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Volunteer OpportunitiesCreeks Division

Community involvement in Creeks Division activities is essential to the long-term health of our creeks and beaches, and volunteer events provide a great opportunity for interested community members to learn more about our programs and the local environment.

To plan an event with your business or organization, please contact Liz Smith at (805) 897-2606.
Learn more about potential volunteer projects below:

Storm Drain Marking

Top: Old damaged plastic storm drain marker. Bottom: New metal storm drain marker.There are approximately 1500 storm drain inlets in the City of Santa Barbara, all of which lead directly to our creeks and ocean untreated! To help remind community members about this important connection, storm drain markers were installed throughout the City in 2001.

The old plastic markers have deteriorated over the years due to sun damage and collecting dirt and pollutants. While there have been ongoing staff and volunteer efforts to replace the markers, in 2012 staff decided to upgrade to more durable metal markers.

In 2013, the Creeks Division began working with community volunteers and local businesses and organizations (including the Levi's Store, the Watershed Stewards Project, and Horny Toad Clothing) to install new markers throughout the City.


The Creeks Division administers the California Coastal Commission's Adopt-a-Beach Program in the City of Santa Barbara. Get involved in existing Adopt-a-Beach activities by contacting the organizations below, or contact Liz Smith at (805) 897-2606 to learn more about adopting a beach of your own! 

Beach  Adopter 
West Beach Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
East Beach at Mission Creek Lagoon Urban Creeks Council 
Arroyo Burro Beach (East of Arroyo Burro) Starbucks Coffee (Cliff Drive)
East Beach Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center
East Beach at Sycamore Creek Umbra


Creek Clean-Ups

Each Fall, the Creeks Division (along with a few community volunteers) conduct intensive clean-ups of local creeks within the City in an attempt to remove trash and debris before the rainy season washes it all out to the ocean. If you're interested in getting your feet wet (literally... but we'll provide waders for you), we generally need 1-2 hard working volunteers to join us for a half-day or full-day effort.

If you are interested in organizing a creek clean-up for your business, organization, or as a community service project, we are happy to work with you and provide materials (bags, gloves, etc.) and help you choose a suitable location.

Native Planting Events

The Creeks Division hosts native planting events throughout the year at creek restoration project sites and other creek side stewardship sites. Some of these will take place during our annual Creek Week celebration in September.

Community Creek Stewardship Sites

The Creeks Division has identified a number of sites along local creeks that provide opportunities for small community creek clean-up and restoration projects. Volunteer opportunities at these stewardship sites consist of trash removal, non-native plant removal, and planting of native plants and trees. After the initial restoration efforts have been completed, continued maintenance of the site is necessary and consists of watering new plants, weeding invasive non-native plants, mulching, and trash removal.

Community members install native plants at a Community Creek Stewardship project on Sycamore Creek at Cacique StreetSycamore Creek at Cacique Street

The first Community Creek Stewardship project was located on Sycamore Creek at Cacique Street. Thanks to funding from Santa Barbara Beautiful, native plants were purchased, and during two community work days in 2004, the sites were cleaned up and planted with native plants. Additional funding from Santa Barbara Beautiful provided more plants for the summer of 2005. The Creeks Division has worked with various groups to continue clean-up and planting efforts at the site, including local elementary school students through the MERITO program, and the Looking Good Santa Barbara annual community clean-up.

Mission Creek at Vernon Road

Residents and staff agreed that the first Community Creek Stewardship Project along Mission Creek should be an effort to clean-up the creek corridor along Vernon Road. Non-native vegetation was trimmed and removed. Overgrown vegetation was cleared and the creek bank was replanted, followed by a neighborhood celebration in 2005.

Community members install over 400 native plants at a Community Creek Stewardship project on San Roque Creek at Stevens Park

San Roque Creek at Stevens Park

In 2006, the Creeks Division teamed up with the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Santa Barbara Beautiful to develop and implement a Community Creek Stewardship Project and native plant demonstration garden on San Roque Creek at Stevens Park. Over a series of community planting days, more than 75 neighbors, volunteers and students planted over 400 native plants (California Natives List & Creekside Natives List).

Sycamore Creek at Liberty Street

To expand Community Creek Stewardship efforts along Sycamore Creek, the Creeks Division sponsored creek clean ups and planting days near Liberty Street in 2004 and 2005. Volunteers removed trash and exotic weeds and planted a variety of native plants and trees. As part of an after-school program, Franklin Elementary School students made weekly trips to the creek to water and care for the plants.

Please Note:  All participants in volunteer events must sign the City's Hold Harmless & Indemnification Agreement. If participant is a minor, their parent or guardian must sign on their behalf.

Last Updated: Apr 7, 2022
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