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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Floodplain reconnection and sediment capture at Chorro Flats, San Luis Obispo County: Post-project appraisal one decade after construction

  • Author(s): O'Reilly, Clare
  • Pollak, Josh
  • et al.

The Chorro Flats Floodplain Reconnection project in Morro Bay, California is referred to as a successful restoration project because of the thorough planning process and consideration of geomorphic processes in the project design. The Chorro Flats project was part of a suite of projects in the Chorro Creek watershed intended to reduce the sediment load into Morro Bay, a highly productive estuary threatened by an increased rate of infill. In this paper, we present a post-project appraisal one decade after construction. We evaluate the project through several research questions that examine floodplain reconnection, sediment capture, geomorphic changes, and post-project monitoring. Due to a convergence of fortuitous factors and thorough planning, the project achieved sediment capture through floodplain reconnection. In addition, the project achieved its secondary goals to develop in-stream habitat and a healthy riparian zone. We found that monitoring efforts were difficult to replicate, and that continued monitoring of the project is essential to evaluate the lifespan of the project and potential downstream impacts.

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