Alhambra Creek

Alhambra Creek is a stream in Contra Costa County, California in Northern California which drains into the Carquinez Strait by way of the historical Arroyo del Hambre. Alhambra Creek and its valley take their name from Cañada del Hambre, Spanish for "valley of hunger", apparently because of some unknown incident involving starving Spanish soldiers. The name appears on diseños repeatedly and appears on an 1842 land grant, Rancho Cañada del Hambre y Las Bolsas. Although technically Alhambra Creek only refers to the upper section of 2 miles (3 km), and the United States Board on Geographic Names in 1943 confirmed Arroyo del Hambre as the name for the lower creek, Mrs. John Strentzel, John Muir's' mother-in-law, did not like the name and renamed the lower creek also as Alhambra Creek. Currently the entire creek is commonly called the Alhambra Creek, and Arroyo del Hambre Creek and Franklin Creek are considered its two tributaries. The Alhambra Creek Watershed covers approximately 16.5 square miles (43 km2) in north central Contra Costa County and encompasses a portion of the city of Martinez. The combined branches flow through Briones Valley, valleys containing open space, wildlife habitat, residential and commercial areas, through downtown Martinez and then discharge into the Carquinez Straits through a tidal wetland at the Martinez Regional Shoreline.

Alhambra Creek originates in the hills of Briones Regional Park. The water flows from a tunnel in the side of the hill. This tunnel was made years ago to try to tap into what the speculators thought was a vast underground river that came from the Sierras. The thought was that the lagoons on Briones Crest represented a vast underground store of water. This “aqueous mother lode” turned out to be illusory, so the tunnel was abandoned. The linear distance from the source to the mouth of Alhambra Creek is about 6 miles (10 km). For the first 2 miles (3 km), Alhambra creek descends from about 1,100 feet (300 m) elevation to 200 feet (60 m). At this point, it is joined by Arroyo del Hambre Creek, which comes from a source at an elevation of about 900 feet (300 m), 3 miles (5 km) to the west. Arroyo del Hambre Creek is joined by several tributaries, among them Vaca Creek, on its way to join Alhambra Creek. Franklin Creek joins Alhambra Creek about 2 miles (3 km) below the confluence of Alhambra and Arroyo del Hambre Creeks. Franklin Creek drains a subwatershed of roughly the same size as the combined Upper Alhambra and del Hambre basins. It originates about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of its confluence with Alhambra and flows southeast through Franklin Canyon then bends to the north to flow through the John Muir National Historic Site and joins Alhambra Creek between Walnut Avenue and Alhambra Way. There are no reservoirs and no heavy industry in the watershed. An oil refinery is located just over the ridge to the east, and two railroads and a freeway cross the watershed.

Read more about Alhambra Creek:  Beaver in Alhambra Creek: Past and Present, Human History and Development, Geology, Habitat and Conservation

Other articles related to "alhambra creek, creek":

Alhambra Creek - Habitat and Conservation
... Two plant communities each comprise about half of the Alhambra Creek watershed, Coastal Oak Woodlands on north and east facing slopes and California Annual Grassland on drier high ... The grasslands of the Alhambra Creek watershed support a wide array of wildflowers as well ... The coast live oak woodland of the Alhambra Creek watershed also supports at least one mountain lion, which feeds upon the deer that live there ...
Martinez, California Beavers
... The Martinez beavers are a family of beavers living in Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez, California ... populations have increased in diversity along the Alhambra Creek watershed ... washed away the beaver lodge and all four dams on Alhambra Creek in March 2011 ...
Martinez, California Beavers - Controversy
... In late 2006, Alhambra Creek, the creek that runs through the City of Martinez, was adopted by two beavers ... A keystone species, the beaver have transformed Alhambra Creek from a trickle into multiple dams and beaver ponds, which in turn, has led to the return of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus ... traskii), the first recorded sighting of the perch in Alhambra Creek, and the December arrival of a pair of Hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) (see photos) ...

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