Salt Creek Wetland Mitigation Project

Salt Creek Awards

The Salt Creek Wetland

The Salt Creek Wetland is a highly-visible section of the Salt Creek Trail near the City’s Chapparosa Park that is popular with runners, walkers, and cyclists. Restoration efforts enhanced available habitat for the threatened and endangered birds, and other species that reside along this creek segment and provided improved wildlife viewing opportunities for trail users.


A Mitigation Model

The Salt Creek Wetland Mitigation Project includes 11.36 acres of wetland habitat restoration targeting the removal of non-native plant species and the replacement of select cattail areas with native willows and plants. The Project serves as a mitigation model for the ongoing management of other wetland areas within the City and addresses potential environmental impacts caused by runoff from the surrounding neighborhoods, as the wetland acts as a filter for the watershed. Cooperation with State and Federal regulatory agencies, the habitat restoration contractor, and multiple environmental consultants were necessary to successfully deliver this Project and ensure the protection and restoration of the wetland.

Environmental Obstacles

The Salt Creek Wetland Project site presented a number of environmental challenges:

  • Limited site access due to steep slopes
  • Evidence of threatened and endangered bird species
  • Presence of invasive trees and plant species
  • Minimizing Project noise levels for nesting birds
  • Drought conditions
Steep slopesArea-6---removal-of-nonnative-species



  1. The Project supports the City’s Strategic Plan Goal #3 of Open Space and Environmental Preservation by improving water quality and habitat along the watershed.
  2. Most Project construction activity was completed by hand to ensure noise levels did not disrupt nesting birds.
  3. The City planted Black Willow and Mulefat cuttings and seed mix in the Project site without supplemental irrigation, which presented a significant cost savings to the City and preserved limited water resources during statewide drought conditions.  
  4. As an additional cost-savings measure, the removed non-native plant species were converted into mulch.

Before and After Restoration Efforts

January - Removing Cattails (Area 3)

Before - Removing Cattails from Salt Creek Trail

June - Mulefat and Willow Establishing (Area 3)

4 Months Later - Mulefat and Willow growing

February - Hydroseed Installed (Area 3)

Planting Hydroseed

August - Willow Stakes Growing (Area 3)

Area 3 - Willow stakes growing (after 7 months)

February - Willow Stakes Installed (Area 6)


June - Willow Establishing (Area 6)


Public Outreach

As an innovative public outreach component, the City created the interactive wetlands map (screenshot shown below), allowing viewers the ability to click on the City's 13 wetlands, including Salt Creek, to see information on each wetland's location, acreage, function, and predominate flora.

Interactive Wetlands Website

This project exemplifies how a diverse project team comprised of several consultant companies can work together to identify and implement creative solutions to project challenges.