Horse Creek Dam Removal Project

Sisquoc River, Los Padres N.F., Northern Santa Barbara County CA


Horse Creek Dam Removal Project Salmonid Habitat Survey 2005
Stream Channel Assessment for Horse Creek Dam Removal Project 2005 (MLA)
Horse Dam - Post Removal Survey 2007  572kb
Horse Creek Dam - Post Removal Survey 2008 1.51mg

Matt Stoecker and Mike Love conduct a longitudinal profile survey downstream of Horse Creek Dam.

First surveyed in 2002 by Jim and Matt Stoecker, the obsolete Horse Creek Dam was assessed in detail by Stoecker Ecological again with Michael Love and Associates in 2005 in coordination with the Los Padres National Forest and with funding from American Rivers/NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Game. Stoecker Ecological was involved throughout the overall dam removal effort and provided project management, stakeholder outreach, Forest Service coordination and conducted biological, hydrology, sediment transfer, and fish passage site assessment. SE identified the dam as one of the watersheds top priorities for fish passage barrier removal and project stakeholders agreed that Horse Creek Dam offered a unique opportunity for using explosives to remove the remote dam.

In October 2006, a diverse group of project participants spent two days camping near the dam and preparing it with explosives that blew the dam sky high to open more than 19 miles of formerly inaccessible steelhead habitat. Products produced include three reports and a video short that is being produced into a documentary in coordination with Thomas B. Dunklin Productions (see other project description). Post dam removal monitoring was conducted during the summer of 2007 where adequate fish passage conditions were observed at the former dam site and steelhead were observed in the Sisquoc River near the mouth of Horse Creek. See the report for additional information and photos..

In addition to steelhead, native Arroyo chub, red-legged frogs and other creek fauna below Horse Creek Dam now have access upstream with the dam removal and improved surface flow.
SE field researcher Shaw Allen observes arroyo chub swimming in a pool on upper Horse Creek while conducting a multi-day backpacking survey of the basin’s steelhead habitat and natural migration barriers.
Mike Love on the scope while
surveying the dam.
Pool habitat upstream of the former dam is now accessible to steelhead.
Matt Stoecker standing atop Horse Creek Dam the day before explosives blew it to pieces. Thomas B. Dunklin Photo.
Primer cord going off.
The dam goes skyward!
Pieces of concrete flying!
Duck! My custom plexi-glass video housing got hit by a chunk of concrete right after this, but the camera was unharmed.
The damolition crew standing on the rubble of the former dam. Thomas B. Dunklin Photo.
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