One of SPAWN’s most ambitious habitat restoration project yet, the “Lagunitas Creek Floodplain and Riparian Restoration Project” was able to re-create lost floodplains and native riparian forest for one of California’s most important populations of endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout, as part of an effort to reverse the decline of the species statewide.
In partnership with the National Park Service, SPAWN restored floodplains along Lagunitas Creek that had been lost to development. In total, over 13,000 cubic yards of fill and concrete was removed from the riparian corridor that had restricted the creek and reduced the amount of floodplain habitat. Through removal of the fill and cement retaining wall, side channel, alcoves, and floodplains were created to offer important opportunities for coho salmon to spend time feeding and rearing during high flows. This project also installed numerous pieces of large woody debris — some of which were anchored to boulders, others were unanchored, and some were living. These large floodplains, side channels, and large woody debris structures helped achieve off-channel habitat and water quality goals. This project resulted in the creation of both perennial and seasonal side channels, which are not only home to coho salmon and steelhead, but also provide habitat for California freshwater shrimp, California red-legged frog, and myriad other wildlife species.
This project was funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Water Resources Control Board, National Park Service, and Turtle Island Restoration Network. Engineering and design was provided by Environmental Science Associates and construction was done by Hanford ARC and SPAWN.