California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Northern CA PPSR Projects 1

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

Contra Costa Volunteer Creek Monitoring Program

Organization Name
Contra Costa Watershed Forum
Organization Website
Contra Costa Clean Water Program (
Contact Name
Michelle Luebke, Watershed Monitoring Coordinator
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Other Contact Information
Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

The information gathered by volunteers is used for a variety of purposes:

  • to assess the current conditions of Contra Costa County streams
  • to compare stream health to state water quality standards
  • to calculate water quality and biological integrity indices
  • to serve as a baseline for comparison in future studies
Participant Activities

1. Bioassessment: Using aquatic insects as indicators of water quality, volunteers learn more about the health of their neighborhood creeks and identify potential problem areas. Community members, local college students, and volunteer groups can help collect specimens for identification.

2. GPS Creek Surveys: Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, volunteers monitor the current conditions of their neighborhood creeks. In the summer and fall adventurous volunteers wade into local creeks, mapping the physical attributes of the stream channel (substrate, canopy cover, bank characteristics, etc.), extent and type of native and invasive vegetation, and human influences (outfalls, dams, etc.).

Data Entry
  • Collection Kits
  • Other
Other Participant Activities

A third component of the CCFF program is the Assistance and Resource Center: The Watershed Monitoring Coordinator can provide assistance to groups in Contra Costa County who are involved in creek monitoring activities.  Equipment can be borrowed from the program (when it isn't being used by the program) and technical assistance is availiable to provide help with data collection activities.

System Studied
  • Water Quality
  • Invertebrates
  • Wetlands - Freshwater Streams and Marshes
Geographic Scope
Contra Costa
Watersheds and creeks in Contra Costa County
Location - Map
30 Muir Road, Martinez, CA 94553
Time Commitment
  • Specific dates (see Other Information below)
Volunteer Qualifications
Volunteer Training
Cost to Participant
How will the findings be used?

The data gathered through the program are available for use in various projects, and is useful to many parties, from resources managers to community organizations:

Other Information
last update:

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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