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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Conservation Partners Plan for Salmonid Recovery in San Vicente Creek Watershed

San Vicente Creek, located by Davenport, while small in size provides a number of important benefits including providing water supply to Davenport community, unique karst geology underlying the majority of the upper watershed, and providing year round access to and from the ocean for CCC coho salmon(Oncorhynchus kisutch) and CCC steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). For this reason, fisheries enthusiasts have long been invested in recovery efforts in San Vicente Creek. However, much of the past fisheries restoration and recovery work within this watershed has happened without a larger plan that brings together all of the existing data on the physical and biological processes and outlines crucial projects for salmonid recovery.

With a vested interest and long history of working in this watershed, the Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Santa Cruz County, with funding from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grants Program, and in partnership with agency staff, including Big Creek Lumber, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Swanton Pacific Ranch, Sempervirens Fund, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and local technical experts have recently completed a Salmonid Recovery Plan for the San Vicente Creek Watershed. The plan includes a number of watershed assessments, including fisheries, large woody debris, invasive species, hydrology and geomorphology and culminates in recovery recommendations for the next decade.

With the recent long awaited acquisition of the Coast Dairies Property by the Bureau of Land Management, the completion of the plan comes at an opportune time. The coast Dairies property includes the lower portion of the San Vicente Creek Watershed. In 2012, the CEMEX forestlands, that includes the upper watershed, was sold to a coalition of conservation organizations including the Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, the Sempirvirens Fund, and the Nature Conservancy collectively known as the Living Landscape Initiative. While much of the watershed is owned by private entities, 61% is protected by conservation easements. Landowner partners have provided the project team with unprecedented access to nearly 90% of the watershed and to their internal archives and data. This level of cooperation and access significantly enriched and informed both the objectives and methods for the assessments as well as interpretation and ground-truthing of the findings.

The RCD, local landowners and partners continue to plan next steps for implementing recovery actions outlined in the plan.

For additional information or questions about the project please contact RCD Conservation Specialist Sooni Gillett at . Get a copy of the Plan here.

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