|Erosion from rural roads in Santa Cruz County contributes significant quantities of sediment to impaired TMDL listed watersheds.|
Currently, the Rural Roads Program is implementing projects on private rural roads and some state park roads, in the San Lorenzo River, Soquel Creek and Aptos/Valencia Creek, and the lower Pajaro Watersheds of Santa Cruz County on the Central Coast of California. Due to highly erosive soils, substantial rainfall, geologically active (with several fault zones and regional uplift) and steep terrain, the watersheds are susceptible to high rates of erosion. Inadequately constructed and maintained roads within this environment continue to add sediment to the waterways within the watersheds. Sediments contribute direct and indirect impacts to coho and steelhead salmonid populations which are found in the watersheds as well as coastal marine ecosystems that are part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Roads, as a source of sediment input into local waterways, have been researched and well documented over the years in sediment TMDL studies and reports and watershed assessments for all of the mentioned watersheds.