East Bay Watershed Master Plan

Resource documents

Both the clean and redline versions of the East Bay Watershed Master Plan are posted below. Hard copies are available upon request by calling the District Secretary's office at 510-287-0404.

East Bay Watershed Master Plan

Briones Reservoir covers 725 acres in Contra Costa County and is owned and operated by EBMUD for raw water storage.

Briones Reservoir covers 725 acres in Contra Costa County and is owned and operated by EBMUD for raw water storage.

About 28,000 acres of watershed lands in the East Bay provide needed protection for EBMUD’s high quality drinking water, while offering habitat for plants and animals – as well as a natural haven for the public to enjoy. These lands surround five reservoirs (Briones, San Pablo, Upper San Leandro, Chabot and Lafayette) and one basin that does not contain a reservoir (Pinole Valley).

The new plan proposes changes to address issues that have arisen since the first plan was adopted in 1996, such as climate change, invasive mussels and toxic algae. It also incorporates plans for habitat conservation, grazing and fire protection, and considers changes to recreational access programs and options for limited access to specific watershed trails by cyclists. 

EBMUD held a public meeting on August 15, 2016 to review and discuss the public draft of the East Bay Watershed Master Plan that guides the management of tens of thousands of acres of land and water resources in the East Bay. Staff gave a brief presentation on the master plan and proposed changes, and approximately 60 members of the public provided comments on issues including:

  • Discussion of a proposed pilot program to allow mountain biking on four trail segments totaling about 10 miles of EBMUD trails
  • Suitability of different trail types (single track vs. fire roads) and locations for possible mountain bike access
  • Protection of plant and natural resources in particular along the Skyline Trail segment where there is an abundance of native plants.
  • Benefits of mountain biking to youth
  • Safety issues regarding steep trails or blind curves, and potential for conflicts between various trail users
  • Comments asking EBMUD to increase removal of eucalyptus trees along Grizzly Peak Boulevard.
  • Requests to limit or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides on District land and not remove existing eucalyptus and Monterey pines
  • Desire for connectivity of mountain bike trails, particularly on the Bay Area Ridge Trail

EBMUD expects the process for the master plan update to continue through the end of the year. The updated master plan may provide needed flexibility to incorporate some version of bike access with the approval of the EBMUD Board of Directors. The mountain biking pilot project is separate from the master plan and the specific schedule is not yet determined.

Regarding the question of herbicide use, Monterey pines and eucalyptus, the master plan does not call for the continued and expanded use of toxic herbicides on the watershed, or the destruction of Monterey pine and eucalyptus trees. The forest management practices on EBMUD East Bay watershed lands in effect since 1996 exemplify our approach to non-native forest management. Eucalyptus and Monterey pine groves are managed to protect public safety, reduce wildfire hazard, protect surface water quality and enhance biodiversity. EBMUD does not use herbicides to kill stumps or manage regrowth. The Master Plan update does not change existing language or existing practices which have been in place for 20 years.

Next steps 

Staff will review and consider the input from the public meeting and comments received during the review period. EBMUD will revise the East Bay Watershed Master Plan for EBMUD board consideration later in the fall.

Staff will specifically consider edits to the master plan to clarify the very limited scope of tree management on the stands of Monterey pine and eucalyptus, and to update language pertaining to Integrated Pest Management. If the master plan is revised to allow for consideration of bicycle access to some trails, then a plan for providing that access would follow after adoption of the updated plan.

The date for the next presentation to the EBMUD Board of Directors will be posted on the website once it has been scheduled.

Below are links to the District's IPM Guidelines and the relevant chapter from the District's Environmental Compliance Manual. Both of these documents are currently being revised and updated.

Document Type Size
EBMUD Regulatory Compliance_IPM Section7_10 PDF <1 MB

Below are links to Bay Area Ridge Trail maps showing the proposed trail segments under consideration for mountain bike access.