The Sausal Creek area is an ethnically and socially diverse section of Oakland. The creek runs through many different neighborhoods. One of the challenges facing the project is getting the various sects of the community to work together in the restoration process.
In 1995, Henry Baltazar, a UC Berkeley student majoring in Environmental Sciences, evaluated the Contra Costa County Teachers Action Grants Program (CCCTAG). The CCCTAG program was designed by SFEI’s Education department to implement unique teaching programs into Bay Area schools. The purpose of Baltazar’s study was to examine whether or not the results of the 1994/1995 CCCTAG projects met the criteria established by the sponsors and administrators. He evaluated according to the following criteria set by the Contra Costa Clean Water Program: pollution prevention, sustainability, community involvement, in-kind services, and publicity. Baltazar discovered that while most projects made some progress in fostering community awareness, problems arose in terms of allocation of funds and efficiency.
Denise Hall, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, interviewed community members to find out their issues concerning Sausal Creek. She did this study in 1995, right before SFEI initiated the Sausal Creek Watershed Awareness Program in January 96. The issues she studied included access to and use of the creek, creek restoration, and city involvement. Hall found that, in general, people felt that the City of Oakland’s involvement was crucial to the project. However, many were skeptical as to whether city officials would adequately address their concerns.
Sausal Creek runs through two adjacent sections of Oakland: Fruitvale and Lower Hills. The two areas are socially and ethnically different. According to the 1994 Housing and Population Trends report, the populations are roughly the same, Fruitvale having 40, 016 persons and Lower Hills containing 37, 857 persons. However, the ethnic breakdown of each community varies. The data is shown below.
The demographics illustrate how ethnically diverse the areas are. This issue should be taken into account in terms of how to approach the problems pertaining to Sausal Creek. After all, it is very likely that these different ethnic groups have different priorities.
The purpose of my study was to examine whether the people participating in the program represent the community at large. I used surveys to determine the representation of various ethnic groups.
Overall, I found that the ethnic make-up of the program meetings was similar to that of the Lower Hills area. These results would be understandable if they only applied to the Dimond Library meetings, since that library is in Lower Hills. However, even at the Sanborn Park meetings, the overwhelming majority of people were Caucasion as well. This result does not correlate with the demographics of the whole Fruitvale population.