Clean Lake Initiative

The City contracts with the non-profit Lake Merritt Institute to remove litter along the shoreline, maintain trash booms and aeration fountains, provide education for schools and businesses, and coordinate volunteers in these activities.

Posted: September 24th, 2018 10:36 AM

Last Updated: January 20th, 2021 8:00 PM

Lake Merritt, home to the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States, is a tidal lagoon located in the heart of Oakland. It is surrounded by walking paths, gardens, a bird sanctuary and other amenities.

Lake Merritt's unique hydrology is affected by daily tidal flows and receives water from over 60 storm drain outfalls. Over 4,650 city acres drain into Lake Merritt, bringing urban runoff from streets, sidewalks, parking lots and lawns.

Through the Clean Lake Initiative, the City is partnering with the non-profit Lake Merritt Institute to mitigate the impacts of this runoff. Under contract to the City, the Lake Merritt Institute is responsible for litter removal along the shoreline, maintenance of trash booms and aeration fountains, outreach to schools and businesses to reduce urban runoff, and coordination of volunteer activities.

For information on how you can volunteer in these efforts, please visit

In addition to the Clean Lake Initiative, several capital improvement projects are underway at and around Lake Merritt. These projects will improve water quality and access to recreational opportunities. Visit the Measure DD website for information and updates.