Thoughts From a Local Biologist

By Tim Pafford
Reprinted from Watershed,
the Dry Creek Conservancy newsletter

Egret at William Pond
Egret at William Pond

When I was a little boy, I was always messing around with water. I remember an incident of playing in rain-swollen puddles one stormy winter day after being sent home from kindergarten with a high fever. And I often came home muddy and wet after trying to change the course of the water flowing down the neighborhood gutters. At that time, for a native of the San Fernando Valley, this was about as wild and scenic as flowing water could be. Luckily, my parents loved the outdoors and always provided us kids with numerous trips to the most spectacular natural areas California had to offer, including real rivers and lakes. This opportunity to see natural areas and wild streams fueled my fascination and steered me to the biological profession that I have today.

Recently, restoration work on a 1.4-mile reach of Dry Creek was completed. The benefits to the creek included reduction of sediment, stabilized stream banks, and flood protection. The greatest benefit of all was installation of 1,100 trees to provide shade and nutrients for the creek and an additional 300 feet of suitable spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead, and easier passage for the fish to return home. Upon completion of this project, I had to reflect back to the old concrete gutter that I once played in, with its intermittent flows that drained into concrete pipes which drained to a skeleton of the once respectable Los Angeles River – now sterile and channelized with a concrete bottom and sheer concrete walls towering up two stories to meet business and residential structures.

Dry Creek, with its grassy tree-lined banks as it lazily meanders through Roseville, can hardly be compared to the Los Angeles River. Roseville and the neighboring areas are blessed with a gem. It may not be a blue ribbon trout stream, but Dry Creek has a lot to offer the community with the potential for more, well into the future. With proper stewardship, generations may continue to enjoy the fish and wildlife the creek has to offer, the serenity of the majestic oaks that gracefully line the streambanks, the miracle of the salmon and steelhead runs, and the opportunity for kids of all ages to investigate nature’s wonders in a real stream.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2004 Newsletter


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