Heath Canyon Roads

heath roads

Heath Creek Road Sediment Reduction

Storm-Proofing of Heath Creek Roads Improves Aquatic Habitat

Unpaved roads can have unanticipated effects upon the watersheds in which they are found because they often concentrate runoff, increase erosion, and can potentially deliver excess sediment into streams. These effects can negatively impact aquatic habitat; however, it is possible to mitigate their influence with the implementation of certain storm-proofing techniques. This was the goal of a project in the Summer of 2010 to reduce the impact of road-related sediment delivery to Heath Creek, a tributary of Sulphur Creek.

Treatment of roughly seven miles of road was able to prevent over 6,000 cubic yards of sediment from entering the creek. Treatments included reshaping of roads to better direct the flow of runoff and rolling dips to disperse water flowing across the road. This project helped to improve an important subwatershed of the Napa River that supports steelhead and provides year-round flows to the Napa river system.

Quick facts:

  • Significance: Unpaved roads are identified as a source of excessive sediment to stream systems in Napa County. Excessive sediment can negatively impact aquatic habitat.
  • Where: Heath Creek, near St. Helena
  • Results: In the Summer of 2011, the RCD and its partners reduced the amount of roadrelated sediment delivery to Heath Creek by over 6,000 cubic yards by treating 7 miles of roads with various storm-proofing techniques.
  • Funds: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Protection Agency, and Napa County Measure A
  • Partners: RCD, Pacific Watershed Associates, Charles Hope Construction, and the Garden Family