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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Post project evaluation, Miller Creek, California : assessment of stream bed morphology, and recommendations for future study


Miller creek is located in Marin County, California, and runs east from Big Rock Ridge through the Laws Gallinas Valley and into the San Pablo Bay. The Miller Creek watershed has been grazed continuously since the 1800s, and the creek has experienced sever widening and down cutting as a result. The miller Creek restoration Project, located in the Lucas Valley Estates subdivision and designed and built from 1979 to 1989, employed a multi-stage channel approach to restore and protect a riparian corridor through the subdivision, and prevent further lateral migration of the creek bed. In this study, the authors compared surveyed cross sections to drawings of the original channel conditions and the designed channel conditions, to determine channel response to the restoration activities. They also conducted a qualitative evaluation of the habitat quality within the project reach, and of vegetation establishment. They found that within the floodplain, the stream is evolving in a natural manner, with erosion of some banks and deposition on the flood plain. In some stretches, however, the stream bed is flat, shallow, and exposed, with no morphological complexity and poor habitat value, These conditions may be the result of poor survival rates of planted vegetation and naturally recruited seedlings.

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