A long-term post-project evaluation of an urban stream restoration project (Baxter Creek, El Cerrito, California)
Post-project evaluation and monitoring of stream restoration projects are rarely conducted, and long-term evaluations are even less common but are needed in order to gage the success of a project and to determine the time scale of biological recovery in the system. This study is a 5-year comparison to an initial post-project assessment completed in 1999 that evaluated an urban stream restoration project in Poinsett Park (El Cerrito, California). The results of this study found that habitat quality differed spatially between reaches, but was temporally similar in 1999 and 2004 with slight improvements at the restored reach in 2004. The biological assessment in 2004 found no improvements in ecological condition of the biotic assemblage compared to 1999. This lack of improvement may be attributed to the detrimental and limiting effects of a highly urbanized watershed. It is also possible that the aquatic communities successfully colonized the restored reach within the 2 years following the completion of the restoration project in 1997. A survey of the neighborhood residents indicated that, overall, they were pleased with the restored creek site 7 years after the completion of the project. Approximately half of the residents that moved to the neighborhood after the restoration project was completed were unaware that this segment of creek was previously underground. Long-term evaluations of restoration projects can help managers and designers of future projects determine the timeline of the success of a project.