- Santa Rosa Creek
name = Santa Rosa Creek
etymology = Spanish
image_caption = Middle reach of Santa Rosa Creek
region = Sonoma County
tributary_right1 = Brush Creek
city = Santa Rosa
source_location = convert|5|km|mi|0|lk=on|abbr=on west of
St. Helena, California
source_region = | source_country =
source_elevation_imperial = 1940
source_lat_d = 38 | source_lat_m = 31 | source_lat_s = 10 | source_lat_NS = N
source_long_d = 122 | source_long_m = 32 | source_long_s = 56 | source_long_EW = W
source_coordinates_note =Gnis|232563|Santa Rosa Creek]
source1_location = | source1_region = | source1_country =
source1_lat_d = | source1_lat_m = | source1_lat_s = | source1_lat_NS =
source1_long_d = | source1_long_m = | source1_long_s = | source1_long_EW =
source_confluence_location = | source_confluence_region = | source_confluence_country =
source_confluence_lat_d = | source_confluence_lat_m = | source_confluence_lat_s = | source_confluence_lat_NS =
source_confluence_long_d = | source_confluence_long_m = | source_confluence_long_s = | source_confluence_long_EW =
Laguna de Santa Rosa
mouth_location = | mouth_region = | mouth_country =
mouth_elevation_imperial = 49
mouth_lat_d = 38 | mouth_lat_m = 27 | mouth_lat_s = 5 | mouth_lat_NS = N
mouth_long_d = 122 | mouth_long_m = 50 | mouth_long_s = 3 | mouth_long_EW = W
length_imperial = 22 | length_orientation =
width_imperial = | width_orientation =
free = | free_type =
Santa Rosa Creek is a 22 mile (35 km) long
streamin Sonoma County, Californiawhich rises on Hood Mountainand discharges to the Laguna de Santa Rosaby way of the Santa Rosa Flood Control Channel. ["Santa Rosa Quadrangle", Fifteen minute series, USGSQuadrangle Map, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC (1958)] This article covers both the creek and the channel.
Though it begins as a wild stream in the
Mayacamas Mountains, Santa Rosa Creek is culverted for part of its course through the city of Santa Rosa's downtown. The riparianarea has a rich prehistoricpast with settlement of the Southern Pomo peopleon much of the middle and lower reach banks. A significant stream restoration project was created in the downtown Santa Rosa reach in the late 1990s, allowing steelheadand coho salmonto migrate to productive upstream spawning areas. Major tributaries to Santa Rosa Creek include Brush Creek, Piner Creek, Matanzas Creekand Colgan Creek. Annual precipitation in the Sonoma Creek watershed is about 24 to 38 inches (60 to 70 centimeters). Water qualitysampling in the Railroad Square area of Santa Rosa indicate coliform bacteriastandards are often exceeded. [ [http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb1/programs/sampling/santa_rosa_creek.html The Sonoma County Environmental Health Department water quality sampling data] ]
Archaeologicaldata demonstrates the habitation of Pomo tribes on the lower reaches of Santa Rosa Creek, while a branch of the Yukitribe lived near the headwaterson the slopes of Hood Mountain. In the vicinity of the confluence of Brush Creek there is a noteworthy rock formation known as "Flat Rocks"; adjacent was a native Pomo village, presumably to exploit the resources of the confluence area as a suitable place for fishing, bathing, washing and providing drinking water. Near this location in the year 1827, Padre Amoros baptized a Pomo maidenon the day of the Feast of the Roses; that event created the name of this locale as "Santa Rosa". Hence the city of Santa Rosa really owes its name to the Santa Rosa Creek environment.
