Creek Restoration

Creek Restoration

Many residents of Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley, and Woodside live in developed areas on hillsides.  As increasing amounts of these previously natural areas have been landscaped and hardscaped to accomodate residences, more and more of the natural springs and creeks that served to channel rainwater downhill have been diverted and aggregated into fewer and fewer cement channels.  These cement channels, most of which were originally installed over 50 years ago, can serve the purpose most of the time of funneling run-off rain water away from homes. However, they are rather unsightly and they were not designed to accomplish other important environmental needs.  For example, they have no capacity to absorb water.  Most channels have no run-off areas to provide a place forNapa River Restoration natural overflows during high rains.  The design of the channel, constructed of cement, fail completely to support natural habitats for indigenous species.  Unfortunately, channeling the water has not produced great results and portions of Atherton suffer from increasing amount of flooding during our winter rainy season.

For these reasons and more, more towns are beginning to look at restoring native creeks and building in better absorptive capabilities upstream, along with overflow areas, so as to minimize flooding, increase the health of surrounding habitats and increase the amount of water that is recharged into the local aquifers, rather than funneled down hill and into the bay.  The Atherton Conservation Trust is beginning to look at what it will take to restore creeks in town, much like was done in Portola Valley.  As further inspiration, we are studying what was done in Napa with the Napa River Rutherford Reach Restoration project, a very ambitious project.