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The Putah Creek Legacy


Chapter One:  The Drought. Is a creek still a creek if it doesn't have any water? 

Chapter Two:  Whose Creek? The Web of Water. The Putah Creek Council sought to restore a degraded and forgotten waterway ­­—­ but then the creek ran out of water. Getting it back meant entering the tangled web of California water politics.

Chapter Three:  A Creek in Court. A decade-long lawsuit over Putah Creek hinged on the question: how much water should we give to fish?

Chapter Four:  The Pied Piper. Rich Marovich was hired to lead Putah Creek's restoration efforts, but locals say he's healed much more than the creek.

Chapter Five: 181 Dams. Lessons Learned from Putah Creek. The Putah Creek story isn't over. The scientists behind its remarkable success say there are 181 other dams in California where a little water could go a long way for native fish.

The Putah Creek Legacy is a joint reporting project from the The Davis Enterprise and Climate Confidential and was published December 7-12, 2014. It is part of Local Edition, a series of joint reporting projects with community news organizations like The Enterprise. These stories explore the intersection of local issues and global environmental problems. This work is funded by readers like you. 

Writer: Elizabeth Case
Producer: Celeste LeCompte
Editors: Celeste LeCompte, Debbie Davis
Maps & Infographics: Celeste LeCompte, Luke Van Horn
Audio and Video: Elizabeth Case, Audrey Cerdan
Photos: Fred Gladdis, Davis Enterprise; Todd Hammond, Davis Enterprise; Steve Fisch for The Putah Creek Oral History Project (courtesy of; Variety of photos courtesy of Robin Kulakow, Peter Moyle, and the Putah Creek Council
Illustrations: Rita Okusako, Davis Enterprise