Morse Creek Streamwalk Report

July 13, 2002

  • Notes by Gary Gleason
  • Team Members on walk: Mary Robson, Donna Spence, Mike and Chris Langley, Gary Gleason.


Reach One area, Morse Creek Mouth to the footbridge at Four Seasons Ranch: During the winter, the high water removed much of the central gravel bar under the footbridge and cut down so that the entire Creek runs along the West bank against the riprap and directly into the salt water, no bar, no ponds no twists or turns this summer. The small East channel is now totally dry by the bridge. Many of the big logs which were placed as part of a fish restoration several years ago and had been covered over with gravel and sand are now uncovered or sticking out of the bank but many were way above the current water level.

Reach two, Rail Trail and Highway 101 Bridge area: No major changes to the site, a little downcutting but no trees fell and no changes in water flow. The Morse/Ennis team sampled macroinvertebrates at this site in October and noted that the gravel bar is now composed of mostly gravel, not the clay-based flat shards that we had found in past years. While we did not do a test of the gravel for size, they looked to be less than 2" with little sand or mud. [Note from Ed Chadd: a large tree did fall across the creek between the rail and highway bridges during the January 2002 storm. I believe it was removed at that time because of flooding/erosion concerns. Also, some very large riprap has become dislodged from the right bank under the Highway 101 bridge, probably during the January storm, indicating very large stream energy at that point. Upstream perhaps 100 yards from this point is a pronounced erosional area on the left bank, where the bank has collapsed and become a smooth dirt wall. Stream energy is likely to bounce off this eroded bank and into the riprap under the 101 bridge-a situation to watch carefully.]

Four Seasons park area: Flow under both bridges looks to be in a deeper channel, but no other changes since the creek is confined by riprap and bridge supports. No tree-cutting activity or other human-caused changes were noted.

Reach 3, East Side Four Seasons Park: No major changes, except for downcutting by floods this past winter. Stream still flowing in the same channels and the Alder trees which tipped over several years ago are still on the bank - green but no longer in low flow area. Thus at this time of the year, the creek flows under the trunks and rootball but is not in contact with them. The downcutting has made the channel that much deeper now. No other trees are missing in the reach, no other changes.

We did not walk up above Four Seasons Park this year.