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Habitat Restoration Success Along Stevens Creek

Story by Jessica Calvillo

Having once been a resident of the high tech city of Cupertino, CA, I can say that Steven’s Creek is truly an oasis away from the noise and stress of modern life in Silicon Valley. Before I was even apart of the Central Coast Wilds and Ecological Concerns Inc. (ECI) family, I frequently escaped to a portion of Stevens Creek running through the McClellan Ranch Preserve that had been restored by ECI. I had no idea that the peaceful riparian and oak woodland habitats where I’d relax with my botany books, feet dipped in the cool water, were as beautiful as they are because of the hard work of the people I’d eventually be working alongside.

Stevens Creek after restoration
Stevens Creek after restoration

The restoration of the Stevens Creek Corridor was a huge success since its initial planning in 2006. Along its lovely creekside trails you’ll see a wide variety of natives like Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), Pink Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), California blackberry (Rubus ursinus), and more growing freely as ECI continues to suppress the invasion of invasive species. Because of its success the project has recently been recognized four times with awards in various environmental categories. The project included 60 acres of upland oak woodland habitat restored along newly shaped Stevens Creek between McClellan Rd to Stevens Creek Blvd in Cupertino. The work was done in two phases, both of which ECI had the pleasure to perform the habitat establishment portion. The entire project was a tremendous effort by several state and local agencies all working together with the assistance of dozens of contractors. The tasks at hand for our ECI team included erosion control, irrigation, hydroseeding, willow stake planting, watershed specific plant installation, maintenance and monitoring. Phase two, completed in 2014, has been under restoration maintenance by ECI with a focus on ensuring plant establishment and control of invasive weed species.

Stevens Creek path
Early restoration, 2006

A project like this is no small undertaking and requires a long list of steps to achieve the desired results but the value of such work is immeasurable. A struggling ecosystem once overgrown with invasive species is now a sanctuary for wildlife like birds, pollinators, deer, and even steelhead trout. This revitalized nature preserve is now a place where the community comes to learn and get in touch with nature with its accessible trails, nature museum, community gardens, and volunteer activities. If you would like to visit the McClellan Ranch Preserve yourself follow this link for more information:

Stevens Creek restoration
During restoration, 2014


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