Studies show that roads are the primary source of sediment from human land use in Santa Cruz County, and that sediment has the greatest impact on riparian ecosystems. Most roads disturb natural drainage patterns, which can lead to surface and gully erosion and slope failures (landslides). Road cuts and fills are also subject to erosion.
County Roads Erosion and Sediment Control Program
Public Works has existing and new programs to reduce sediment sources from county roads.
Over 50% of flood related damage in 1997 could be attributed to culvert failures. When culverts fail, erosion and flooding are greatly accelerated. Assessments that evaluated erosion potential along county roads have been completed in Scott, San Lorenzo and Soquel watersheds (funding from the California Department of Fish and Game's Fishery Restoration Grants Program). The goal of this project is to upgrade or replace cross-culvert on public roads. Projects have been completed on Kings Creek Road. Projects throughout the county are planned for implementation over the next four years with funding from the State Water Resources Control Board.
Rural Roads Erosion Control Assistance Program
The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (SCCRCD) manages the Rural Roads Erosion Control Assistance Program with funding from the California Coastal Conservancy and the State Water Resources Control Board. The goal of this program is to improve water quality and fisheries habitat in the San Lorenzo River, Soquel Creek and Aptos/Valencia Creek watersheds by reducing sediment inputs into these streams from private, rural roads. For more information, contact the SCCRCD.