El Corte de Madera Creek Watershed Protection Program

After a 1.5-year permitting process involving six federal, state, and local agencies, the District is continuing construction on the remaining moderate- and high-priority Watershed Protection Program work for the Preserve. Work is scheduled to occur at multiple sites through 2016. Implementation of these Watershed Protection Plan and other trail upgrades and drainage improvements are designed to prevent sediment delivery to Lawrence and El Corte de Madera Creeks in order to improve water quality for downstream fish species, improve overall watershed health, and improve the trail experience for Preserve visitors.

Project Update: March 2015

The summary table below indicates trails (part or whole) that may be impacted for maintenance, grading, re-routing, bridge installation, or similar work. Please see the Trail Work and Closures document for more information, including anticipated visitor impacts.

In 2015, work is expected to occur between May and October. Any Trail Closures will be posted in advance on the trail conditions page and posted at signboards and important trail heads in the Preserve.

Summary Table: Watershed Protection Plan and
Other Trail Upgrades and Drainage Improvements

- Oljon Trail ( Phases 2 - 4)
- South Leaf Trail (former trail only)
- Blue Blossom (East) Trail
- El Corte de Madera Creek Trail
- Methuselah Bridges
- Resolution Trail
- Parking lot and connecting trail
- Steam Donkey Trail
- Oljon Trail ( Phases 2, 3)
- Springboard Trail
- Blue Blossom (West) Trail
- Methuselah Trail

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve encompasses 2,817 acres in the upper headwaters of the San Gregorio Creek watershed. This watershed provides critical habitat for steelhead rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Steelhead are federally listed as a threatened species, and coho salmon are listed by state and federal agencies as endangered on California's Central Coast. These species have experienced dramatic population declines primarily due to habitat loss from streambed sedimentation associated with water diversions, road construction, mining, grazing, and timber harvest activities.

This Preserve offers a unique and complex challege to the District and its partnering agencies. Not only does the Preserve occupy a key location within the San Gregorio Creek Watershed with sensitive fish habitat, but its extensive network of former logging roads make it extremely popular among hikers and mountain bikers. To balance the health of the watershed (and of the people and animals who depend on it) with recreation uses, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District partnered with the National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Game, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board and created a comprehensive Watershed Protection Program for the Preserve.

ECDM Water Trail
(Photo by MROSD)

The purpose of the Program is to protect and restore watershed integrity while maintaining opportunities for year-round multiple use recreation and environmental education. The Program implements long-term solutions to erosion and creek sedimentation problems caused in part by the legacy of logging roads. A major portion of the work is focused on improving the road and trail system and stream crossings. The Program also calls for long-term maintenance and monitoring of streams and trails and extensive environmental education and public outreach.

Why restoration work requires use of heavy equipment

The District inherited a network of roads from the logging era when it purchased the land. Most erosion in the Preserve can be traced to undersized or failing drainage culverts and the intersections of old logging roads with streams. These logging roads were constructed using heavy equipment. The most effective and cost-effective restoration work is accomplished using the same sized equipment used in the original construction.

Construction scars will be only temporary; in a few years, vegetation will flourish in the riparian corridors long buried by logging road construction debris. Future trail users will not recognize the former logging roads as they enjoy pleasant trails winding through the redwood forest.

Maps and schedules further detailing improvements will be posted on District signboards at the Preserve. Click here to view current trail conditions.


   Additional Information

2015 Trail Work and Closurespdf

CalendarLocate Preserve in Map

El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

Trail Conditions

Other projects

Bear Creek Redwoods Planning

Cooley Landing Project

Coastside Protection Program

Driscoll Ranch Lease & Management Plan

El Corte de Madera Watershed Protection Program

Hawthorns Historic Complex

La Honda Creek Master Plan

Mindego Gateway Project

Mindego Ranch Use and
Management Plan

Mount Umunhum Summit Project

Skyline Ridge Tree Farm Project

Vision Plan Project

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