Tajiguas Ranch Phase 1

Title: Rancho Tajiguas Barrier Removal Project

Cost: $1,100,000

Goals: Improve fish passage and riparian habitat

Funders: California Department of Fish and Game, Landowner

Partners: California Department of Fish and Game, California Conservation Corps, Michael Love and Associates, VJS Biological Consulting, Shaw Contracting

The Rancho Tajiguas Barrier Removal Project involved the removal of five low flow crossings and installation of one clear span bridge. The crossings that were removed were constructed decades ago as part of the ranch agricultural operations and over time became barriers to steelhead trout migration.  Rancho Tajiguas, is a private property that encompasses the entire 6.2 square mile watershed of Tajiguas Creek on the Gaviota Coast near Santa Barbara, California. The project restored approximately three miles of steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.


The construction phase of the project began in late Summer 2011. At each of the five project sites construction involved removing the concrete crossings, regrading of the stream channel the restoration of the stream banks within the project area using biotechnical methods of bank stabilization, and re-vegetation of the site with native riparian species. Re-vegetation efforts began in December 2011, in total over 600 native container plants were planted at the sites along with tree stakes that were salvaged from the sites prior to construction.


The project was funded by the Department of Fish and Games Fisheries Restoration Grant Program as well as by the property owner. Removal of the barriers and replacement of the crossings with a single bridge significantly improved conditions for steelhead within the Tajiguas Watershed along the Gaviota Coast.