Garcia River Estuary Restoration

Restoration Stories

The Garcia River Estuary Habitat Enhancement Project was implemented by The Nature Conservancy in 2022, with support from a range of partners including the Bureau of Land Management, CDFW, the NOAA Restoration Center, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Prunuske Chatham Inc., and Larry and Charles Stornetta. The project’s goal is to increase winter and spring rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead in the middle estuary of the Garcia River by enhancing floodplain habitat and constructing instream large wood structures. The newly enhanced floodplains provide both refuge from high flow and rich feeding opportunities for salmonids, while the large wood structures carve out deep pools and provide shelter from predators. All told, the project created over two acres of newly accessible floodplain habitat and 18 large wood structures, constructed with nearly 350 large redwood and Douglas fir logs and rootwads, spatially distributed across a half-mile reach of the estuary. In close collaboration with state and federal agencies, the project was also the first to utilize the new CEQA Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects (SERP) and contributed to the larger effort to develop permitting efficiencies for beneficial restoration projects as part of the State’s Cutting the Green Tape Initiative. Watch Video. © The Nature Conservancy