The Santa Clara River Parkway project
Conservation lands managed by The Nature Conservancy in the Santa Clara River Parkway area as of June 2006. Adobe PDF (385kb). Brian Cohen/The Nature Conservancy.
In 2000, the California State Coastal Conservancy proposed the establishment of the Santa Clara River Parkway after discussions with river corridor landowners and local governments. The primary goal of the Santa Clara River Parkway Project is the acquisition and restoration of floodplain lands within the Santa Clara River corridor. Land acquisition is being conducted on a willing seller basis, with the initial focus of the project on the lower river, where a number of parcels have already been acquired (approximately 2,400 acres covering 10 miles of river length).
Approximately 6,000 acres are planned for eventual acquisition in the lower river corridor. The Coastal Conservancy has partnered with The Nature Conservancy's LA-Ventura Project to acquire, manage, and restore Parkway lands. Future management of Parkway lands is expected to be carried out under a joint powers agreement between the Coastal Conservancy, Ventura County and the cities of Oxnard and Ventura.
Governor Gray Davis provided initial funding of $9.2 million, as appropriated by the legislature, to the Coastal Conservancy for land acquisition and planning. As currently envisioned, the Parkway project will result in the acquisition and restoration of a 25 mile-long corridor from the mouth of the Santa Clara River to the Sespe Creek confluence.
Goals of the Parkway Project
The Parkway was established to achieve three goals:
- restore hydrologic and geomorphic processes that create and maintain habitat for endangered and threatened species;
- provide enhanced flood protection for adjacent private land and public facilities;
- facilitate public access and environmental education, including the creation of a continuous public trail system along the length of the Parkway.
Initial planning for Parkway management and restoration has begun, with the funding of the Santa Clara River Parkway Floodplain Restoration Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study is designed to assist the California State Coastal Conservancy and its partners with the development of restoration and management strategies for lands acquired within the lower Santa Clara River corridor.
Top image: mapping of historical flood effects along the lower Santa Clara River, using aerial photography from 1938-2005 (Stillwater Sciences).