Our projects restore our community watersheds for Steelhead trout and other species for today and future generations



Crowd hydrology, in partnership with the University of Buffalo, empowers the public to be citizen scientists -- to read water depth and collect data as they’re walking by streams and estuaries. CCSE staff installs the signs that measure water depth in different sites throughout the county, along with instructions. You text the data and it gets added automatically to an online database. It’s that easy!

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San Luis Obispo community culvert

San Luis obispo City Culvert

San Luis Obispo Creek runs through a tunnel under downtown San Luis Obispo, and inside there are several partial barriers over which adult and juvenile Steelhead trout have difficulty migrating. CCSE has completed a feasibility study of modifying the barriers inside the tunnel to improve fish passage and is currently weighing possible alternatives with partner organizations such as the City of San Luis Obispo. Alternatives evaluated include: 1) Constructing a high-flow by-pass; 2) Constructing a step-pool channel; 3) Constructing a low-flow channel; and, 4) Doing nothing.

San Luis Obispo County Flow Monitoring and FloW ENhancement Evaluation program

Funded by the California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) Streamflow Enhancement Program, CCSE is collecting and analyzing instream flow data across SLO County. The programs includes three primary components:

  • Low flow motioning during the spring and summer to determine which creeks are meeting minimum in-stream Environmental Water Demand (EWD). EWD estimates are based on the minimum flows needed to sustain Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
  • High-flow monitoring in collaboration with the County of SLO and the Central Coast Water  Board.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of Cal Poly's rainwater capture and storage tanks which where built to alleviate the use of riparian wells in Pennington Creek. 

The results will be utilized to prioritize and improve future in-stream low flow enhancement efforts.  In-stream flow enhancement strategies include rain water capture and storage,  peak flow diversion and storage, groundwater recharge, reconnecting floodplains, and grey water re-use.

Invasive plant preventing fish from moving through watershed


This invasive plant is removed to improve spawning and rearing habitat for Steelhead trout along West Corral de Piedra, a tributary of Pismo Creek.

Central Coast Watershed

Arroyo Grande Stream Gauge Modification

This project removes and reconstructs the existing concrete platform that currently spans the main creek channel and lowers the stream bed so migrating adult and juvenile Steelhead can once again swim upstream to more than three miles of critical habitat. CCSE is currently evaluating alternatives at this site in partnership with the County of San Luis Obispo.