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Adopt A Channel

Click the logo for a YouTube Video on the Adopt A Channel Program.

What is the Adopt A Channel Program?

OC Public Works operates and maintains more than 350 miles of regional flood control channels in Orange County.
These channels provide a vital service protecting life and property by conveying stormwater runoff to prevent flooding of nearby communities. Along with controlling stormwater runoff, these channels also collect trash and debris and are subject to graffiti. Please follow the map link to find a channel that you may be interested in adopting
The main objectives of the Adopt A Channel Program are to improve the physical appearance of these channels and to increase awareness and commitment to keep our channels, creeks, bays and ocean clean. Adoption provides community stewardship for these important resources and, in return, Adopters are recognized for their contributions through signage and other means. 

What would my organization do as a channel adopter?

Adoption may include some or all of the following activities:

  • Trash and Debris Removal: removing trash and debris on an as-needed basis. The frequency of trash and debris removal is based on the length of time it takes litter to accumulate at the Adoption Site. At a minimum, weekly inspections of the Adoption Site shall be performed, and trash and debris removed on an as-needed basis.
  • Graffiti Abatement: painting over graffiti as needed. Turnaround time for graffiti removal is based on the location of the Adoption Site. For example, a highly visible location will require more frequent attention than a structure in a less visible location. Regardless of location, graffiti of an obscene nature must be removed as soon as possible. Paint color and turnaround time for graffiti removal shall be determined by OC Public Works.

How will my organization benefit by becoming an Adopter? 

Community Investment -The primary benefit to adopters is demonstration of community investment and setting an example for other organizations, businesses and residents within the community to take ownership of our water resources.  Channel adoption encourages employees, residents or other organizations to become involved. This partnership can then be taken out of the workplace and into their everyday lives.

Helping the Environment - Each Adopter has the opportunity to positively impact our waterways by improving water quality at our beaches while providing a healthier habitat for wildlife living within our channels.

Public Recognition - Imagery associated with the Adopt A Channel program is still under development, however it is anticipated that each adopter will be granted license for its use in media. The ability to place signage along an adopted segment of channel is also being explored as a potential form of recognition. Annually, thousands of visitors and residents will see your organization’s name supporting an important environmental issue.

How long is the commitment to Adopt A Channel?

An Encroachment permit is issued for a period of one year. A minimum one year commitment to an Adoption Site is required. Provided the Adopter has satisfactorily met the terms of the existing encroachment permit and the Adoption site remains suitable for adoption, a Successive encroachment permit will be automatically issued unless the Adopter notifies the Program Coordinator that it does not wish to renew the Encroachment Permit at least 60 days prior to expiration.

Can organizations use volunteers or contractors for channel cleaning efforts?

Yes. Adopters can use volunteers and/or contractors to conduct Adopt A Channel efforts; however, all contractors must receive approval from OC Public Works prior to beginning work.  OC Public Works will assist potential adopters to identify which would work best for their organization.

I’m interested in adopting a channel, what is the next step? What if I need more information?

OC Public Works is available to answer your questions and to get started in the channel adoption process. Please follow the map link to find a channel that you may be interested in adopting. Information regarding channel characteristics, such as access, concrete vs. earthen bottom, high vs. low volume of graffiti, etc. will be provided when you click on a channel of interest. Feel free to contact us using the form below:

OCPW - Watersheds - AdoptAChannel Contact Form

  Please enter the word above in the space below