San Pedro Creek is an urban waterway that drains San Pedro Valley County Park through residential development to its outflow at Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar beach), at the southern end of the City of Pacifica.
Though impacted by agriculture and development for at least 200 years, the creek still had a yearly steelhead run until channelization and erosion severely reduced the fish’s ability to migrate upstream. The lower reaches of the creek were prone to flooding, causing repeated damage to neighboring homes and businesses. The City of Pacifica undertook restoration of several reaches of the creek and the beach around the creek mouth to restore native habitat, reduce flooding, and improve their aesthetic appeal. Go Native was responsible for collecting watershed-specific native seeds and plants, designing and installing irrigation and erosion control, planting and maintaining the re-vegetated areas.
San Pedro Creek is now much improved for Steelhead, with the major impediment to upstream migration removed and the estuary re-established. The watershed is greatly improved, both functionally and esthetically.
Go Native collected native seeds and cuttings from within the San Pedro Creek watershed and from Pacifica Beach dunes. These plants were propagated in our greenhouse and planted after construction work, erosion control and irrigation installation were complete. During the course of the restoration, over 170,000 plants were propagated and planted.
A stretch of creek including the major blockage to steelhead migration was re-graded by creating a series of weirs. Before earth moving was undertaken, the stream flow was diverted into a pipe which circumvented the work area. Go Native installed water tanks, feeding irrigation pipe to water the planted areas. We monitored and maintained the irrigation until the plantings were established.
To protect the re-contoured channel and plantings, Go Native installed biodegradable erosion control matting and wattles. In some areas, grids of willow stakes, or “green rip-rap” were installed to stabilize the stream banks. In conjunction with the San Pedro Creek Alliance, Go Native has led a series of hands-on workshops demonstrating how to install willow grids for erosion control in riparian areas.
Linda Mar Beach is part of the State Parks system, maintained by the City of Pacifica. As part of the City’s master plan to improve beach facilities, Go Native undertook habitat restoration of an estuary at the San Pedro Creek mouth, and dune restoration of the adjacent beach. Go Native has supported the ongoing efforts of the San Pedro Creek Alliance and Pacifica’s Environmental Family to restore the native flora with donations of riparian and coastal dune plants.
Areas of unstabilized back dune were covered with erosion control fabric to control shifting sands until native plants could become established. Historically, one of the major sources of sand loss was drifting onto Highway 1 with subsequent removal by CalTrans. A swale was constructed along the highway, planted with willows and other wetland/dune plants, and irrigated with urban runoff that was historically discharged onto the beach. This low-lying area now traps most of the blowing sand before it reaches traffic, and allows it to remain in the dune system.
Go Native restored native dune plants, many in conjunction with volunteer groups. Volunteers from Pacifica’s Environmental Family and GGNPC worked together to re-establish natural dunes covered with site-specific native plants.