City of Santa Barbara
Waterways recently provided planning, design and construction management services for Phases 1 & 2 of the Arroyo Burro Open Space Restoration Project. The project area is located within the Arroyo Burro Open Space Preserve, owned by the City of Santa Barbara. Pre-project conditions within the approximately 20 acre project area were characterized by a deeply incised channel with actively eroding banks that was disconnected from historic floodplains. Ongoing bank erosion threatened to undermine a section of Las Positas Drive and several large oak and sycamore trees. Exotic vegetation had colonized the former floodplains and streambanks.
Phase 1 work included: removal of relic debris (e.g. concrete and post-and-wire bank revetments), excavation of inset floodplain benches, stabilization of eroding banks using biomechanical methods (e.g. willow cuttings, relocated willow shrubs and large wood), removal of invasive vegetation and revegetation of the site with over 4000 native riparian shrubs and trees. Completion of Phase 1 implementation was recognized with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the mayor of Santa Barbara in April 2019.
Phase 2 was completed in fall of 2021 which included a new pedestrian bridge and trails, as well as ecological restoration of an ephemeral channel.