Santa Clara River Estuary Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Feasibility Study


This project is the initial step in the SCRE Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Feasibility Study.

The study was developed through the support of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California State Parks, and the Wishtoyo Foundation’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program.

This project was aimed at exploring the feasibility of expanding and enhancing estuarine habitat for steelhead and other native and protected species by restoring up to 40 acres of the estuary by providing lagoon, side channel, contiguous wetland, and/or additional upland riparian habitat in the area currently occupied by the McGrath State Beach Campground.

This preliminary effort, supported by USFWS Agreement No.: 81440-B-J317, focused on preliminary development of estuary restoration concepts, a limited hydrodynamic modeling effort, and initial development of a spreadsheet-based water balance model for the estuary. cbec collected and reviewed existing hydrologic and geomorphic datasets and reports and worked with the project team to develop two (2) preliminary rehabilitation alternatives for the lagoon/estuary.

Each alternative assumed some portion of the campground was relocated,  and without alteration of Harbor Blvd. or its bridge over the SCRE. Rehabilitation alternatives included: increased lagoon area, side channels, wetland/marsh areas, riparian areas and basic grading of the new campground area.

Initial concept sketches and subsequent digital elevation models (DEMs) of the conceptual level alternatives were developed.  A spreadsheet-based water budget model was also developed to estimate potential seasonal lagoon water surface elevations based upon topographic conditions and various hydrologic inputs and outputs previously developed by Stillwater Sciences.



Watershed: Santa Clara River
Project: 14-1001