Barron Watershed

The Barron Creek watershed covers an area of approximately three square miles of urban development between the Matadero and Adobe Creek watersheds. Barron Creek is approximately 5 miles long, originating in the low-density residential foothill region of the Town of Los Alto Hills and flowing in a northeasterly direction through residential, commercial, and industrial areas within the City of Palo Alto. The Creek joins neighboring Adobe Creek just upstream of Highway 101 and drains via a tide gate to the Lower South San Francisco Bay through the Palo Alto Flood Basin. It has no major tributaries.

Barron Creek has been greatly modified for flood control purposes; approximately 67 percent of the total length of creek bed has been hardened. Upstream of El Camino Real the creek is piped for much of its length. Natural channel sections occur immediately adjacent to Arastradero Road and at the Barron Creek Debris Basin (SCVWD 2005a). Downstream of El Camino Real, Barron Creek is contained in a concrete trapezoidal channel. During wet storm events, high flows from Barron Creek may be diverted to Matadero Creek via the Barron Creek Bypass structure.

No native fish communities have been identified upstream of the tidally influenced area of the creek.

Watershed Facts

  • Watershed area: 15.6 square miles
  • Number of tributary creeks: 5
  • Miles of natural creek bed: 15.1
  • Miles of Engineered Channel: 7.9
  • Local towns and cities: Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Mountain View
  • Percent area by land use:
    • Residential 60.5%
    • Industrial/Commercial 20.1%
    • Forest 7.3%
    • Rangeland 7.0%
    • Other 5.1%
  • Miles of Underground Culvert or Stormdrain: 28.6
  • Percent Impervious Area: 60.3%
  • Beneficial Uses: Cold Freshwater Habitat (COLD), Warm Freshwater Habitat (WARM), Fish Migration (MIGR), Fish Spawning (SPWN), Water Contact Recreation (REC-1), Noncontact Water Recreation (REC-2)
  • Water Quality Impairments: None

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