For the second time in 10 years, the city of Calabasas will rip up the concrete line surface of our landmark Creek and restore it to its natural state. Due to city growth over the last few years, we’ve actually changed the course of the Las Virgenes Creek, filling it with concrete and lining it with non-native trees. On February 15, 2014, work began on a $1.8 million project designed to restore the natural habitat of the Creek between Agoura and Lost Hills roads on the west side of town.
In the past, the deep concrete walls allow the Creek to fill with debris, dead brush and invasive trees that can block the flow of water. The city has already removed 440 feet of concrete in 2008 but the work then and now is the result of a 30-year-old commitment by the state to assist communities with restoring creeks and streams to a more natural habitat. They also want to make sure that the waterways still have the ability to serve as flood control channels.
Not only is the city working to restore this to a natural state but they’re going to build walking trails, stabilize the banks, remove fishing barriers and plan about 1300 oak trees. The current retaining wall has broken and shifted about 15 feet over the last 10 years and the water is actually flowing behind the retaining wall. This can cause erosion and damage to nearby houses.
The city of Calabasas will fund this project with grants from propositions for environmental restoration. They are also using general funds and local communities, schools, and parks. The Viewpoint school is paying for the oak trees that will be planted as part of the restoration project. This project should be done around December of this year. When complete, there will be two new trails along the creek, ADA certified.
Construction will also eliminate a 10-foot drop in the Creek South of the channel at Meadow Creek Lane, which has blocked fish removing up the creek. This will fill the drop with rocks and dirt reducing it to just 2 feet. These channels will also be narrowed to allow for small pools to help fish travel through the Creek.
This channel and reservoir was actually installed over 50 years ago to carry rain and stormwater quickly to the ocean and prevent flooding and communities. But now we need to improve and develop it further so after straightening the Creek, the velocity of water is much faster than it used to be and we need to protect the banks by planting more trees and creating a more natural flow. The city has removed 500 trees that are not native to the region replacing them with native foliage that will be much more sustainable. These non-native trees were killing native species and observing too much water. [Source]
Image By Tobin/tobo, Rochester, NY, USA (flickr.com) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons