NHC's Habitat Restoration Project under Construction
on the American River
Crews are nearing completion of a 3.5 acre habitat restoration project in Discovery Park near downtown Sacramento, California. The site will provide aquatic and riparian habitat within the levee corridor of the Lower American River. NHC, under project manager Brian Wardman, led a multi-disciplinary team to develop project goals, evaluate conceptual design alternatives, and develop the final design for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Association (SAFCA). The first project phase excavated the floodplain and installed instream woody material to provide fish habitat. The excavated earthen material was hauled to an adjacent levee section and placed as a seepage berm to improve flood protection in the Natomas Basin. Project construction began in August 2015, and the first phase should be complete by early November. The second phase, to vegetate the site with native plants, will be completed in 2016.

Little shallow water floodplain habitat is present along the flood control levees on the Lower American River. This habitat is important to out-migrating juvenile salmon and steelhead by providing a rest stop with food, cover, and respite from higher stream velocities. The project will help to offset the unavoidable habitat losses due to the presence and maintenance of the levees that protect urban Sacramento from flooding. Because the project area is within a highly urbanized river reach popular with swimmers, boaters, and fishermen, the design includes many features that reduce risk to public safety and ensure a lasting and sustainable design.

The project was recently featured on News 13, the Sacramento CBS affiliate (link here).