Strawberry Creek - Geomorphology

Strawberry Creek's varied geomorphology and substrate composition provide habitat complexity which encourages and enhances species diversity. For example, young Sacramento Suckers prefer to live in shallow, gravel bedded areas, while adults prefer to live in deep pools and spawn in gravel bedded reaches. Sticklebacks, on the other hand, can spawn in sand or gravel (McGinnis, 1984).

The geomorphic condition of Strawberry Creek on the UC Berkeley campus is typical of urban streams. Both forks are partially culverted upstream from and on the central campus. Over the past 150 years, peak flows increased with channelization and urbanization of the watershed as the area of impervious surfaces increased, preventing rain from infiltrating and instead causing runoff to flow directly into the creek. Increased peak flows and channelization caused the creek to downcut, and become less geomorphologically complex. Since 1889, 54 check dams have been installed on both the North and South Forks throughout central campus to help prevent further incision. About 400 linear feet of creek bed on campus is completely cemented (not including underground culverts). Very little of the creek is allowed to meander because the banks and/or bed are either cemented or downcut, confining the creek to its existing channel.

Nevertheless, portions of the creek retain a relatively natural structure within the constraints of urbanization and the creek provides habitat for flora and fauna that have returned since restoration began in 1987.

This page provides data and reports on the Strawberry Creek geomorphology.

Historical Data and Reports: