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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Assessing channel morphology following a floodplain restoration project : Wildcat Creek, Richmond, CA


Following settlement in the 1940’s along the Wildcat Creek floodplain, reoccurring flooding drew attention to the need for flood control in the area. Four decades later, a flood control and riparian restoration project was completed in 1989; however, the project design proved to be a failure, and lateral migration of the creek caused continued flooding within the community. Approximately twelve years later, an improved channel design and restoration project, including a defined low-flow meandering channel, was completed. Since this time, flooding within the community has not occurred, and the channel geometry has been reasonably stable. We surveyed two cross-sections along the channel floodplain and compared channel geometry to recent and baseline surveys conducted following the original construction. Our results indicate a gradual buildup of sediment on the floodplain since the 2000 restoration project. Within the main channel, however, deepening has occurred, indicating a reversal from sediment accumulation to sediment removal and transport. We draw conclusions about the natural sustainability of the channel and discuss the implications for management and maintenance strategies.

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