Tajiguas Ranch Phase 2

Title: Rancho Tajiguas Barrier Removal Project – Phase 2

Cost: $500,000

Goals: Improve fish passage and riparian habitat

Funders: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Landowner

Partners: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Conservation Corps, Waterways Consulting, VJS Biological Consulting, Peter Lapidus Construction

The Rancho Tajiguas Barrier Removal Project – Phase 2 involved the removal of two low flow crossings and the installation of two bottomless aluminum arched culverts. The crossings that were removed were constructed decades ago as part of the ranch agricultural operations and over time became barriers to steelhead migration. The crossings were removed and the stream channel regraded to provide fish passage through the project site. 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 followed upon the successful Phase 1 efforts which were completed in 2011 and restored approximately three miles of steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.


The construction phase of the project began in late Summer 2014. At each site construction involved removing the concrete crossings, regrading of the stream channel, installation of a bottomless aluminium arched culvert, restoration of the stream banks, and re-vegetation of the site with native riparian species. Re-vegetation efforts began in December 2014, in total over 150 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 Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program as well as by the property owner. Removal of the barriers and replacement with fish friendly structures significantly improved conditions for steelhead within the Tajiguas Watershed along the Gaviota Coast.