Stillwater Sciences (2008)
Santa Clara River Parkway: Floodplain Restoration Feasibility Study
Prepared for the California State Coastal Conservancy, Oakland, California.
The Santa Clara River Parkway project seeks to ameliorate historical impacts in the lower 33 miles of the Santa Clara River and conserve existing riparian habitats by acquiring and restoring existing habitat and flood-prone property from willing sellers. The Santa Clara River Parkway Floodplain Restoration Feasibility Study was undertaken to assist with the acquisition, management, and eventual restoration of lands within the Parkway.
This report summarizes previous studies and analyses to provide an understanding of physical processes, habitat dynamics, and biological resources (Chapter 2), to assess opportunities and constraints to property acquisition and restoration implementation (Chapter 3), and to describe acquisition and restoration strategies, priorities, and feasibility within the Parkway area (Chapter 4).
For the purposes of this study, acquisition and restoration strategies were evaluated based on several criteria to ensure that implementation would be feasible and appropriate for the lower Santa Clara River. These criteria were used to screen potential acquisition and restoration efforts, which resulted in six primary restoration strategies: (1) acquisition from willing sellers of threatened and/or high-value habitat that is currently prone to regular flooding; (2) levee setback and removal, floodplain recontouring, and floodplain infrastructure modification; (3) active and passive revegetation; (4) non-native invasive species removal; (5) creation of a network of water-quality treatment wetlands; and (6) aquatic habitat enhancements focused on fish passage improvements.
These strategies seek to restore physical functioning and improve ecological conditions, given that watershed-wide impacts of grazing, urban development, instream mining, infrastructure, and surface and groundwater regulation preclude a return to presumed historical conditions.
Feasibility report_FINAL_compressed.pdf (9MB)