Salt River Ecosystem Restoration

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Working with a number of public agencies on one of the State of California’s biggest environmental projects, we provided design, permitting, and outreach services to restore more than seven miles of the Salt River and its floodplain and 290 acres of estuarine habitat.

The purpose of the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project is to restore historic processes and functions, necessary for re-establishing riparian floodplain corridor, wetlands and estuarine ecosystems as part of a land use, flood alleviation, and watershed management program, to the Salt River watershed. Levees constructed to protect the productive agricultural lands of the Salt River floodplain from the adjacent Eel River’s tidal and flood influences have altered regional drainage patterns, which, coupled with naturally high influent sediment loads, have resulted in accelerated aggradation and loss of stream and sediment transport function and habitat value across the Salt River floodplain. The ongoing aggradation and flooding of local infrastructure and agricultural land have led to loss of habitat for threatened and endangered species, reduced property values, and decline in agricultural productivity.

The project will re-connect the Eel River estuary to a series of five tributary streams draining from the Wildcat Mountains. The connection will include restoration of more than seven miles of the lower Salt River channel and riparian floodplain that will restore passage to over 15 miles of historic salmonid spawning tributaries. The project also includes restoration of 300 acres of tidal wetlands to support a broad list of special status and native species. Specific goals of the project include:

  • Restoring the Salt River channel and adjacent riparian floodplain by adding channel habitat complexity, increasing hydraulic conveyance and constructing habitat features that re-establish ecological processes beneficial to fish and other native species
  • Restoring tidal connectivity to historic tidal wetlands to allow for the natural evolution of diverse and self-sustaining salt- and brackish water tidal marshes, intertidal mudflat, and shallow water habitats
  • Providing wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds as well as nesting habitat for neo-tropical migrant birds
  • Maximizing riparian habitat extent and complexity by increasing plant species diversity, corridor shading, and large wood recruitment, as well as minimizing invasive species
  • Managing excess sediment loads by minimizing upper watershed sediment inputs, maximizing fluvial and tidal channel sediment transport capacity, and designing passive sediment management areas along the Salt River channel corridor
  • Initiating a long-term corridor adaptive management process that maximizes ecological restoration success in a working landscape

The Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project, with an estimated construction fee of USD18 million, is being funded by the California Coastal Conservancy, State Water Resources Control Board, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife Services, CA Department of Fish & Game, Wildlife Conservation Board, Natural Resource Conservation Services, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and multiple other project partners.

Extensive stakeholder outreach and public meetings were also held.

Transport Facilities


Our services cover the following:

  • Traffic engineering
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These services support feasibility and infrastructure planning and design works for urban developments, roads and highways, pedestrian, cycling, public transport infrastructure, water and air borne transport systems.

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Waterways & Coastal


Today, GHD has one of Australia’s largest groups of dedicated water management professionals. We provide leading technical support for the study and management of all forms of waterways, including rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal areas.

GHD’s Waterways & Coastal offering service line covers background and baseline studies, strategic and planning studies, and impact assessments. We can work with you on all stages of the feasibility and design process through to the supervision of construction projects with respect to waterways and developments affecting waterways.

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