UC Davis students assess the hydrology of Putah Creek Parkway

Putah Creek Watershed Map

Students in Dr. Gregory Pasternack’s “Field Methods in Hydrology” class recently put the finishing touches on a report they crafted as part of the site analysis for planning the restoration of native plants to the Putah Creek Parkway. Pasternack and his class were recruited by Emily Griswold, Director of GATEways Horticulture and Teaching Gardens at the Arboretum, after questions arose about the hydrology of the highly modified Putah Creek Parkway site of the Downtown Davis Parkway Greening Project. The portion of the channel selected for renovation retains the original creek channel topography, but is no longer connected to the creek or any surface water flow. So, how far below the old channel is the water table, is there any underground flow through it, and how would that affect proposed planting for the site?

These were the main questions that students needed to tackle for their Hydrology 151 final project. The result is a remarkably comprehensive seventy page site assessment written by the class incorporating historical and topographical analysis, hydrologic analysis, plant & soil analysis, and a water balance model. Final products include a map of where ponding is most likely to occur on site (great for knowing what to plant, where) and a delineation of the watershed boundaries for the project area.

Putah Creek Hydrology Students

Everyone loves to talk about collaboration and working across boundaries to create successful partnerships, but here is a case of practicing what we preach! We are thrilled to add Pasternack and his students to the growing list of project collaborators, including the City of Davis, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, UC Davis Administrative and Resource Management Division, Yolo County Resource Conservation District, TreeDavis, Putah Creek Council, Fulcrum Capital, Cunningham Engineering, and private landowners. These partners bring tremendous knowledge, experience, and resources to the Downtown Davis Parkway Greening Project.

Interested in knowing more than you could possibly “absorb” about the hydrology of a historical reach of Putah Creek? Check out the students’ report!

Putah Creek Parkway Hydrology Report


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