Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


l Toro Creek, an ephemeral stream in Monterey County, California, is in a current state of instability. To date, CalTrans has spent over $62,000 on stream restoration and revegetation of El Toro and still, downstream erosion threatens homes. This senior capstone project addresses the issue of whether ecological assessment can increase the probability of successful restoration. To determine if coastal scrub vegetation could be successfully established on a new surface deposited in the streambed last year (1998), soil texture, soil organic matter, soil nitrogen, species composition and recruitment of coastal scrub indicator species were assessed in their present conditions at three El Toro Creek sites. Soil texture was classified as sandy loam at one of the sites sampled and loamy sand at the other two. Significant differences were returned in soil organic matter (F=18.592; p<0.0001; df=2,15) and soil nitrogen (F=61.23; p=0.0001; df=2,9). Trends were also evident in species composition and recruitment. Despite these differences, it must be concluded that the level of assessment applied over the duration of this study is inadequate to fully address the question of what type of vegetation would best be supported by the current conditions at El Toro Creek. Through this study, though, observation has indicated that the coastal scrub/chaparral species, Baccharis pilularis var. consanguinea, may be more water tolerant than previously believed. If this proves true, B. pilularis may be versatile in revegetating and stabilizing ephemeral California streams such as El Toro Creek. Further exploration of this observation is recommended.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute

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