The Geology of Bear Territory
tour map
Last Stop:
The Campanile

Next Stop:
Wurster Hall

line of stones
Related Links:
Strawberry Creek - Surface Water Quality Program
blue dot EPA Urban Runoff Factsheet
line of stones
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The Regents of the University of California

Strawberry Creek

View of Strawberry Creek (coming soon)

The South Fork of Strawberry Creek provides an example of a stream that, like Hearst Creek, has been greatly affected by human activity. The Creek's water was diverted for campus use during the 1800s, and various types of walls were installed to keep the stream from eroding the campus landscape. It quickly became inhospitable to most kinds of fish and insects. In the years that followed, leaked automobile fluids, lawn fertilizers, chemical waste, sewage overflow, and campus construction projects have variously contributed to the pollution level in the creek.

Because of these problems with water quality, Strawberry Creek was the subject of extensive clean-up and restoration efforts beginning in the 1980s. Native species of fish were reintroduced to the stream in 1989 and newer, more environmentally-friendly types of of technologies were used to control the erosion of Strawberry Creek's banks. Although certain problems remain, including urban pollution, the occasional burst sewer, and ongoing campus construction projects, the creek is much healthier than it was, and students and others in the community continue to monitor it.

Unlike the beheaded Hearst Creek, Strawberry Creek is, at present, only an offset channel. It is still connected to the watershed from Strawberry Canyon, where it has its source. It is being deformed, however, by plate motion, and there is a large bend as the creek crosses the Hayward Fault, though this is obscured by Memorial Stadium. Over the course of time, it can be expected that Strawberry Creek's current course will be abandoned and that other streambeds or low spots in the topography will catch the flow from Strawberry Canyon and Strawberry Creek will carve a new path. The locations of the channels that cross the fault zone - or more accurately, their dislocations - have been used to determine the slip rate of the Hayward Fault, which was found to be on the order of 9mm/yr.