$6.4 million Butano Creek (CA) restoration to revive salmon runs & boost flood resilience

Butano Creek is a principal river in San Mateo County, California. The 15-mile river carries a large amount of stormwater runoff from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, after joining the Pescadero Creek delta at Pescadero Marsh.

Just as an abysmally short commercial salmon season concluded in the region, federal officials recommended a $1.4 million grant toward a creek restoration project aimed at rejuvenating the dwindling species and reducing flooding in Pescadero.

Fish die-offs and road closures have plagued the coastal area for years, prompting a local nonprofit to begin a dredging and sediment reuse project along a nearly 8,000-foot stretch of riparian habitat.

The Butano Channel Restoration and Resiliency Project will not only bolster one of the most ecologically significant watersheds in the area, it will also benefit nearby residents and businesses often inundated by flooding, said Kellyx Nelson, executive director of the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District, or SMCRCD. The district is leading the $6.4 million project and Nelson noted she’s pleased a collaborative push is making these improvements possible.

County, state and federal representatives have been advocating for the Butano Creek project with a similar mix of funding slated to support it. On July 14, 2017, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it’s recommending a $1.4 million award from its 2017 Coastal Resilience Grants program. In June, the state solidified a $4 million contribution, and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors may soon consider offering $1 million.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, represents the rural town and urged NOAA to allocate funding for the restoration project. Not only would it help reduce fish kills and support protected species, it “will also enhance coastal resilience by re-establishing the creek channel, offering relief from the chronic flooding of Pescadero Creek Road, which causes tremendous hardship in the rural town of Pescadero,” Eshoo wrote to NOAA officials in support of the federal funding.

Eighteen other research projects that protect life and property, strengthen the economy, and restore coastal and marine resources received a total of $13.8 million in funding through the 2017 NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants program.

Photo credits: Butano Creek Nature Preserve.

See article by Samantha Weigle in the Daily Journal.

See Butano Creek Nature Preserve website.

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