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Keywords:

  • Baxter Creek;
  • California;
  • bioassessment;
  • community involvement;
  • conservation;
  • demonstration project;
  • restoration;
  • stream;
  • urban

Abstract

Stream restoration projects have become increasingly common, and the need for systematic post-project evaluation, particularly for small-scale projects, is evident. This study describes how a 70-m restored reach of a small urban stream, Baxter Creek (in Poinsett Park, El Cerrito, California), was quickly and inexpensively evaluated using habitat, biological, and resident-attitude assessments. The restoration involved opening a previously culverted channel, planting riparian vegetation, and adding in-stream step-pool sequences and sinuosity. Replicated benthic macroinvertebrate samples from the restored site and an upstream unrestored site were compared using several metrics, including taxa richness and a biotic index. Both biological and habitat quality improved in the restored compared with the unrestored section. However, when compared with a creek restored 12 years before, habitat condition was of lower quality in the recently restored creek. A survey of the neighborhood residents indicated that, overall, they were pleased with the restored creek site. The approach used in this demonstration project may be applicable to other small-scale evaluations of urban stream restorations.