Walking Waterhoods: Sausal Creek -- Lower Dimond Park

Walking Waterhoods: Sausal Creek -- Lower Dimond Park

Oakland, California 94607, United States

Created By: Wholly H2O

Tour Information

Sausal Creek winds its way through this dramatic canyon that has seen over a thousand years of human activity. As Europeans moved into the area and displaced the native Ohlone from their land, the area now known as Dimond Park went through several iterations as a recreation area, a Boy Scout camp, and eventually the public park you're here to enjoy right now. This tour will focus on the lower region of the park and cover its flora, fauna, history, and the restoration efforts of tireless volunteers who dedicate themsevles to this particular watershed.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

French Broom (Genista monspessulana) is a perrenial shrub with yellow flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is considered an invasive plant in most places where it has been introduced. In California and the Pacific Northwest, it i... Read more
Rainbow Trout, or steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) got its name from Dr. W. P. Gibbons, founder of the California Academy of Sciences. A keystone species of the Sausal Creek Watershed, they have lived here for many generations. Historically,... Read more
What's that smell? Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) famously spray a smelly mixture of sulfuric chemicals when threatened. You can spot--or smell--them sometimes along the creek in Dimond Park. They are primarily noctural, so you're unlik... Read more
Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) is named after the English ornithologist William Swainson. With white breasts and underwings, along with brown heads, these thrushes can be found all throughout Dimond Park. They are shy but vocal bird... Read more
Found throughout Dimond Park, Pholiota terrestris (there is no common name) is known for its slimy texture and scaly skin. It almost sounds like we’re describing a dragon, but Pholiota terrestris is a common mushroom in California tha... Read more
The Sausal Creek restoration began at Dimond Park in 2014 as a collaborative effort between FOSC, City of Oakland and Alameda County Flood Control District. In order to fulfill their goals of preventing streambank erosion, restoring or remo... Read more
The Dimond family sold 12 acres of their land to the City of Oakland Parks Department in 1917, and it later became Dimond Park, home to Boy Scout Troop 10. The adobe building that housed the troop was built by Hugh Dimond for his son, Denni... Read more
The remains of the oldest oak tree in Oakland can be found next to the old Boy Scout Headquarters in Dimond Park. Dennis Dimond, the son of Hugh Dimond, built the headquarters and used this nearby oak tree to hide bottles of champagne in th... Read more
Just outside of the Boy Scouts Headquarters sits an old bell and an engraved plaque describing the history of the building. The bell was originally used in a car barn building and was eventually used in the headquarters of Dimond Volunteer ... Read more
The small, brown Flatheaded mayfly nymph (Heptageniidae), sometimes called the “crabwalker mayfly”, has a flattened head that helps it live in fast-flowing waters. A nymph is an immature insect that lives in water, looks like the adult ... Read more
Red-flowering currants (Ribes Sanguineum) are a flowering plant native to the western U.S and Canada. Here in Oakland, the plants bloom during spring and summer. Red-flowering currants produce berries in the fall and are visited by hummingb... Read more
At this point, the creek flows through a culvert and continues underground for about 100 feet before reemerging. The creek passes under a relatively large, open grassy space near the Dimond Park restrooms. There is a sidewalk placed above t... Read more
Flame skimmers (Libellula saturata) are eye-catching dragon flies with vibrant orange and amber coloring (though the males are usually brighter!). They are active daytime fliers that can be found near slow waters. They are predators of smal... Read more
Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) are prevalent across the US. The specific form found throughout Dimond Park is the "Oregon" junco. Other juncos have different colorings, from all-gray to gray with pink or white splotches, but an Oregon ju... Read more
In the 1800s, much of the land around Sausal Creek belonged to one man, an Irish gold prospector and successful businessman named Hugh Dimond (1830–1896). Sometimes called the “Western Prince” for his generous spending, Dimond was a c... Read more
Sausal On My Mind, a mural painted in 2008 by Dimond Rec After School program, with Ace Arts and Kristi Holohan, displays some native species of the Sausal Creek Watershed.
The small honey ant (Prenolepis imparis), sometimes called the false honey ant or winter ant, is dark brown to black with a smooth and shiny body. Common in coastal states such as California, they are considered invading ants as they’re o... Read more
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) is an annual flowering plant native to the Andes from Bolivia to Colombia. This fast-growing plant has yellow, orange, or red flowers approximately 2 inches wide, and round green leaves from 1 to 6 inches in di... Read more
Miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is an annual flowering plant native to regions of the west coast of North America. It is most often found in winter and early spring in shady spots associated with a wide variety of vegetation types, f... Read more
Golden Milkcaps (Lactarius alnicola) are small-medium, vanilla colored mushrooms with sticky caps that can grow up to 7 inches. The stems are characterized by yellow-brown spots and have been known to grow up to 5 cm long. This fungus has a... Read more
