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Santa Rita Creek Watershed Project

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program (MBNMS) in partnership with Central Coast Wetlands Group, Resource Conservation District of Monterey County

Status: Completed
Funding Status: Funded
Dates: 01/04/2013 - 05/04/2018
Santa Rita Creek was identified as an Area of Concern based on monitoring from 2005-2013 because Water Quality Objectives were exceeded, as identified by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary's Snapshot Day program. A grant was funded in 2013 through the Integrated Regional Water Management Program to engage in more intensive watershed monitoring, application of agricultural best management practices, and restoration of Santa Rita Creek at Ferrasci Ballfield. The Central Coast Wetlands Group used CRAM to assess Creek condition based on four attributes: hydrology, biotic structure, physical structure and channel stability. Restoration efforts increased the CRAM index by 19 points from 39 points in 2014 to 58 point in 2015. The Resource Conservation District of Monterey County worked with growers on irrigation management, nutrient management, and hillside farming erosion control. Recommendations to growers included use of CropManage as a decision support tool for nutrient application, use of soil moisture sensors for more precise irrigation water management, and lowering pre-plant fertilizer. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary conducted monthly monitoring at 7 sites along the Creek, and engaged residents through outreach activities.


1) Reduced sedimentation and nonpoint source pollution in agricultural runoff through farmer outreach and implementation of agricultural BMPs in Santa Rita Creek subwatershed. 2) Reduced sedimentation and nonpoint source pollution in surface waters as a result of environmental restoration conducted in Santa Rita Creek. 3) Improved groundwater quality as a result of efforts to address agricultural runoff in Santa Rita Creek subwatershed, 4) Improved coastal water quality through environmental restoration and implementation of BMPs upstream, as described above, 5) Streambank restoration and habitat improvements with native plants along Santa Rita Creek in the lower Salinas River Watershed, 6) Increased protection against general impacts of climate change through water supply and water quality improvements, 7) Engagement of community members in environmental restoration and water quality protection through streambank restoration in Santa Rita Creek 8) Engagement of local farmers in water quality protection efforts and environmental enhancement


  • Agriculture
  • Community Stewardship
  • Education and Outreach
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Irrigation Nutrient Management
  • Stormwater
  • Volunteer Programs
  • Water Quality
  • Watershed Coordination / Planning


  • DWR


Bridget Hoover

Websites & Documents

Photos & Images

Creek Before Restoration

Creek After Restoration at Ferasci Ballpark

CRAM Scores at Project Stages

Creek held in channel at Ferrasci following restoration, where flooding occurred in previous years.

Title Status
Agricultural Best Management Practices
Implementation :: Sediment Reduction
Water Quality Monitoring
Implementation :: Stream Bank Protection
Restoration at Ferrasci Park
Implementation :: Riparian Improvement

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