The various creeks and waterways flowing through San Luis Obispo County are vital components of our watersheds. They not only provide our drinking water, but also shelter many special aquatic plants and animals. In order to protect our local freshwater creeks, the plant life in the surrounding land areas must be healthy and robust.

In 2006, we released the Nipomo Creek Watershed Management Plan to address challenges and threats to the natural system. After producing the plan, we identified priority projects and developed relationships with landowners and stakeholders that helped us secure funding to implement the top three projects. All three projects aim to improve water quality and provide important habitat for wildlife. Two of the projects are still in the early phases of planning and design; however, we are currently implementing one project across Nipomo Creek from the Dana Adobe. This project focuses on revegetating the riparian zone along Cat Creek and another tributary in order to benefit wildlife and improve water quality.

The property is located along Thompson Road in Nipomo, across from the Historic Dana Adobe, and is owned by the County of San Luis Obispo. This 100-acre site has historically been used for hunting by the Chumash, and more recently for grazing and crop production. The property will continue to be used as a working landscape while retaining other beneficial uses, such as a migration corridor for wildlife and a network of trails accessible by the public. The goal of this project is to revegetate the riparian corridor with native shrubs and grasses. These native plants provide food and cover for local wildlife, and they also filter out sediment and pathogens from surface water. We are using various restoration tools to complete the project such as biomass removal, mechanical and chemical invasive species treatment, scientific monitoring and broadcasting native seed.

The three Nipomo Creek Watershed projects we are working on are funded through a settlement between regulatory agencies and the Unocal Corporation over a 1997 petroleum spill. Phase I of the current project is showing promise with thousands of native plants beginning to take hold and expand. Phase II is underway now with thousands of native shrubs and plants awaiting placement at the site. With help from various corporations, organization, and private donors, we will be able to completely restore areas along Nipomo Creek for the benefit of the public and wildlife.

Project Partners

  • Unocal Corporation
  • State Coastal Conservancy
  • California Department of Fish and Game: Office of Spill Prevention and Response
  • County of San Luis Obispo
  • Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos
  • Growing Grounds

Support more wildlife restoration projects like this by making a donation to the Healthy Lands Forever Fund.