News

Water flowing freely again in San Francisquito Creek

Removal of barrier at Palo Alto/Menlo Park border allows fish to swim to Bay and back

A century-old concrete barrier in the San Francisquito Creek has been removed, a triumph for the steelhead trout, conservationists said this week.

Called a "weir," the 45-foot-wide barrier at the creek bottom -- near Palo Alto's border with Menlo Park -- had made it difficult for fish to travel along the creek. It altered and sometimes impeded the water current, according to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District.

The district was responsible for the $309,400 Bonde Weir Fish Passage Improvement Project, which is now complete.

For more information about the project, read the Weekly's Aug. 9 article "Creek project will help endangered fish run free."

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Water flowing freely again in San Francisquito Creek

Removal of barrier at Palo Alto/Menlo Park border allows fish to swim to Bay and back

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 5:33 pm

A century-old concrete barrier in the San Francisquito Creek has been removed, a triumph for the steelhead trout, conservationists said this week.

Called a "weir," the 45-foot-wide barrier at the creek bottom -- near Palo Alto's border with Menlo Park -- had made it difficult for fish to travel along the creek. It altered and sometimes impeded the water current, according to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District.

The district was responsible for the $309,400 Bonde Weir Fish Passage Improvement Project, which is now complete.

For more information about the project, read the Weekly's Aug. 9 article "Creek project will help endangered fish run free."

Comments

big picture
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:56 am
big picture, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:56 am
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small victory I guess, but what about Searsville Dam? I'd like to see the Weekly carry this story further to maybe spur that process along. Stanford has been diverting and using water from this creek for over a century to water its precious golf course and other facilities... how does that still happen when the native steelhead and coho in the creek are in serious trouble? (I believe the coho are listed as endangered)
Come on Weekly, I demand you do better!


Berry
College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Berry, College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Like this comment

"Perhaps it's just me, but the cost of over a quarter of a million dollars to get rid of a bit of decrepit concrete in a creek seems rather mind-boggling."

Coulda hired some laborers and rented a jack hammer and got the job done for about $2k! Who's running this show?!

Why was the dam installed back in the day?


Toady
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm
Toady, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm
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With all the hype, I was expecting the Colorado River. So disappointing.


Hey hey hey
Stanford
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Hey hey hey, Stanford
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm
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At least this is a step in the right direction, though more costly than necessary. Suspect someone generously padded the bill


Crescent Park Dad
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Crescent Park Dad, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm
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Like it or not, removal of a 50'year old dam probably has some hazardous/environmental considerations given the site. Not saying the cost was too high, but the job certainly wasn't a simple jackhammer and wheel burrow job.


Can-I-Borrow-A-Barrow-Buddy?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Can-I-Borrow-A-Barrow-Buddy?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Like this comment

> but the job certainly wasn't a simple jackhammer and wheel burrow job.

Interesting. The canals in Britain were built with shovels and wheelbarrows before jackhammers were invented. Guess that Brits were lucky not to have had access to the blogs like this one, back in the day.

And to think that the pyramids were built without power tools, also!


Crescent Park Dad
Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Crescent Park Dad, Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Like this comment

My point was that given the environmental purpose of the project, I'm guessing that the demolition required several measure to minimize or eliminate any contamination due to the demo process.


Bob
Community Center
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:18 am
Bob , Community Center
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:18 am
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And this cost almost a third of a million dollars??? No wonder cities, town, and the USA are broke.


Buddy-Can-I-Borrow-A-Barrow
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:22 am
Buddy-Can-I-Borrow-A-Barrow, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:22 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


ugly
Greater Miranda
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm
ugly, Greater Miranda
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm
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Why pick apart what Crescent Park Dad said? His posts express what I was actually told by creek volunteers in the know about the weir's demo. All this knit-picking by cost from people in a wealthy city is eye-rollingly ridiculous. You sound like Athertonians!


YUMMM
Monroe Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:50 am
YUMMM, Monroe Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:50 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Interested Citizen
another community
on Oct 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm
Interested Citizen, another community
on Oct 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm
1 person likes this

A project of this nature involves the following costs:

Engineering design - The weir was a grade control structure and removing it without engineering a replacement grade control system that also lets fish pass would cause the channel drop previously present at the structure to "rip" upstream, potentially causing major damage at other infrastructure. The replacement grade control is largely underground, but it is there, and a design such as this requires input from a licensed engineer, hydrologists, etc.

Permitting - Permits must be obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Regional Water Quality Control Board, US Army Corps of Engineers, and perhaps others. Preparing these applications and seeing them through to approval is a bit of work.

Construction - Construction must be coordinated in time per the permits. The stream must be diverted. Heavy equipment must be brought in to place the enormous rocks now controlling the stream grade (they are underground, you can't see them). Downstream water quality must be controlled. Construction access and the project site must be restored and re-vegetated to pre-project conditions. In most cases post-constrcution monitoring is required to make sure the stream channel and re-vegetation continue to recover consistent with permit requirements.

Although this is not a comprehensive list, this is a bit of what is involved. From someone who knows what this type of project costs, the price tag on this one was actually very low due to the dedication and volunteerism on the part of many involved. They deserve congratulation and praise and I am sorry to see all the criticism.


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