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 FranciscoSan Francisco International Airport[2]
In this aerial view of South San Francisco, Colma Creek is seen crossing west–east beneath the Caltrain tracks and U.S. Route 101.

Colma Creek is a small creek that flows to the San Francisco Bay from its source in the Crocker Hills portion of San Bruno Mountain State and County Park, north of San Mateo County's Guadalupe Canyon Parkway,[3] with contribution from April Brook on San Bruno Mountain proper, south of the Parkway.[4] It flows southwest and makes a 90 degree bend in Daly City to flow southeastward, through Daly City, Colma, and South San Francisco to the bay, its small delta is between South San Francisco and the San Francisco International Airport.[2]

The creek has a tributary stream named Twelvemile Creek, which joins it from the southwest along Westborough Blvd. in South San Francisco.[4]

The upper bridge across Colma Creek on the Bog Trail, San Bruno Mountain State and County Park, looking into the headwaters in the eucalyptus grove above


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; 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.[3] 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.[5]

Watercourse gallery[edit]

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 "Colma Creek Restoration Plan, Shelterbelt Builders, Inc".
  4. ^ a b "Colma Creek Watershed". Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  5. ^ "San Mateo County Department of Public Works". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-16.