This project removed non-native invasive weeds, Arundo donax, from the bed, banks, and overbanks of Carpinteria Creek and its tributaries. The Santa Barbara County Weed Management Area worked with the Carpinteria Creek Watershed Coalition on the rehabilitation of Carpinteria Creek for steelhead habitat. Arundo donax can grow to 30 feet tall and create dense thickets that increase the risk of flooding and reduce biodiversity. Beginning in 2005, this project treated the Arundo and has considerably reduced the infestation.
Carpinteria Creek offers great potential for steelhead trout recovery. Unlike many other South Coast streams, its channel still runs freely under open spans (rather than through culverts). The upper reaches of the creek contain great fish habitat, and water flows year round through the urban reach of the creek. Along much of the creek, there is a tall native tree canopy that maintains the cool water that steelhead require. Because of these features, Carpinteria Creek may offer the best opportunity among all the urban streams in southern Santa Barbara County for restoring significant steelhead runs in the next few years.