San Luis Obispo Creek Restoration Project Construction Phase
The photo above shows the creek as it existed before the initiation of the restoration project. Soil was
constantly eroding from the banks and the sediment wound up in the creek bottom, choking
steelhead spawning areas and impacting the channel habitat. The photo above was taken prior to the
project grading and restoration. Note the amount of suspended sediment (a pollutant) being carried
by the stream flow.
The photos below show the project during the construction phase in 1999.
The project involved the
construction of a series of rock veins
and rock weirs designed by River
Morphologist, Don Funk of Donald J.
Funk Consulting. Boulders, each
over one ton, were used in the
stream restoration. The boulder
structures were designed to direct
stream flows toward the center of
the channel, slowing velocities,
reducing the channel grade and to
provide pools for habitat.
The project was conducted during
the summer to reduce impact on
fish. The small residual flow was
temporarily diverted through a
plastic culvert pipe. The pipe was
light weight, which permitted the
moving of the pipe during the
project construction period. A small
temporary coffer dam was
constructed to collect the flow at the
upper end of the project and direct
the flow into the temporary culvert
pipe. (see the photo below).
At left, the excavator is placing one
of the boulders. The rock veins and
weirs "gently" nudge the stream flow
toward the center of the stream and
away from the sides of the channel.
The rock wall on the left and the
Nipomo Street concrete bridge
abutment were pre-existing. (View
The photo below shows the temporary coffer dam (constructed with sandbags) and the first of
several rock weir structures under construction. This view is looking upstream toward the Broad
Street bridge. Note the existing concrete walls and lack of vegetation along the sides of the channel
at this location. The temporary diversion pipe is located on the left.
Below is the project as it looks today. FIRMA, a San Luis Obispo landscape architectural firm,
designed the park, landscaping and creek walkway improvements. Cannon provided the engineering
design. Don Funk designed and provided project management of the in-stream improvements. The
project extends between the Broad Street and Nipomo Street Bridges.
San Luis Obispo Creek Restoration Project After Completion
San Luis Obispo Creek Restoration
and Creekwalk 2011
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San Luis Obispo Creek during restoration in 1999
Boulder structure being constructed in San Luis Obispo Creek
Boulder weir under construction
Temporary coffer dam
San Luis Obispo Creek Before Restoration Project
Before the restoration project (creek improvements designed by Don Funk, park designed by FIRMA
and engineering provided by Cannon), the creek had vertical eroding banks and no protective riparian
vegetation. Habitat and water quality was adversely impacted by poor channel conditions.
San Luis Obispo Creek 1998
Lack of vegetation
Broad St. Bridge