Storm-Proofing of Sulphur Creek Roads Improves Aquatic Habitat
Poorly constructed roads can lead to many detrimental 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 markedly degrade aquatic habitat; however, it is possible to mitigate the damage through the implementation of certain stormproofing techniques on roads affecting watersheds. The goal of a 2009 to 2010 project was to reduce the impact of road-related sediment delivery to the Sulphur Creek watershed. Treatment of roughly 3.2 miles of road was able to prevent over 7500 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 initiative helped protect an important subwatershed of the Napa River that supports steelhead and provides year-round flows to the Napa River system.
- Significance: Roads around Sulphur Creek were causing increased erosion and sediment delivery to the stream system, which in turn resulted in degraded aquatic habitat.
- Where: Sulphur Creek watershed, located in St. Helena
- Results: From 2009 to 2010, the RCD and its partners reduced the amount of road-related sediment delivery to Heath Creek by over 7500 cubic yards by treating 3.2 miles of roads with various storm-proofing techniques.
- Funds: California Department of Fish and Game, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Scannell Properties Inc., the Clean Water Act, and Napa County Measure A
- Partners: Pacific Watershed Associates