Aptos Creek Streamwood Enhancement Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District
Document Title
Aptos Creek Streamwood Enhancement Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The project will increase channel complexity and improve habitat conditions within targeted reaches of Aptos Creek by accelerating recruitment of large wood to the channel in ways that mimic natural recruitment processes. The project approach is to source wood locally by utilizing existing medium-growth Coast Redwood trees adjacent to the creek that are either unhealthy, stump sprouted trunks, and/or part of dense stands that could benefit from targeted thinning. Pre-identified trees will be felled in strategic directions directly into the stream channel using manual hand falling techniques (no heavy equipment), with some subsequent degree of field fitting using winches. Trees with a DBH of between 20”-36” were targeted to ensure adequate strength of wood, long-term survival and function of wood, and reduce the number of trees given desired level of wood loading. All trees to be removed were identified based on field guidance from State Parks environmental staff and were chosen while keeping in mind minimization of impacts on canopy cover and shading, protection of wildlife and wildlife trees, and future natural recruitment of large wood. The project will lead to improved instream habitat for salmonids along stream reaches that are largely devoid of large wood. Expected project benefits include sediment retention, development of riffles, creation and maintenance of pools, floodplain activation, and improved cover habitat.

Contact Information

Jim McKenna
Agency Name
Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Santa Cruz
Aptos Creek
Other Location Info
Forest of Nisene Marks State Park along Aptos Creek between lat/long: 37.005281/-121.905592 (downstream end) and 37.033030/-121.880330 (upstream end)

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Sec. 15304 Class 4 (i)
Reasons for Exemption
This project is categorically exempt pursuant to Sec. 15304 Minor Alterations to Land for the following reasons: This project is categorically exempt pursuant to Sec. 15304 - Minor Alterations to Land for the following reasons: the project does not involve any ground-disturbing activities as the work will be carried out using manual labor (no heavy equipment); only unhealthy trees, stump-sprouted trunks, and/or dense stands of trees that could benefit from selective thinning will be removed; removed trees will be directly used to improve habitat for threatened and endangered salmonids; there will be no take of endangered, rare, or threatened plant or animal species; and there will be no significant impacts to surface waters. For the reasons stated above, this project shall be exempt from the provisions of CEQA.
County Clerk
Santa Cruz


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