For generations, farmers on California’s Central Coast built up the banks of Chorro Creek to keep it from flooding their fields. But redirecting the creek had other consequences, too: Enormous amounts of sediment collected in the low-lying floodplain, reducing the creek’s water flow and threatening the habitats of the California red-legged frog, steelhead trout, and other protected wildlife.
This $1.5 million project for The Bay Foundation restored that natural floodplain and critical Morro Bay watershed, on what is now the 580-acre Chorro Creek Ecological Reserve. As the owner’s representative, Precision performed an independent cost analysis, administered the public RFP process, assisted with contractor selection, and managed all construction and restoration.
A total 33,600 tons of earth were moved during the project, which also included dismantling part of a levee system. The concrete was removed and recycled, while more than 24,000 cubic yards of sediment was relocated upland. “This project is a big win for Morro Bay and Los Osos residents,” said Lexie Bell, executive director of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. “It helps keep harmful sediment out of our bay and brings this part of the creek back to a healthy, natural state so that steelhead and other wildlife can thrive.”
Other construction activities included site clearing, excavation, topsoil salvage, placement of base and final grading of 1,000 linear feet of side channel and floodplain, grading of 1,000 linear feet adjacent to the existing side channel, improvements to at-grade crossings and side channel connections to the main stem, and application of erosion control measures. All disturbed areas were reseeded with native plants.
The project – more than 20 years in the making — was completed on time and on budget in the summer of 2020.