SFEI scientists Sean Baumgarten and Scott Dusterhoff will present findings from the Lower Walnut Creek Historical Ecology Study at the Quadrennial Contra Costa County Creek and Watershed Symposium, to be held on December 3, 2015, at the Pleasant Hill Community Center. The event is anticipated to draw a large and diverse audience of community members and stakeholders, including numerous local elected officials, and will feature presentations and panels addressing a range of issues pertinent to watershed management in the County.
SFEI’s historical ecology research on lower Walnut Creek will create a picture of the wetland habitats that once existed in the area and will ultimately contribute to the development of short- and long-term multi-benefit management strategies that can benefit both habitats and people. The study, funded by the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, is one component of Flood Control 2.0, a regional effort to help integrate habitat restoration and creation elements into flood control channel redesign at the Bay margin.
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During the mid-19th century, the lower Walnut Creek watershed was a landscape dominated by extensive wetlands, meandering creeks, and grassy plains. The marshes, sloughs, and meadows provided habitat and food for a huge number of wildlife species ranging from grizzly bears and elk to clapper rails and steelhead. Over the past 150 years, urban development, diking and filling of wetlands, and channelization of streams has resulted in dramatic changes to the watershed, and much of the historical habitat has been lost.
Flood Control 2.0 is an ambitious regional effort aimed at helping restore stream and wetland habitats, water quality, and shoreline resilience around San Francisco Bay. The project leverages local resources from several forward-looking flood control agencies to redesign major flood control channels so that they provide both future flood conveyance and ecological benefit under a changing climate. This timely project will develop a set of innovative approaches for bringing environmental benefits and cost-savings to flood protection efforts at the mouths of creeks that drain to San Francisco Bay.