Our Community, Our clean Water

Protect Our Open Space


Watershed Connections

The unspoiled creeks of South Orange County are essential to the health of local beaches, making them a key but often overlooked contributor to the local economy.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is a collection of streams and creeks that eventually feed into one creek or river. South Orange County development threats focus on two main watersheds, the San Juan Creek and the San Mateo Creek watersheds.

trestles beach

Clean Creeks mean Clean Beaches

The upper San Juan Creek watershed and the whole of the San Mateo Creek watershed are largely unspoiled. These watersheds are the cleanest remaining in Southern California. That's important to people because clean creeks help to recharge underground water supplies and provide clean surf at local beaches. Clean creeks are essential for the health of the region's environment - the loss of natural creeks means the loss of countless recreational opportunities for hiking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.


Development Damages Watersheds, Pollutes Water

Roads and development damage creeks and pollutes beaches. Straightening creeks and lining them with concrete robs our underground water supplies and interferes with the movement of sand from inland to our beaches. Runoff from streets, parking lots and yards brings harmful substances like pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste and motor oil into creeks. These pollutants harm stream life and make people sick when they swim in the ocean.

Aliso Creek

Road Would Take a Toll

The Foothill-South Toll Road would run along much of Cristianitos Creek and then along San Mateo Creek in San Onofre State Beach. The toll road would destroy stream-related habitat, interfere with creek sediment which is key to the surfing quality at Trestles, and pollute the water with motor oil, antifreeze, and brake and tire particles which are particularly toxic to stream life.


Robin Everett
Conservation Organizer
Sierra Club/Friends of the Foothills
949-361-7534 / fax: 949-361-6623