District Board approves over $2.6 million for Colgan Creek restoration

April 21, 2015

Posted in: Press Releases


Media Contact:
Amy Ricard | SCAPOSD

Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District Board Approves Over $2.6 Million to Fund Creek Restoration and New Park in Southwest Santa Rosa

Grant funds will be used to restore Colgan Creek, acquire land for trail and park

SANTA ROSA, CA (April 21, 2015) – The Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (District) today approved over $2.6 million in grant funding to the City of Santa Rosa (City) for restoration of a 1.3 mile section of Colgan Creek in southwest Santa Rosa. The restoration project will include a new neighborhood park and a pedestrian and bicycle pathway along the creek. The funding comes from the District’s competitive Matching Grant Program, which makes grants available for projects that provide open space, creek restoration and enhancement, community recreation, or public access within or near urbanized areas of Sonoma County. As part of the grant agreement, the District will retain a conservation easement over this section of the creek, which includes the stream channel, riparian habitat, pathway, and the neighborhood park.

“It is always rewarding when we are able to deliver recreational opportunities, while at the same time improving the environmental health of Colgan Creek and reducing flood risk,” said Supervisor Efren Carrillo. “The families in the Bellevue community will take full advantage of both the new walk and bike paths and neighborhood park, and our school age children will have a safer route to accessing their schools.  This is truly a win-win for the community.”

Creek restoration project brings multiple benefits to community
Colgan Creek originates in the foothills of Taylor Mountain and flows westward across the Santa Rosa Plain into the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Sections of the creek were relocated and channelized by the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) in the 1950s. In 2002, the Santa Rosa City Council approved the restoration and enhancement of portions of the creek, and as a result, a Lower Colgan Creek Restoration Concept Plan (Plan) was adopted by the City Council as part of its Citywide Creek Master Plan. The Plan is currently being carried out by the City in partnership with the Water Agency.

The Plan includes restoring and enhancing a 1.3-mile stretch of Lower Colgan Creek between Victoria Drive and Bellevue Avenue. The creek restoration will result in a more natural meander and will provide a healthier seasonal creek ecosystem that includes riffles, pools, and native streamside vegetation for a contiguous riparian corridor. This work will also increase groundwater infiltration and water quality, and decrease flooding.

Restoration of Lower Colgan Creek has been given the highest priority for restoration projects in the city because of the flood risk, habitat conditions, the need for a safe route to schools such as Elsie Allen High School and Bellevue Elementary School from the surrounding neighborhoods, and the need for additional park space in southwest Santa Rosa.

“Providing flood protection for our communities while protecting the environment and providing recreational opportunities in our urban creek corridors is a winning combination,” said Grant Davis, general manager, Sonoma County Water Agency.  “Partnering with the District and City of Santa Rosa to accomplish these goals on Colgan Creek is also a winning partnership that we are proud to be a part of.”

District’s Matching Grant Program makes impact countywide
The District has accepted three phases of the City’s Colgan Creek Restoration project into its Matching Grant Program. The City applied in 2004 (Phase 1) and 2007 (Phase 2) for funding for acquisition of properties necessary to implement the Lower Colgan Creek Restoration Plan. The City also submitted an application in 2014 (Phase 3) for funding for the restoration work of a specific reach of the creek (more details below).

“Funding from the District’s Matching Grant Program will play a major role in helping turn the City’s creek restoration plan into reality and will greatly enhance a significant reach of Colgan Creek for wildlife and people in southwest Santa Rosa,” said Director of Santa Rosa Water, David Guhin.

The Program is offered every other year, and makes grants available to cities, the County, other public agencies, and non-profit organizations for urban open space projects that provide open space preservation, community recreation, and public access opportunities. Since 1994, this unique program has provided over $30 million in funding towards projects throughout the County, allowing our partners to leverage that funding to develop diverse and innovative projects throughout Sonoma County. A few examples include:

  • The Windsor Town Green (Windsor)
  • Prince Memorial Greenway (Santa Rosa)
  • Bayer Farm Neighborhood Park & Gardens (Santa Rosa)
  • Petaluma Marsh expansion and habitat enhancement (Petaluma)
  • Meadowlark Field Laguna de Santa Rosa restoration project (Sebastopol)
  • Russian Riverkeeper Stewardship Park (Guerneville)

“We are so pleased to be able to work with the City of Santa Rosa and the Water Agency through our Matching Grant Program to restore critical riparian habitat along Colgan Creek, decrease flood risk for the surrounding neighborhoods, and bring much-needed parks and open space to southwest Santa Rosa,” said District General Manager, Bill Keene.

About the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Since 1990, the District has protected more than 106,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org

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  • Phase 1 Matching Grant Project (Acquisition) – In Phase 1, the City sought a grant of $336,940 for acquisition of 1.61 acres to be part of the future neighborhood park. The Board approved the grant in January 2008 and the property has been acquired.
  • Phase 2 Matching Grant Project (Acquisition) – The Phase 2 grant is intended to fund the acquisition of approximately 5.45 acres that are needed in order to make enough land available to realign a 1.3-mile stretch of Lower Colgan Creek to a more natural meander, allow for additional riparian habitat, and install a pedestrian and bicycle pathway along the creek.
  • Phase 3 Matching Grant Project (Restoration and Recreation Development) – The Phase 3 grant of $617, 710 is intended to help fund the restoration activities on a portion of Lower Colgan Creek as well as the development of the pedestrian and bicycle pathway.