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Preparing for the Rainy Season
If you have any questions or need additional assistance regarding rainy season preparation, please contact the Maintenance Services Division at (510) 215-4369 or by email. If there is an emergency and City offices are closed, please contact Police Dispatch at (510) 233-1214. 

Sand Bags Available to Residents
In order to help prevent flooding due to stormwater runoff from public right of ways, El Cerrito and Kensington residents can obtain up to 10 sandbags per household from the Recycling & Environmental Resource Center at 7501 Schmidt Lane. The sand pile and bags are available for El Cerrito and Kensington residents only. Empty bags can be picked up from the Recycling Center Office at 7501 Schmidt Lane, Monday through Sunday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. Please bring proof of residency. The sand enclosure is now in a new location inside the El Cerrito Recycling & Environmental Resource Center. You will need to fill the bags yourself, but shovels will be provided. Sand is available on a first-come first-served basis. In the event of a major predicted storm, additional sand will be made available after hours in the old location outside the Recycling Center gates.

Storm Drain Grates, Catch Basins, Gutters, and Drainage Systems
If you have a storm drain grate in the street near your home or business, check it frequently during heavy rains to make sure it is not blocked with trash or leaves.  Make sure that the gutter in front of your home or business is kept clear of any impediments that would restrict the flow of storm water.  Cut back any vegetation that spills over the edge of the curb, clean out drain pipes underneath driveway approaches and do not allow soil, loose material, or debris to get into the gutter area.  If you have a drainage system on your property, make sure it is functioning properly and that surface run off and/or roof down spouts are not directed onto your neighbors yard which could cause flooding on their property.  If you observe a catch basin that is not draining or needs to be cleaned, contact the Maintenance Division at (510) 215-4369 or by email.

Maintenance of Creeks on Private Property
If you have a creek (or other open watercourse) on your property, it is your responsibility to maintain the portion that lies within your property boundary. If it contains debris or overgrown vegetation, it poses a flooding risk for you, your neighbors, and anyone living downstream from you.

The Public Works Department recommends the following guidelines for maintaining a creek on your property: 

Remove all debris and foreign object, including bottles and cans, construction debris, fallen tree limbs, and any other litter. We recommend storing outdoor furniture and other backyard items at least 10 feet away from the top of the bank to avoid anything washing into the creek during a heavy storm. Sheds or other small structures closer than 10 feet from the top of the bank should be anchored to the ground.

Cut vegetation along the creek banks up to the top of the bank (flood line). This includes shrubs, tules, pampas grass, cattails, and bamboo, but not low ground cover. Do not clear-cut the creek slopes. If you cut a plant, cut it at the ground level, but leave the roots in the ground. Remove hanging vines that could block the natural flow of water. Trim berry vines to the top of the bank.

Prune back any tree limbs hanging within two feet of the top of the bank. Prune from the creek banks up to the top of the bank (flood line). If there are trees growing within the stream channel that could cause an obstruction to the flow of water, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for direction. A single, living tree with a diameter of 2-inches or greater need not be removed, provided it is not leaning toward the creek. If you do cut a tree, cut it at the ground level, but leave the roots in the ground.

Any work to alter a creek requires a permit. Widening, filling, or dredging requires permits from the City, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

These diagrams illustrate the above guidelines and are provided by the Contra Costa County Public Works Maintenance Division