Creek Lands Conservation is implementing designs to modify an aging stream gauge on Arroyo Grande Creek. With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Creek Lands Conservation is leading efforts to lower the stream gauge and help steelhead trout.
Built in 1939 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the stream gauge has been used for decades to gather water level data on Arroyo Grande Creek but also poses a significant fish passage barrier that prevents steelhead trout from accessing upstream sections Arroyo Grande Creek. Over time the creek has changed, and the concrete structure has become a major hindrance to migrating steelhead trout venturing upstream in search of suitable breeding and rearing habitat. Juveniles especially have a difficult time surmounting the artificial waterfall. In addition to the benefits for native species, this project allows the stream gauge to continue its function as a site for collecting water data.
The Fish Passage Task Force, part of the Steelhead Recovery Coalition of the South-Central Coast, ranked the Arroyo Grande Creek stream gauge among the top ten steelhead barriers in San Luis Obispo County. Modifying it requires removing and rebuilding the existing concrete structure that currently spans the main creek channel to lower the jump height so migrating steelhead/rainbow trout can once again access 3.3 miles of critical habitat that exists upstream of the stream gauge.
Creek Lands Conservation and its partners have developed designs for a new structure, conducted biological surveys of species in the area, and collected hydrologic data in preparation for the project’s construction. The next step.
Project collaborators include the San Luis Obispo County, the City of Arroyo Grande, Lucia Mar Unified School District, the California Conservation Corps, and several private landowners.
Other keywords: Arroyo Grande watershed, City of Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo County, Steelhead trout, Rainbow trout, ecosystem, native species