Friday, Oct 24, 2014
February 9th 2014 Pescadero Steelhead Join our Letter Campaign Flooding: Grand Jury Report Released What is killing fish in the Pescadero Marsh? Hundreds of dead steelhead again Help The Pescadero Marsh Last Years Sandbar Breach Results…. Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement asks Superior Court Judge for Help The Butano Creek
February 9th 2014 State Parks began modifications in the 90’s and didn’t complete them. .. Now water jumps levees and backs up so much it can’t push open the sandbar and all the water that jumps leeves just sits there for months and becomes anoxic (depleted of oxygen) plant matter breaks down and creates sulfate.. when the bar finally breaks all the bad water funnels into the main channels where the fish are and it kills them.
Pescadero Steelhead Pescadero Creek is a major stream in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties in California. At 26.6 miles it is the longest stream in San Mateo County and flows all year from springs in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Its source is at 1,880 feet above sea level on the western edge of Castle Rock State Park, with additional headwaters in Portola Redwoods State Park, and its course traverses Pescadero Creek County Park and San Mateo County Memorial Park before entering Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve at Pescadero State Beach and thence to the Pacific Ocean 14.4 miles south of Half Moon Bay.
Join our Letter Campaign Join us by voicing your concerns surrounding The Pescadero Marsh and the flooding of the Butano Creek. Use our simple to use form to send your voice to the Governor and to The Secretary of Natural Resources. Your Voice matters!!
Flooding: Grand Jury Report Released May 1st, 2012 “The annual flooding of Pescadero’s main road is “unsafe and unacceptable,” according to a civil grand jury report released yesterday that calls on the county to step in before the fall rainy season to clear out excess silt and vegetation. For over 25 years the main road into Pescadero has been blocked by the annual flooding of Butano Creek, jeopardizing public safety and impeding access by public safety officers and medical responders into and out of the Pescadero community. Why has the County not resolved this problem and how can it finally be fixed……..
What is killing fish in the Pescadero Marsh? Geological Society of America (GSA) 2007 Report says “First observed in 1995, fish kills occur every year in association with the breaching of the sandbar. Water samples were collected at multiple times during the 2007 water year. Preliminary results indicate that isolated deep-water zones within the estuary system are anoxic during the late summer months. These anoxic waters are likely mixed into the estuary during breaching events and contribute to deterioration in environmental conditions required by coho salmon, steel head trout, and tidewater goby.”
Hundreds of dead steelhead again According to professional biologists and several fish and game experts, the State Parks project failed to alleviate the harmful conditions in the marsh, and in fact, due to poor operational practices, may actually be contributing significantly to the continued decline in species population. For the past 12 years, concerned citizens and other wildlife agencies have repeatedly asked State Parks to take immediate corrective action. Sadly, the Parks department’s repeated response has been “we need further studies.” Meanwhile, native species populations in the marsh have reached critically low levels.
Help The Pescadero Marsh The Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve is the largest coastal watershed between the Golden Gate and San Lorenzo River and is in dire need of some major conservation efforts, it shelters a diversity of wildlife in a complex of several habitats—a tidal estuary, freshwater marsh, brackish water marsh, dense riparian woods, and northern coastal scrub. Located at the confluence of two major streams, Pescadero Creek and Butano Creek, the marsh creates an important wintering ground for waterfowl on the Pacific flyway, as well as….
Last Years Sandbar Breach Results…. November 25, 2010 Dozens of dead Steelhead, trout, sculpin, flounder, eel, and dungeness crabs line the shorelines of the Pescadero/Butano Marsh. Scenes like the one you are about to witness have been occurring since 1995, many on a much larger scale. Search was conducted at 6:30am on the low tide the morning after breaching. At 10:30am the tide began pushing up into the lagoon, dead fish that had been on the shorelines began to float away with the tide.
Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement asks Superior Court Judge for Help “This is a case where State Parks altered the marsh in the 1990’s and created an environmental calamity. Perhaps more alarming is the fact Fish and Game, the agency charged with enforcing the laws for state listed species has know about these violations for years and, for political reasons, has failed to enforce the laws against State Parks who is a sister Agency under the Resources Department,” said Ronda Azevedo Lucas, CASE’s attorney. “If a private citizen owned this marsh, they would likely be in jail.”
The Butano Creek The Butano Creek channel has become obstructed and diverted so that steelhead can no longer migrate to their spawning grounds or return to the ocean. Read letters addressing the flooding and fish passage concerns of the Butano Creek.

BELOW IS TEXT DIRECTLY TAKEN FROM A GRAND JURY REPORT May 1st, 2012

I GUESS GRAND JURIES MEAN NOTHING, JUST MORE WASTED TIME EFFORT AND MONEY
To read the official report click here grand-juryflooding to view the pdf.

