San Luis Obispo Creek

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San Luis Obispo Creek is a stream in San Luis Obispo County, California.


The headwaters of San Luis Obispo Creek are in the Santa Lucia Mountains near Cuesta Grade, it flows through the city of San Luis Obispo, and it empties into the Pacific Ocean just west of Avila Beach. The creek is 15 miles (24 km) long and drains 84 square miles (220 km2). Its eleven tributaries are Brizziolari, Stenner, Reservoir Canyon, Prefumo, Castro, Davenport, Froom, See Canyon and East Fork San Luis Obispo Creeks.[1]


Various barriers to fish migration have been created on San Luis Obispo Creek and its tributaries, since the city of San Luis Obispo developed. Stage Coach Dam on the upper reaches of the creek was removed in 2002. It had been built in the early 1900s to create a water supply reservoir, but was filled in with sediment. Other barriers have been removed as well, often by creating noches in the middle to concentrate low flows or adding rock weirs to back up the water over an obstacle or provide a more gradual change in elevation.

North American beaver (Castor canadensis) have been thought to be non-native to San Luis Obispo Creek but Bolton recorded in "Anza's California Expeditions" that in April 1774, Father Cavaller of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa gave Juan Bautista de Anza "thirty-odd beaver skins" along with other local gifts including fine Indian baskets and "the skins of eight bears, the animals for which the region was renowned".[2]


  1. ^ Stark, Brian B.; Wilkison, Brett (January 2002). San Luis Obispo Creek Watershed Enhancement Plan (PDF) (Report). The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. p. 93. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  2. ^ Herbert Eugene Bolton (1930). Outpost of Empire, Vol. 1 in Anza's California Expeditions. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 433.