The goal of this study is to develop a high level overview of the physical and ecological changes to lower San Francisquito Creek and the surrounding tidal marshes and mudflats (referred to here as “baylands”) since the beginning of intensive European-American settlement. Building upon a previous reconnaissance-level historical ecology study (Hermstad et al. 2009), this study analyzes the changes in key landscape features (or landscape metrics) within lower San Francisquito Creek and baylands through comparisons of reconstructed historical (mid-1800s) and contemporary (2011/2012) conditions. The results from this study are intended to provide baseline information that can be used to help with developing restoration and flood control redesign alternatives and appropriate habitat restoration targets.
This study is one component of the Flood Control 2.0 project, a regional effort funded by the U.S. EPA to help design flood control channels at the Bay interface that support tidal habitats while maintaining the required level of flood protection. Emerging strategies for flood protection focus on reconnecting channels to floodplains and tidal marshes and using available dredged sediment as a resource to increase marsh elevations and help keep pace with sea level rise. Lower San Francisquito Creek is one of three implementation projects that have partnered with Flood Control 2.0 to assess the benefits of an integrated approach for flood control and habitat management at the Bay interface.