Copeland Creek Restoration

Step into SSU’s Outdoor Laboratory
March 13, 2019
Group of Volunteers after a day of working on the creek
Cleaning up Copeland Creek
Group of Volunteers after a day of working on the creek
Cleaning up Copeland Creek

Wait a minute… there’s a creek on campus?! For those of you who don’t know exactly where Copeland Creek is located, it runs right under the footbridge on the north side of campus next to Cabernet Village.

When the creek leaves campus, it empties into the Laguna de Santa Rosa -  the largest freshwater wetland on the northern California coast.

Copeland Creek is facing alot of challenges including siltation, poor water quality and invasion by non-native species. Despite these issues, the creek is still home to huge range of animal and plant life. Students, faculty and community partners are working together to mount a restoration effort. Their goal is to create sustainable diverse habitat. 

“The issues facing Copeland Creek are a microcosm of issues surrounding water in the region," says Wendy St John, faculty in Biology and GEP, who is coordinating the restoration effort. "Here is a laboratory for students across campus to understand these issues first hand.”

And students are leading the charge. Clubs, such a JUMP and Friends of Copeland Creek, and classes in Biology and GEP are doing the restoration and monitoring work. They remove non-native species, plant native species, and study the effects of those changes on creek shape, plants, wildlife movement and aquatic insects.

SSU Facilities, SSU Center for Environmental Inquiry, and community organizations are partners on the project. Point Blue, a Petaluma non-profit focused on sustaining healthy wildlife and human communities, is working with students to do the restoration in a way that improves the resilience of the habitat to climate change.

The restoration project is funded through the Waters Collaborative by the Sonoma County Water Agency

Get Involved

  • Contact Wendy St. John to get your class involved in studying the creek. She is interested in getting more classes involved, including those in political science, the arts, business, education, and more.

  • Through iNaturalist you start contributing today! iNaturalist is an app that lets everyone (no skills necessary) help track of the diversity of species on the creek. Download the app or visit the website.

You can see that Copeland Creek cuts through campus!

Drawn map of Sonoma State