Landslide Preparedness

OakDOT Landslide Resources and Information

Posted: August 29th, 2023 9:29 PM

Last Updated: September 5th, 2023 2:01 PM

Landslides encompass a range of geological phenomena characterized by the rapid downhill movement of rock, soil, and other debris. These events vary widely in scale and impact, ranging from small, localized occurrences to significant and destructive incidents that affect landscapes and communities.

One of the most common causes of landslides is heavy and/or prolonged rainfall, which saturates the soil and increases its weight. As soil becomes saturated with water, it can become unstable and increasingly susceptible to sliding. Human activities can also play a significant role in exacerbating landslide conditions. As the steep Oakland hills have seen development over the years, the increase of impervious surfaces can increase and concentrate stormwater flows and increase stormwater velocities. Formerly open areas now contribute higher stormwater runoff rates that can destabilize hillsides, creek banks, and other areas.

Oakland’s Department of Transportation provides engineering services related to landslides and other issues adversely affecting the City's right-of-way. This includes road stabilization, sinkhole repair, retaining wall construction, landslide backfill and compaction, repaving, and addressing other road-related challenges resulting from severe weather, particularly heavy rainfall.


Please report landslides and other active infrastructure emergencies to OAK311 by dialing 311 (within Oakland) or (510) 615-5566. Emergencies can include landslides, downed trees or tree limbs, stormwater flooding, sanitary sewer overflows, and other roadway obstructions or hazards, and street signal outages. Non-emergencies can be reported online:

For downed power lines or if you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately. Once you are at a safe distance, call 9-1-1 or PG&E at (800) 743-5000.

For water service emergencies (e.g., no water service, broken hydrants, broken water main pipes) please contact East Bay MUD at (866) 403-2683.

How Residents Can Help

  • Check & clean private drainage systems, including roof gutters & downspouts.
  • Keep curbs, gutters, and sidewalks free of leaves & debris.
  • Do not place soil, leaves, debris, or lawn clippings near storm drains inlets.
  • Place leaves & green trimmings in your green cart for weekly pickup.
  • Keep natural waterways such as creeks & ditches free from obstructions.
  • Do not obstruct access to storm drain inlets with vehicles or other items that reduce flow into the City’s storm drainage system.
  • Report flooding problems to Oak311 by dialing 311 or (510) 615-5566.

Volunteer Opportunities

The City’s Adopt a Spot program relies on volunteers to assist with keeping storm drains in their neighborhood free of debris. By keeping storm drains clean, volunteers can help prevent flooding of streets and sidewalks while allowing the City to focus storm-response activities on the most critical problems. Before heavy rain events, volunteer adopters can request supplies such as sandbags and plastic sheeting. Remember, “if it is plugged, it will flood.” To adopt a storm drain, visit or call (510) 238-7630.

What can I do to protect my property?

  • Check your roof, rain gutters and chimney for holes, and clear debris and clogs prior to storm events.
  • Check pipes that discharge water from your property to ensure they are in good condition. Ensure water is channeled to adequate drainage facilities and that it is not discharged onto neighbors’ property or at the top of a slope where the water could cause erosion and land instability.
  • Shore up low-lying areas with sandbags to direct flood waters safely away from your home and other structures.
  • Implement erosion control best management practices. Maintain vegetation on steep slopes, cover bare soil with erosion-control materials, and do not implement grading work during the rainy season (roughly October 15 – April 15).
  • If you have a creek on your property, please keep the channel free of debris to allow stormwater to flow unobstructed. It is also important to protect vegetation on the creek banks to prevent erosion and landslides. Work in a creek channel, other than litter and debris removal, requires a Creek Protection Permit (for more information please visit
  • If you are a renter, discuss any issues with the property manager.
  • If you are concerned about your drainage system, creek, or slope, contact a professional for advice and assistance.

Other Resources: