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San Pedro Creek, photo of segment of the Capistrano Fish Passage stream bed restoration project.

San Pedro Creek (Spanish for: St. Peter) is a perennial stream in the City of Pacifica, San Mateo County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area which runs from the Santa Cruz Mountains in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area through the San Pedro Valley, which it formed through erosion to its mouth near Shelter Cove of the Pacific Ocean[1] The river has eight sources and three major branches. Draining a watershed of eight square miles, the stream is also home to the only steelhead habitat for 25 miles between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, supporting fish of up to two feet in length. Historically, the lower portions of the stream has been modified according to the local land uses, initially agriculture, and in the 1950s suburban. This involved straightening of the stream and elimination of wetlands and the landfill of a lake at the lower western zone. These changes, coupled with an increase of impermeable surface in the watershed has caused an increase in peak runoff levels and flooding.[2]

Contents

Pollution

In 1999, a group Pacifica residents formed the nonprofit San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition, with the goal of protecting and enhancing the health of the San Pedro Creek and watershed. Their activities include monitoring, restoration, adaptive management, and education programs. The monitoring program has joined with a monitoring program of the Environmental Protection Agency, started in 1998, to track and identify sources of pollution in the creek. A year 2000 comprehensive study, in cooperation with the San Francisco State University Masters program reviewed the in-stream chemical, physical and biological qualities of the creek. A key finding of the study was that fecal bacteria levels in the North Fork and Main Stem of San Pedro Creek significantly exceeded the acceptable levels of exposure for recreation per the State of California and the EPA. The recreation use level is pertinent due to the recreational uses, including surfing, as the creek enters the Pacific Ocean at the mouth.[3]

The highest pollution levels were found during the wet season and were located at downstream sites during the highest during runoff events. The dominated pollution was E. coli traced to avian sources, but also significant association with dogs, human, horse, raccoon and deer. During the dry season the ratio of sources still was primarily avian, but raccoons and dogs become more dominant.[3]

Restoration Projects

In 2005, the City of Pacifica completed a Capistrano Fish Passage restoration of the 1,300 feet of stream bed, including the restructuring of the Capistrano Bridge culvert. The improved culvert, in addition to a system of weirs and pools restored the ability of juvenile fish to travel upstream through this portion of the creek in 2005.[4]

In light of the historical problem of flooding, with large damaging floods occurring in 1962, 1972 and 1982 the City of Pacifica completed an ambitious five million dollar five year reconstruction project for the lower segment of San Pedro Creek in May 2005. This San Pedro Creek Flood Control Project which, in conjunction with the renovation adjacent stretches of the Pacifica State Beach, won the top national award from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association for the year 2005. [5]

37°35′47″N 122°30′21″W / 37.5963262°N 122.5058095°W / 37.5963262; -122.5058095[6]

See also

External links

References

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