Rock Creek Restoration
Rock Creek is an intermittent stream located in unincorporated Placer County north of the City of Auburn within the Coon Creek watershed. The main stem of Rock Creek originates just above Rock Creek Lake in the foothills west of the community of Bowman. The stream course continues below the Rock Creek Lake dam where it is joined by a minor tributary branch located to the south. This tributary, which is the subject of this feasibility study, originates near the intersection of Bell Road and Highway 49 on the north side of the Target Store parking lot. Below the confluence of the tributary with the main stem, Rock Creek passes under Highway 49 and progresses northwesterly through the Auburn District Regional Park to its confluence with Dry Creek, a tributary to Coon Creek. Rock Creek is part of the Nevada Irrigation District’s commercial water delivery system. While much of the property immediately adjacent to the Rock Creek tributary is undeveloped, urban land uses within its watershed have had a significant impact on its condition. These land uses include residential development, apartments, a church, local roads, Highway 49, and commercial shopping centers.
The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive approach to enhancing the Rock Creek tributary that satisfies multiple stakeholder interests while optimizing diversity of habitats, water quality, and passive recreation benefits. The site offers an opportunity to provide an off-street pedestrian and bicycle connection between Auburn District Regional Park, residential areas to the north, and the commercial centers at Highway 49 and Bell Road.
General goals and objectives have been established for the project:
- Improve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the tributary;
- Improve recreational and public access opportunities;
- Enhance educational opportunities for nearby schools and residents; and,
- Ensure long-term sustainability of the restoration projects.
The plan includes recommendations for improving human and natural systems in the project area to account for some of the above mentioned impacts, such as:
- Trail construction to link the Target shopping center to Auburn Regional Park, including interpretive exhibits and bridges;
- Realignment of the creek channel to increase the riparian buffer between the creek and the adjacent apartment complex;
- The use of in-stream structures to enhance fish and other aquatic species habitat;
- Improvement of riparian areas through revegetation, invasive species management and creation of stream terraces;
- Integration of Low Impact Development (LID) concepts into adjacent development; and,
- Incorporation of a mixed-use commercial/residential development with outdoor gathering space that utilizes permeable paving, filtration wetlands and other LID techniques and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) concepts.
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