FNC Ongoing Programs

Friends of Novato Creek is currently active in Novato Creek Watershed protection efforts including: water quality monitoring, habitat monitoring assessment, endangered species protection, public education and awareness, outreach and advocacy and habitat restoration.

Water Quality & BMI Monitoring

B.M.I.Friends of Novato Creek initiated an ongoing citizen water quality program that began in 2006. The programs goals are to establish a baseline of data for water quality in the watershed. Spring studies of benthic macroinvertbrates (BMI) are used as a benchmark to measure habitat health. BMI’s are animals without backbones found in the creeks such as insects, worms and mollusks which live at the bottom of streams and are visible to the naked eye. The type of benthic macroinvetebrates (BMI) found and their frequency indicates the water quality which will sustain different organisms.

Basic water quality parameters are sampled year round in many creeks, tributaries and marshes and include pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity. Pathogen indicators (bacterial levels) are sampled seasonally.

Sedimentation and erosion are negative impacts from human development to the Watershed. The combination of increased storm water runoff from development and reduced natural sediment from the upper watershed has created excessive erosion downstream in the urban areas. This fine sediment from stream bank erosion increases turbidity and decreases dissolved oxygen particularly during winter months. FNC’s Volunteer Creek Monitoring Team welcomes new people, no experience is necessary!

Hikes & Clean-Ups

CLean UpsWe organize various watershed creek walks, hikes, clean up days and kayak trips on the Novato Creek. Get out and explore your local Watershed with a guide who knows the area. FNC organizes 4-5 cleanups per year and arranges trash pickup form the site.

Help us clean Novato Creeks and report areas that need cleanup to the FNC hotline at 883-8339 or novatocreek@earthlink.net. Volunteer to get out with your group or neighbors and adopt an area of the creek to monitor and keep clean. With your help we can clean up our water and improve the creeks for both wildlife and recreation.

Pollution Prevention - Toxics

FNC educates people about the importance of keeping household pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, kitchen oils, grease, solvents and pesticides out of waterways. See the back page of this newsletter for a check list of things you can do to protect your Watershed from hazardous materials.

Immediately report any significant spills of chemicals or toxics to the Novato Fire Department: 878-2011.

Creek Signs and Storm Drain Painting

StencilFNC has installed educational signs on wetlands wildlife areas and selected creeks in the Watershed. Pacheco Pond is the largest of the signs and is one of the best places in Marin to view, paint and photograph local and migrating waterfowl. New signs were installed in the Fall of 2007 at Miwok Park on Novato Blvd., with interesting facts on the Steelhead and the life cycle of Steelhead / Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Novato Creek. Other facts include how we monitor our watershed’s health using benthic macroinvetebrate sampling. New “Protect Our Creeks” signs including the name of each Creek, are being installed at many bridge crossings throughout the Watershed.

Education & Outreach

FNC creates and distributes educational brochures, a Novato Creek Watershed Guide and this Newsletter to help distribute important information about Watershed issues. Topics include: water sampling techniques, types of flora and fauna in the watershed, hikes and points of interest, specialized maps, and specific “how to” training pamphlets for equipment, sampling and protocols.


To participate in a program, call us at 415-883-8339