and resource management. Now, my education is taking me up to Portland, where I will continue to pursue environmental studies. I will miss so much about this program and it is hard to say farewell.

A new generation of interns will begin their journey this fall, guided by the seasoned program coordinator Felisha Walls. The program is in good hands; take care of our green “children.” My dream is that the program continues to grow and that programs like Living Arroyos begin to sprout in other water districts.

So here it is, goodbye: Stanley Reach, Stoneridge, Arroyo Seco, Galaxy Court, Bluebell and many other sites I have worked on.

Goodbye: valley oaks, coast live oaks, cottonwoods, buckeyes, walnuts, box elders, elderberries, willows, and Oregon ash. I know I will see some of you up in Oregon but you will be distant relatives to the trees I know.

Lastly, goodbye to my coworkers and to the many volunteers I have met.

“So long and thanks for all the fish.”

– Joseph Steelman (Living Arroyos Lead Intern)

Group photo!

Group photo!



Watering over a thousand holes efficiently requires hundreds of feet of hose and a 500 gallon water tank!

Watering over a thousand holes efficiently requires hundreds of feet of hose and a 500 gallon water tank!


We appreciate our dedicated volunteers!


Breaking down BMX dirt track mounds!


removing invasive plants

removing invasive plants

The Perspective of a Living Arroyos Intern: Jacob Kinney


Last month, the Living Arroyos Program assisted the City of Pleasanton in meeting waste pollution standards outlined in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES): Stormwater Permit. We removed a total of 121 gallons of trash from four project sites located throughout the City of Pleasanton. Our work plan for the day was to visit 4 of our Pleasanton sites, which were newly acquired when the City of Pleasanton became a partner in our program, and pick up any trash that was there. The first three sites our crew visited were (1) Marilyn Murphy Kane “BMX” track (2) Pleasanton West Detention Pond (3) Bernal/Fairgrounds Ditch. Collectively, these sites had relatively small amounts of trash for their size and were a simple clean up. Our fourth site, Vine Street Apartments, was a completely different story. We had visited this site on Vine Street, behind the Las Ventanas apartments, before and we knew that there was going to be a lot of trash to pick up, but we could have never estimated that it would be as bad as it was.

We arrived at the site around 10:30 AM. One of the first things we noticed about the site was the horrid stench. One of my fellow interns described it as smelling like “stale beer”, and I couldn’t disagree with him. So we made our way down the slight hill and entered an area that was densely covered with trees and shrubs. Mixed within those trees and shrubs was an abundance of trash, like I had never seen before. Name any sort of item and there is a high probability that we came across that item. Along with the high variance of items came even more recyclable bottles. I would say there was anywhere between 100 to 200 bottles found, most of which were beer bottles or alcohol bottles (someone has been partying a little bit too hard lately). We maneuvered our way through the trees and picked up as much trash as we could. In an hour, we picked up enough trash to completely fill up two 40 gallon garbage bags. In total we picked up 30 gallons of trash and 45 gallons of recyclables.

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Although removing trash can be strenuous work, it is very beneficial to the community. First off, trash removal creates an aesthetically pleasing environment for anyone interested in walking along local park trails and urban creeks. Secondly, picking up trash near streams prevents trash and debris from entering those streams, which could cause potential harm to wildlife and water quality conditions.

-Jacob Kinney

Living Arroyos intern


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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to help clean up creeks on

Tri-Valley Creeks to Bay Clean-up!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This event is part of Coastal Cleanup Day, a statewide and international effort to clean trash and debris from beaches, bays, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Due to limited space, please pre-register. It’s easy – just choose one of the following cleanup sites, and contact Lynna Allen at to sign up and obtain the required waiver form. Bring the signed and completed waiver form with you to the event.


Cleanup Sites:

  • Site One: Arroyo Las Positas at Northfront Road (near Northfront Trailhead Park)
  • Site Eight: Altamont Creek and Arroyo Las Positas at Bluebell Drive (near former Springtown Golf Course)
  • Site Ten: Arroyo Mocho at Arroyo Road (near eastside of Arroyo Rd. Bridge)

Note: Volunteers under 18 years of age must have the waiver form signed by a parent or guardian. Volunteers under 13 years of age must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. For more details, visit:            



Refreshments and Clean-up Supplies Provided By:



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