In the city of Santa Rosa, remains of the
Carrillo Adobeattest to Spaniards as settlers in the middle reaches of Santa Rosa Creek. As the city of Santa Rosa developed more intensively, political pressure arose in the 1960s to channelize much of the creek in the core area of the city. This action led to a greatly reduced capability for anadromousfish to reach spawning areas upstream. Consequently, by the 1990s, planning began for a creek restoration project to tear out much of the channel concrete lining, provide re-vegetation and create a new low flow channel to accommodate steelheadand coho salmonspawning runs to the middle and upper reaches (i.e. above the downtown area of the city of Santa Rosa). As of July 2008, much of the renovation has been largely completed west of Santa Rosa Avenue, with the Prince Memorial Greenway extending along the creek west from Santa Rosa Avenue through downtown. This includes paved bicycle and pedestrian paths, creek access points, and substantial planting of vegetation. However, the portion between Santa Rosa Avenue and E Street is still contained within a covered culvert despite long-term plans to reopen the portion of it currently under city hall.
The headwaters of Santa Rosa Creek rise on the northern slopes of Hood Mountain, where the soils at the headwaters consist of soils of the Goulding cobbly clay loam association, which are well-drained gently to very steep
loams and clay-loams situated upon upland formations. The lower elevations of the Hood Mountain headwaters consist of the Boomer soil association, which group has well-drained loams over a clay-loam subsoil. ["Soil Survey, Sonoma County, California", U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Government Printing Office, Washington DC, May 1972] Considering the steepness of much of the terrainthere is a remarkable lack of erosion, primarily because human access has been historically low, and vegetative cover has been kept intact.
As Santa Rosa Creek descends toward the valley floor Falta very gravelly loam is encountered, which has scrubby
Valley Oakcover. On the gentle rolling slopes that join the valley are Haire series moderately well-drained clay loam soils, which are used for dry-farm pastureand some vineyards. On the valley floor Santa Rosa Creek flows under State Route 12and runs along Melita Road, thence somewhat more northerly and parallels the south side of Route 12. Over this middle reach the soils are typical of alluvial fans, consisting of Yolo silt loams and clay loams of less than two percent slope. Historically this soil has served pasture uses with some orchards. Currently most of this area is developed with medium density residential uses.
Below the downtown confluence with
Matanzas Creek, which drains the northern slopes of Sonoma Mountain, can be considered the lower reach of this watershed. Most of the soils extending some distance from Santa Rosa Creek are Yolo sandy loam overwash. This zone is especially subject to flooding, and historically has served as pasture, orchardand vineyard. Erosion potential is slight due to the less than five percent slope of this reach.
The upper reaches and headwaters of Santa Rosa Creek are on Hood Mountain on the western slopes of the southern
Mayacamas Mountains. Much of the ecosystemof the headwaters is relatively dense mixed oak woodland, which has a canopy of Coast live oak, Douglas fir, California Buckeye (" Aesculus californica") and Bigleaf Maple["Ecology of the southern Mayacmas Range", Lumina Technologies, Santa Rosa, Ca., May 11, 2005] . In these oak woodlands, the dominant understoryplants are toyon, blackberry, western poison-oakand in occasional drier patches some coyote brush. In some of the steeper, cooler riparian zones there are a high concentration of California laurel. Common animals observed include California Mule Deer, gray squirrel, raccoon, skunkand opossum. Less frequently bobcatand mountain lionare seen. There is abundant birdlife including the scrub jay, Steller's jay, acorn woodpeckerand junco.
As Santa Rosa Creek reaches the valley floor near Melita Road, the creek is choked with
Red willow, and also has coast live oak, Bigleaf maple, California laurelas well as a few Douglas firand Huckleberry Oak, "Quercus vacciniifolia". This middle reach of the creek has more of a suburban character compared to the wild headwaters area. The middle reach continues as a richly vegetated riparian zonefrom Melita Road westerly to Farmers Lane. The reach at the confluence of Brush Creek is particularly notable for the large boulder formation, known as "Flat Rocks". Below Farmers Lane the creek becomes channelized and much of the natural character is lost, until the creek begins to exit the west side of the city of Santa Rosa.
Annadel State Park
List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area
* [http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/default.aspx?PageId=352 Santa Rosa Creek Restoration Project of the City of Santa Rosa]
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