For nearly a decade, American River Parkway stewards including Sacramento County Regional Parks, Sacramento County Department of Water Resources, Soil Born Farms, the City of Rancho Cordova and Save the American River Association have been dreaming about and working on plans to restore a historic creek that runs through the American River Ranch property and discharges into the American River. After several failed funding attempts, the project was finally funded in 2014 and creek construction began in early 2016 under the leadership of Sacramento County, the Water Forum and CBEC Eco Engineering.
The project aims to restore natural form and function to a channelized stream, previously named the Clifton Drain, that flows through the American River Ranch and discharges treated groundwater, storm water runoff and residential irrigation runoff to the American River. As of late 2016, the existing concrete lined water ditch has been deconstructed and replaced with a wider meandering channel which has been renamed Cordova Creek.
Upon completion in early 2017, Cordova Creek will have a natural stream substrate and banks consistent with historical drainage patterns, and will be planted with 10 acres of diverse riparian, wetland, and grassland vegetation. A public trail and associated signage will accompany the creek and tie into the existing American River Bike Trail helping to interpret the creek ecosystem and organic farming activities occurring to the East and West of the creek corridor. Soil Born Farms has also developed a comprehensive creek curriculum to engage youth and adults in education and stewardship activities along the creek corridor.
The benefits this project brings to the American River Ranch and associated river corridor are numerous:
For a more detailed description of the Cordova Creek Project including before and after images, explore the link and images below:
Aerial shot of Cordova Creek 1937: