Colma Creek

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Colma Creek
CountryUnited States
CitySouth San Francisco
Physical characteristics
SourceNorthern San Bruno Mountain
 - locationSan Mateo County[1]
 - coordinates37°40′27″N 122°27′29″W / 37.67417°N 122.45806°W / 37.67417; -122.45806
MouthSan Francisco Bay (Pacific Ocean)
 - location
San Mateo County[1]
 - coordinates
37°38′40″N 122°23′33″W / 37.64444°N 122.39250°W / 37.64444; -122.39250Coordinates: 37°38′40″N 122°23′33″W / 37.64444°N 122.39250°W / 37.64444; -122.39250
 - elevation
0 ft (0 m)
 - locationSouth San Francisco-San Francisco International Airport[2]

Colma Creek is a small creek that flows toward the San Francisco Bay from near San Bruno Mountain. The source starts north of the Guadalupe Parkway.[3] It flows down southwest and makes a 90 degree bend to flow southeastward. The creek loses elevation as it flows through the cities of Daly City and Colma, and continues to lose elevation until reaching the bay. Its small delta is just in between South San Francisco and the San Francisco International Airport.[2] The creek has one named tributary stream named Twelvemile Creek.[4]


The large delta the creek once supported was an important stop for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. However, like many urban creeks, Colma Creek has been surrounded by flood control walls, buried in some parts, and had much of its large delta filled in by developers. Most of the lower parts of the creek are devoid of native vegetation due to the flood control project, reducing the habitat of the endangered California clapper rail and other species that use the creek. The headwaters of the creek are lined with non-native trees like eucalyptus, cypress, and Himalayan blackberry, displacing the native riparian plants like dogwood and willow.[3] The creek sometimes runs dry due to the non-native vegetation lowering the water table at the source. In 2005, Shelterbelt Builders developed a habitat restoration plan to return the creek to its former state by removing invasive and non-native plants and replanting native, riparian plants at the source.[5] In addition, in South San Francisco, new wetland was created to mitigate wetland lost to floodwall construction and improvements. The California clapper rail is expected to reinhabit the new salt and freshwater wetland, along with other species displaced by the flood control works.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Feature Detail Report for: Colma Creek (San Mateo County, California)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. January 19, 1981. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Colma Creek, USGS San Francisco South (CA) Topo Map". USGS Quad maps. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  3. ^ a b Google Earth images.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  5. ^ "Colma Creek Restoration Plan, Shelterbelt Builders, Inc".
  6. ^ "San Mateo County Department of Public Works". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-16.