A project to restore Centennial Creek on Paso Robles’ east side is in its final stages of construction. The work is designed to prevent erosion and downstream pollution into the Salinas River.
“This is a demonstration project so people can look and see what these restoration projects are all about. And then we will talk to the city to see if we would continue the project downstream,” said Devin Best, executive director of the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District.
Work began in October to restore 400 feet of the creek bed along Centennial Park Trail to prepare for winter storms. The section of creek addressed begins at the trail’s Lana Street entrance after it crosses Melody Drive then heads west toward Nickerson Drive. A second section of the trail and creek stretches from Nickerson Drive west toward Navajo Avenue, but hasn’t been addressed.
So far, the project has widened the creek by an average of 30 feet, rocks were added to build up banks that had eroded, and crews are now working to revegetate the site with native riparian trees and shrubs such as toffee berry, deer grass and wild rose, along with a few oak trees.
“It was a narrow channel, so by widening it we allow the water to dissipate out over the flood plain and capture sediments to reduce the flood risk,” Best said. “And, by putting in riparian plants, it creates a certain amount of roughness to slow that water down that will be moving through there.”
The district will continue to monitor and maintain the site for the next couple of years, Best said. The current stage involves a hyrdro-mulching process, where seed mix is combined with wood fiber and water in tanks and then sprayed onto the creek-bed area to add a tactile element to the bare soil and germination of native grasses, Best said.
The Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District led the project through a partnership with various agencies including the City of Paso Robles, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, PG&E, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the California Conservation Corps.
Rain barrel rebates available for Paso Robles residents
As part of the creek project, the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District is offering rebates of up to $75 to Paso Robles residents who install rain barrels at their homes or businesses. Residents who submit a receipt and a photo of their installed rain barrel may be eligible for the one-time rebate. Rain barrels capture and store rainwater for future irrigation. The process helps conserve water and prevent storm water runoff from polluting the creek. For more information, call 434-0396, Ext. 5. The project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with PG&E.