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Resilient Landscape Vision for the Calabazas Creek, San Tomas Aquino Creek, and Pond A8 Area

Bayland-Creek Reconnection Opportunities

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Resilient Landscape Vision for the Calabazas Creek, San Tomas Aquino Creek, and Pond A8 Area by Katie McKnight
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Over the past 150 years, lower Calabazas and San Tomas Aquino creeks and their attending baylands have been heavily modified for flood control and development. Most of the tidal marshes were leveed and converted to salt ponds in the mid-to-late 19th or early 20th century, and levees were also built on the banks of Calabazas and San Tomas Aquino to contain flood waters. Over time, the historical habitats on the valley floor were converted to agricultural, residential, and industrial uses, leading to a highly modified landscape. These changes have caused impacts to wildlife, high maintenance costs, and an overall decreased resilience to sea-level rise due to loss of baylands and reduction in sediment supply. In an effort to rethink the way we manage the interconnected Calabazas-San Tomas Aquino creeks-baylands system, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (District) is seeking new management approaches to restore and support natural processes and ecosystem functions while decreasing maintenance needs, improving flood conveyance and water quality, and supporting tidal marsh adaptation with sea-level rise. At the same time, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSPRP) is interested in reconnecting creeks to nearby restored tidal marshes, a key recommendation of the Bayland Goals (2016) report. To integrate and advance these goals, this report outlines a multi-benefit landscape vision to reconnect Calabazas and San Tomas Aquino creeks to Pond A8 to benefit both flood management and wetland habitat restoration. This Vision is an element of the EPA-funded project Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands, which aims to integrate watershed planning and redevelopment with baylands restoration to create healthier and more resilient aquatic systems and communities. This Vision is the first step in exploring the potential that exists for multi-benefit design solutions around the Bay to reintegrate natural processes at this complex location for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Release date Australia
June 15th, 2018
Illustrations, color
San Francisco Estuary Institute
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