cusp logoCalifornia Urban Streams Partnership

Mission: California Urban Streams Partnership is an organization of local, regional and statewide groups working to protect, restore, and steward urban streams and watersheds in California. California Urban Streams Partnership advocates for the improvement of wildlife habitat, the return of functioning ecosystems, and the betterment of urban environments and quality of life.

photo showing a creek in deep banks, soil stabilized with jute netting

History and Activities: The members of California Urban Streams Partnership have a thirty year history (since 1982) of pioneering in organizing, funding, designing, constructing, and evaluating urban stream restoration projects. Alliance members have made nationally significant innovations in restoration that successfully demonstrate alternatives to conventional engineering practices which have relegated many urban streams and rivers as concrete and riprap-lined channels. This new generation of urban stream projects often provides multiple benefits; they can: reduce flood risks and damages, bring native fish populations back to cities, result in ecological restoration, and restore business districts and neighborhoods. A few notable examples include: the restoration of the San Luis Obispo Creek and business district; restoration of the Napa River and its downtown; the protection and restoration of Tecolote Canyon as a natural area of San Diego; the transformation of Dry Creek and Linda Creeks in Roseville as greenway amenities for the community; and the restoration of salmonid habitat and migration corridors in multiple areas such as Mission Creek, Santa Barbara and Putah Creek, flowing though Davis and Winters.

Starting in the early 1980s, the urban streams movement also pioneered environmental projects in disadvantaged communities. Examples of these efforts include: the award winning, Wildcat Creek flood risk reduction-restoration project in North Richmond; creek projects in the Oakland flatlands; and the organizing of national networks reaching the Cities of Portland, New Orleans, New York, Chicago and Atlanta.

Our alliance members introduced the practice of “daylighting” streams that were buried in culverts to serve as sewers, by excavating and restoring them as ¬†features of urban parks and¬† downtown areas.graphic depicting floodplain improvement plans Napa Creek in the City of Napa and Strawberry and Blackberry Creeks in the City of Berkeley are early examples of creeks once buried and now serving as parks.

Many projects incorporate volunteer stewards from the community and involve youth employment training programs, such as local and state conservation corps.

Who We Are

The Partnership was formed in 2012 by the founders, former staff members, and past board members of the Urban Creeks Council to revitalize the urban streams movement in California. The Partnership is a project of the Earth Island Institute and administered through a Statewide CUSP Steering Committee, a San Francisco Bay Area CUSP Steering Committee, the Sacramento Urban Creeks Council, and the Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council.

Statewide Steering Committee

San Francisco Bay Area Steering Committee

Advisory Board


© 2013 California Urban Streams Partnership and Earth Island Institute