Beebe Family Ranch Channel Restoration

For the Beebe Family Ranch LLC

The Beebe Family Ranch is a 200-acre ranch in Petaluma’s eastern foothills. A creek tributary runs through it, conveying water from the western face of the Sonoma Mountain watershed into Old Adobe Creek and the Petaluma River.

The creek once supported Coho salmon and steelhead trout, providing a food source for the Native Americans who inhabited the area. Currently, the area supports the California red-legged frog, along with rare and endangered plant species.

Over the previous 50 years, the channel had filled with debris and tires. Caltrans had been paying the landowner to allow it to dump tires that were collected along state and county roads.

As a first step on this project, another contractor removed more than 1,000,000 tires. Once they were gone, we discovered a channel over 40 feet deep, the bottom 6 feet of which consisted of highly erodible mud.

Together with engineers from EBA Engineering, Barth Campbell devised a successful plan to remove the mud and stabilize the channel, using stone step pool construction methods. The design and process enabled us to eliminate erosion and sediment delivery into the Petaluma River watershed. We also construct a 2-acre habitat pond for red-legged frogs and installed all erosion control for the site.

Campbell Grading, Inc., removed large trees and root balls, laid the slopes back to achieve natural and even drainage patterns,  filled the channel bottom with a filter fabric wrap, and imported and placed over 1,300 tons of 3-inch drain rock and 4,600 cubic yards of compacted soil to bring the channel up to the original and natural flow line. We also constructed several rock check dams and step pools and installed woody debris to reduce the water velocity.