Pixel Tracker

Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 9:26 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Finishes Upper Arroyo Burro Creek Restoration in Barger Canyon

Project removed 300 tons of concrete from the creek channel and planted vegetation to improve water quality

Santa Barbara finished restoring 4.95 acres of Upper Arroyo Burro creek, hoping to improve water quality for the watershed. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara finished restoring 4.95 acres of Upper Arroyo Burro creek, hoping to improve water quality for the watershed.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The city of Santa Barbara Creeks Division recently finished restoring nearly 5 acres of creek along upper Arroyo Burro in Barger Canyon, which aimed to improve water quality in the area. 

The creek restoration project site is adjacent to single family residences and sits just north of Foothill Road, between Barger Canyon Road to the west and an unnamed private driveway to the east.

The location is open to the public for guided access through restoration events and tours due to steep slopes and lack of parking. 

Restoration work included removing concrete structures and debris, widening the creek and building a new seasonal wetland in the upland area to improve habitat diversity.

The creek channel was widened at the downstream end of the site to expand the riparian and wetland zone.

Creeks Restoration Planner Erin Markey said crews removed more than 300 tons of concrete from the creek channel.

“The existing conditions were somewhat degraded,” Markey said. “We removed the physical structures that were tampering the creek from behaving in a natural manner.”

More than 4,500 native riparian plants and trees were installed at the site to help stabilize creek banks, restore wildlife habitat and improve water quality.

The restoration could improve water quality in upper Arroyo Burro, and downstream as the creek flows through the watershed, into the Arroyo Burro Estuary and Arroyo Burro Beach Park, said Cameron Benson, the city's creeks division manager.

Santa Barbara City Council members, Creeks Division staff and community members cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the Upper Arroyo Burro creek restoration project. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara City Council members, Creeks Division staff and community members cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the Upper Arroyo Burro creek restoration project.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“Our goal was to recreate a healthy, functioning creek system, which will help improve water quality — not just on this property— but also downstream,” Benson said at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning. “This is a significant restoration project.”

Voter-approved Measure B funds funded the $1-million project cost. 

In 2013, the city's Creeks Division purchased the 14.19-acre vacant parcel along Arroyo Burro along with a 1-acre conservation easement on the neighboring property.

An agricultural operation with cattle once occupied the location and then it was used as a citrus orchard. By 2009, it was an avocado farm that was destroyed in the Jesusita Fire.

Benson noted the property remains in a high fire area and thanked local fire departments for their cooperation during restoration project planning.   

A handful of city officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the project completion. 

“This enables us to enhance our watershed — creeks are all connected and all our watersheds are connected,” Santa Barbara City Mayor Helene Schneider said. “It was an innovative project in terms of thinking about what it means to have good water quality and creek restoration throughout an entire watershed.”

The project broke ground in mid-August and the final pieces, the vegetation planting and irrigation system installation, was finished in December, according to the city. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Aerial photographs show development in the Upper Arroyo Burro creek area from 1928 to 2015. Click to view larger
Aerial photographs show development in the Upper Arroyo Burro creek area from 1928 to 2015.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Support Noozhawk Today!

Our professional journalists work tirelessly to report on local news so you can be more informed and engaged in your community. This quality, local reporting is free for you to read and share, but it's not free to produce.

You count on us to deliver timely, relevant local news, 24/7. Can we count on you to invest in our newsroom and help secure its future?

We provide special member benefits to show how much we appreciate your support.

Email
I would like give...
Great! You're joining as a Red-Tailed Hawk!
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.