Arroyo Burro Estuary and Mesa Creek Restoration
Located at the end of the Arroyo Burro County Beach Park parking area and within the Douglas Family Preserve, the Arroyo Burro Estuary and Mesa Creek Restoration Project was designed to restore coastal estuarine, riparian and coastal sage scrub habitats, and improve water quality in Mesa Creek, the estuary, and at Arroyo Burro Beach.
Prior to the restoration project, the estuary had been greatly reduced in size (in the early 1900s the estuary was over 500 feet wide, and prior to construction was approximately 50 feet wide), and a large portion of Mesa Creek had been diverted into a cement culvert. In addition, a number of invasive plants had colonized disturbed areas within the estuary. Water pollution was also an issue at the estuary, with a number of samples every year exceeding the State contact standards for bacteria.
Completed in 2007, the project involved “daylighting” a section of Mesa Creek, and the installation of over 5,000 native plants and trees to restore native habitat. The project also included fish passage enhancements to benefit the endangered Southern Steelhead Trout, and the expansion of the estuary to benefit the endangered tidewater goby. New trails and a pedestrian bridge were installed to allow access to the Douglas Family Preserve, along with interpretive signage to educate visitors on the purpose of the project.