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Tally Ho Channel Assessment

P7080089 webClient: Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District

Channel and riparian conditions along Tally Ho Creek within the project area have changed significantly over the last several hundred years. Pressure to utilize flat valley bottoms for agriculture and, later, suburban development, resulted in removal of much of the riparian vegetation, filling of wetlands, road building, and straightening and deepening of Tally Ho Creek. Cleared portions of the valley bottom now consist of single-family homes and Tally Ho Road. Tally Ho Creek has been confined to the eastern edge of the valley floor.

In the past, vegetation and sediment were periodically removed to maintain Tally Ho Creek in its altered condition. It became difficult to obtain approval for this type of management due to increased concerns from regulatory agencies regarding the impact of such actions and the need to protect species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Because the low gradient valley condition had not changed and sediment inputs to the valley floor likely increased, the increased density of vegetation resulted in sediment accumulation on the valley floor that has increased the risk of flooding increased to the point where it is an annual occurrence.

In response to the increased risk, the City of Arroyo Grande contracted with Waterways, the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) and Central Coast Salmon Enhancement (CCSE) to identify a solution to reduce flooding risks to landowners within a framework that emphasizes enhancements to the ecological value of Tally Ho Creek. Waterways performed mapping, modeling, preliminary engineering designs, and prepared permit applications.

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