Floodplain Restoration

Chorro Creek Ecological Reserve

In 2003, the Estuary Program helped to secure a 320-acre piece of property located at the base of Hollister Peak along Chorro Creek with the support of the State Coastal Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) among others (CDFW now manages the site). This part of Chorro Creek had been leveed and the historic floodplain was largely disconnected, meaning that the creek had limited natural area to overflow into during storms. The main objectives of this project were to reconnect the floodplain and reintroduce vegetation along the creek banks to provide better, more functioning habitat for steelhead and other sensitive aquatic species.

In January 2023, a series of storms hit San Luis Obispo County, leading to extremely high stream flows throughout the Morro Bay watershed. A rain gauge near the center of the Morro Bay watershed recorded over 9 inches of rainfall between January 1 and 24. The Chorro Creek Ecological Reserve performed as designed, giving the high flows room to spread out and slow down to reduce the amount of sediment carried to the bay.  For more on the January 2023 storms, check out this blog.

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