Flooding: Grand Jury Report Released

May 1st, 2012
“The annual flooding of Pescadero’s main road is “unsafe and unacceptable,” according to a civil grand jury report released yesterday that calls on the county to step in before the fall rainy season to clear out excess silt and vegetation.

Issue
For over 25 years the main road into Pescadero has been blocked by the annual flooding of
Butano Creek, jeopardizing public safety and impeding access by public safety officers and
medical responders into and out of the Pescadero community. Why has the County not resolved
this problem and how can it finally be fixed?

Summary
The blockage of Pescadero Creek Road, in the unincorporated community of Pescadero, happens
one or more times each rainy season, often for days each time. Flooding jeopardizes the safety of
local citizens in two primary ways: First, alternative routes into the Pescadero area are along
much longer, narrower roadways requiring at least two to three times more driving time from the
coastal highway. In the case of emergencies where the San Mateo County Sheriff, CAL FIRE or
the California Highway Patrol is required, response time is critical and delays can impact
personal safety of citizens and their property. Second, as the road floods, there are always some
individuals who deliberately or inadvertently drive through the flooded road areas, sometimes
successfully, sometimes not. A flooded road impacts local commerce, tourist traffic, and
agribusiness in the area, and often leaves debris and silt to clean up.
The flooding is linked to decades of silt accumulation in the streambed, and excess vegetation
growth and debris build-up along Butano Creek and in Pescadero Marsh. The drainage from the
Marsh into the sea, and associated flushing of silt into the sea, is compromised by natural and
man-made changes. These include logging debris, erosion, run-off, levees and channels built to
facilitate agriculture, as well as certain now-abandoned modifications intended to correct
watershed problems. The bottom line is that rains cannot be contained within Butano Creek’s
banks, resulting in predictable and dangerous road flooding.
The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury recommends the removal of excess silt and clearance of
vegetation overgrowth and debris from as much of the Butano Creek as necessary to eliminate
the road flooding by October 1, 2012, before the 2012/2013 rainy season, using the regulatory
framework of “Emergency” action if necessary.

Background
Since the 1880s, the town of Pescadero, population ~650, has been a farming and ranching
community. The town is located at the upstream (eastern) edge of Pescadero Marsh, at the
confluence of Pescadero and Butano Creeks, both of which empty into the Pacific.

The flooding of the Pescadero Creek Road at the Butano Creek Bridge closes the main route into
and out of Pescadero, while simultaneously inundating privately owned farmlands. The road
closure isolates the town and surrounding areas from its CAL FIRE Station, severely impacting
emergency services. Alternate roads are small and winding through local hills. An ambulance,
fire engine, or police vehicle could require an extra hour or more in transit time. In recent years,
flooding has occurred several times during the rainy season, often for 24-48 hours at a time.
Several sources document the history and complexities of the Pescadero watershed. 1 The cause
of the annual flooding includes progressive silt accumulation and vegetation overgrowth and
debris build-up in Butano Creek up- and down-stream of the Bridge and beyond into the Marsh
itself. Additionally, numerous property owners decades ago created levees and channels in the
marsh for their land-uses, and several projects for the Coastal Highway have modified the
seasonal sand-berm that affects the Butano Creek’s flow from the Marsh to the Ocean. State
regulations enacted beginning in the 1960s have prevented property owners from dredging and
clearing creeks on their property and opening the sand-berm as they had historically done.2
Survey profiles demonstrate the silt build up. (See, Attachment A.) The stream bed was ~12 feet
below the bottom of the bridge in 1968.3 Currently the bridge clears the silted creek bottom by
only two feet. The creek has no capacity to handle rainstorm run-off; the water has nowhere to
go but up and over the road.

The California Department of State Parks and Recreation began acquiring Marsh properties in
the 1960s, and in 1993 started to implement extensive modifications to the Marsh area intended
to address and resolve environmental concerns. Modifications included adding and removing
dikes, adding water-control gates and culverts, and re-contouring certain flow features. The
added features were not maintained, and were subsequently abandoned. The reasons for this
abandonment have not been identified. As a result, silt-up and vegetation overgrowth has
reduced the capacity and impeded the water flow in the Creek. Fish-kills within the Marsh have
also increased; agribusiness has suffered; sport fishing has all but disappeared; and negative
effects on endangered wildlife are being documented.
To read more from this report click here grand-juryflooding to view the pdf.

Another Year and more fish die

February 9th 2014

The numbers on the map are the number of photographs and videos, with GPS locations, that I took of dead steelhead, the actual images and videos can be seen below. Other fish photographed are stickleback and sculpin/bullhead. I only searched and photographed one side of the stream, many dead fish could be seen on the shoreline on the other side of the stream.

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Help Restore the Marsh





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*ESTIMATES: STEEHEAD REARING*
*click to view

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Heron and other predatory birds were seen feeding on the shorelines.

November 25, 2010

January 3, 2008

KGO news report 2010

KGO news report 2003