The Beginning of Restoration
Despite engineers’ attempts to control erosion with check dams, riprap and concrete reinforcement, the problem did not improve. In 1985 the UC Berkeley’s Environment Health and Safety office initiated restoration movement to search for long-term solutions to the creek’s polluted waters. Shortly there after, Robert Charbonneau began working for EH&S and collected extensive data about the creek and watershed area. Through his rigorous investigation, Charbonneau discovered several sources of contamination in the creek. His water sampling tests spurred many sewer repairs over the following years.
Following Charbonneau’s findings, Vice Chancellor Boggan established the Strawberry Creek Environmental Quality Commission. This committee allowed the restoration movement to move to the next level, breaking through several bureaucratic roadblocks. In 1988, the first biotechnical solution to erosion along the creek bank was installed near Stephens Hall (where the creek’s path was artificially altered decades earlier). The installation consisted of native vegetation integrated with a redwood cribwall, which was much more durable and cost effective than its concrete equivalent. During this phase of the project, the creek was also restored to its original stream channel. One year later, the Charbonneau and the creek committee successfully re-introduced a native fish population into the creek—the three-spined sticklebacks.
For a more detailed description of this phase of restoration work, please read Strawberry Creek, The Making of an Urban Creek, and Restoring the Creek, by Robert Charbonneau