Middle Stewart Canyon Creek Restoration Project

California Conservation Corps Opens in new windowCA Department of Fish and Wildlife Opens in new windowChannel Islands Restoration Opens in new window
City of Ojai Opens in new windowConcerned Resource and Environmental Workers Opens in new windowPax Environmental, Inc. Opens in new window
Once Upon a Watershed Opens in new windowOjai Valley Land Conservancy Opens in new windowundefined Opens in new window

The Middle Stewart Canyon Creek Restoration Project rehabilitated a 10.8-acre riparian corridor by removing invasive, non-native plant species and reintroducing native plant species through active and passive restoration. Middle Stewart Canyon Creek is one of many community restoration projects within the Ventura River Watershed and is contiguous with previously restored sites up and down the stream. The project was funded through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Proposition 1 Watershed Grant Program.

Forested Area After RestorationProject Area

The Project is a high-priority restoration area at the local, state, and federal levels. The Project is located within Reach 1 of Stewart Canyon Creek and is one of only 8 stream reaches that have been determined to be potentially suitable habitat for southern California steelhead (Oncoryhnchus mykiss irideus population 10; federally endangered) within the City of Ojai. Additionally, the Project area is a tributary of San Antonio Creek which is Critical Habitat for southern California steelhead and California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii, federally threatened). The Project area is within the Ventura River Watershed which is considered a Core 1 population (highest priority for recovery actions) by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Middle Stewart Canyon Creek Restoration Project Area Map

Project Goals

  • Reestablish a functioning wetland and riparian ecosystem that supports a diversity of native fish, wildlife, and plant species, specifically federally-listed southern California steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii)
  • Remove and control non-native species which are negatively impacting the habitat value of Middle Stewart Canyon Creek
  • Enhance native species richness and abundance by reintroducing native plants in areas where invasive plants are removed
  • Restore the function of low flow channel by removing tree litter, rubble and debris dammed up from invasive plants
  • Provide ongoing stewardship of Stewart Canyon Creek
  • Reduce fire danger and management concerns related to the presence of invasive plant species within the canyon
  • Develop outreach and networking strategies that will help to continue project funding from a variety of community-based sources
  • Support workforce development for local youth aged 18 to 24 working for Concerned Resource and Environmental Workers (CREW) and CA Conservation Corps (CCC) through tree removal, native planting, watering, and weeding

Project Team

Tasks Completed

  • 650+ invasive, non-native plants removed:
    • Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta)
    • Red gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
    • Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis)
  • 1,000+ seeds planted:
    • Black walnut (Elymus triticoides)
    • Coast live oak (Quercus agrifloia)
    • Valley oak
  • 3,100+ container plants planted including:
    • Coast live oak (Quercus agrifloia)
    • Purple sage (Salvia leucophylla)
    • Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
    • Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis)
    • Giant wild rhye (Elymus condensatus)
    • California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)
  • 600+ cuttings planted including:
    • Sandbar willow (Salix exigua)
    • Red willow (Salix laevigata)
    • Mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia)
  • 950+ community volunteer hours
  • 200+ workforce development hours
  • 200+ students hours

Annual Reports 

Middle Stewart Canyon 2021-2022 Annual Report

Middle Stewart Canyon 2022-2023 Annual Report

Middle Stewart Canyon 2023-2024 Final Annual Report