Restoration can mean a lot of things: bringing something such as a landscape, a home, or a car back to its original glory. Restoration can also mean simply re-creating function—like restorative surgery—where the outcomes are expected to be better than before intervention, but not in their original condition.
On Putah Creek restoration does not mean bringing the landscape or its vegetation back to a state of pre-European-settlement, but rather improving its condition to where it can most effectively provide for the needs of the humans and wildlife that depend on it.
The restoration project at Winters Putah Creek Nature Park will reform the creek channel on smaller scale, taking into account the current water flows and land use. The project will narrow the flow channel, lower the floodplains, increase flow velocity, and restore the connection of the creek to its floodplains.
The project will also greatly enhance public access to public land. On the south bank, public land spans the distance between the Winters Car Bridge to the west and the Interstate 505 bridge to the east. On the north bank public land spans between the car bridge to the eastern edge of the housing development off of Creekside Way.
Walking trails will be created on both the north and south banks. As part of this project a seasonal walking path will be created along the south bank from the Car Bridge to 505, and a separate project will construct a paved path on the upper north bank terrace between downtown and the Creekside Way development.
The walking trails are possible because the restoration project will create new floodplains on both sides of the channel the by narrowing the channel along much of this distance. The new channel will be about 30 feet wide, with alternating pools, riffles, and runs, and it will meander through the Park. Invasive species including eucalyptus, Himalayan blackberry, arundo, and tamarisk will be removed and native species will be planted in their place.