If your property has a creek or a waterway flowing through it, it is your responsibility to maintain it. Typically private property extends to the center of the creek and not just to the fence line. These privately owned creeks are an important part of our county’s drainage system and are regulated by County ordinance, but they are not maintained by the County.
When the creek area is not properly maintained, the resulting obstructions can lead to increased flooding, changes in the course of the creek, and increased erosion. Proper creek care includes removing blockages (whether natural or man-made) that could cause flooding, keeping banks vegetated to prevent erosion, preventing pollutants from entering waterways, and removing trash to help maintain a healthy watershed. It is imperative that the work be conducted in such a manner that it will not adversely affect the natural habitat of vegetation and wildlife that share the creek with us, and in a way that will preserve the beauty of our creeks.
As a property owner, you are legally responsible for damages to adjacent property that result from neglect or unpermitted activities on your property. You are also responsible for the actions of your gardeners, landscapers, maintenance workers and contractors. It is against the law to block drainages within the County and illegal to cause discharges of pollutants to our creeks and waterways.
If your property is located in an unincorporated area of the county and you are unsure of your responsibility regarding the maintenance of a particular drainage facility on or near your property, call the County Public Works Department at (925) 313-7000. If your property is located within the city limits, please call your city Public Works or Engineering Department.