Creek restoration at Rush Ranch

Good for fish and tidal flows

For a few months starting in August, the South Pasture Trail at Rush Ranch will be closed to hikers — but open for restoration!

Thanks to your support, the restorative measures taken at Lower Spring Branch Creek will improve the connection between the Suisun Marsh and the uplands. This restored natural connectivity will provide several benefits, such as more food for fish of all ages in the marsh.

Years ago, landowners built a long berm to control the flow of the creek and provide water for cattle. They also installed two culverts below the ranch road, but the culverts were too small to accommodate flow. With a design by Siegel Environmental and implementation by Hanford ARC, we’re letting the water run its natural course.

“The whole project is about connecting the uplands to the marsh,” says Sue Wickham, former project manager and current volunteer. “The old, too-small culverts were acting like two large holes in an earthen dam. The new 20-foot diameter half-culvert with an open bottom will let the water flow.”

The improved flow will allow runoff from the hills, which will bring sediments to the marsh. That sediment from soil and plants will provide food for fish such as salmon and the embattled Delta smelt.

Improved flow also allow water to move into the uplands. Non-native weeds don’t like the brackish (salty) water from the slough, but native wetland plants do. Improving the natural circulation will help native plants thrive, and that helps wildlife.

The South Pasture Trail will be closed for the restoration work from August 8 to November 1, 2019.

A second restoration project at the north end of the ranch will take place simultaneously. At Suisun Hill Hollow, we are lowering a man-made berm that was created when soil was quarried from the ranch and used as fill in Suisun City.

The Marsh Trail will be closed at Suisun Hill Hollow from the end of September to mid-October.

Once these changes to the land have been made, we will be looking for help to replant several areas. Keep an eye out for announcements about several big restoration days. You can also contact Di Holokahi and ask to be put on a list for the Rush Ranch restoration project. Call 707-420-1041 or email

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and Tom Muehleisen.