Black witches' butter (Exidia glandulosa), also known as black jelly roll or warty jelly fungus, is a common, wood-rotting jelly fungus that's typically found on dead branches of diciduous trees. It's shiny, black, and blister-like, and gro... Read more
How many fungi you're likely to see on your walk depends on how much rain we've been getting. Often found in clusters in wood chip or mulch piles, the Mulch fieldcap (Agrocybe putaminum) is a common mushroom here in Dimond Park. Mulch field... Read more
As the urban population of Oakland grew throughout the 1910s and 1920s, increased development along the banks of Sausal Creek left little room for natural shifts in flow. This limited the creek’s floodplain space, leading to an increase i... Read more
Oak winter highflier moths (Hydriomena nubilofasciata) can be found in and around oak trees in both the daytime and nighttime. They can be difficult to identify given that they can present with a wide variation in coloring and patterning, b... Read more
This is the Friends of Sausal Creek's inaugural project. In 1996, volunteers removed invasive ivy vines and acacia trees to establish this 15,000-square-foot California native plant demonstration garden. This garden promotes use of native p... Read more
The world around you is hugely affected by tiny, unnoticed creatures. Some insects even perform activities that would seem human. Stonefly nymphs (Plecoptera) are found in cool, clean water in sections of Sausal Creek under heavy canopy co... Read more
Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) are prevalent across the US. The specific form found throughout Dimond Park is the "Oregon" junco. Other juncos have different colorings, from all-gray to gray with pink or white splotches, but an Oregon ju... Read more
If you happen to spot a flat oval beetle in the water, it could be an adult diving beetle! The diving beetle (Dytiscidae) can be found in freshwater or on vegetation in the water as both an adult or a larvae. Larvae tend to feed on mosquito... Read more
There is a break here in the trail because of El Centro Avenue. On the other side of this road is a trail marker for Dimond Canyon Trail. This marker includes a large map of all the trails in Dimond Park along with a sign welcoming you and ... Read more
Common flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) are common around the world and many can be found near the Dimond Canyon hiking trail marker. These flies are grayish and have horizontal black stripes along their bodies with red compound eyes. As per the... Read more
Western tiger swallowtails (Papilo rutulus) can be seen enjoying the Annual honesties at this point along Sausal creek. These butterflies are a very bright yellow with black stripes on their bodies and on both sides of their wings, not to b... Read more
After passing the Dimond Canyon hiking trail marker, this is the first point of access to the creek. Up until this point, the trail is elevated above the creek and access to the creek is prevented by fences and bushes. If you get down to th... Read more
This is a perfect pit stop because stumps and tree trunks have been laid out on top of a flat gravel area for people to sit and relax, without disturbing delicate life forms of the area (but you might sit on some fungusor tiny bugs). A grou... Read more
Creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) grows along the trail a considerable distance from the creek. These can be seen growing in cluster clinging to the hillsides. The flowers have 5 yellow petals and 3 clover shaped leaves. The leaves o... Read more
Annual honesty (Lunaria annua), native to Europe, is an annual or biennial (takes 2 years to complete life cycle) flowering plant. Called Silver Dollar, or Money Plant, these plants can grow up to 3 ft tall. The leaves of an annual honesty ... Read more
Here is a mini bridge that was built because of a gap in the trail casued by rainwater eroding the hillside. This wood bridge is right in front of a rocky channel in the hillside that likely funnels large amounts of rainwater over the trail... Read more
Keep your eyes on the ground,and you might see the state bird of California, the California quail (Callipepla californica), also known as Valley quail. This highly sociable bird often gathers in small flocks known as "coveys." It is a plump... Read more
Originating from the North African coast, Algerian ivy (Hedera algeriensis) can be found here covering a large fallen tree. It has large green leaves and reddish stems. This plant is often used in California in order to control soil erosion... Read more
Common water striders (Aquarius remigis) are a species of aquatic insect. Water striders have 3 sets of legs, 2 of which are used to propel themselves across the surface of the water while the front set is used to catch prey. These bugs are... Read more
California Voles (Microtus californicus) are found along the Pacific Coast of North America. They average 7 inches in length, with much variety in size, and are sometimes mistaken for mice. Coats range from gray to brown, with reddish marki... Read more
Originally named the 'Sausal Creek Arch Bridge' when constructed in 1926, the Leimert Bridge was once the largest single-span bridge on the west coast. The structure was designed by engineer George A. Posey, who also designed the Posey Tube... Read more
From 1939-1940, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) began multiple projects along and in Sausal Creek. These projects were with a goal of controlling and subduing the creek's flow. They built this concrete "flume" that runs down the hil... Read more


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