In 2021, Creek Lands Conservation (CLC) was awarded funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board to plan and design improvements to an existing rainwater collection system at Cal Poly’s Escuela Ranch. Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) was contracted to prepare alternatives analysis and engineering designs for those improvements. The objective of the project is to offset summer pumping of on-ranch riparian wells to improve over-summering habitat for resident steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the adjoining Pennington Creek, while maintaining a reliable water supply for the ranch’s Bull Test Center.
In 2022, CLSRCD and CLC performed alternatives analysis on means of filling the tanks as well as demand analysis to determine how many tanks would be needed to fully offset dry-season pumping. About 65 percent of the engineering design for the selected alternative began in late 2022 and is ongoing. The project is scheduled to move into permit acquisition in May 2023, with 95 percent of the engineering designs to follow by January 2024. Ultimately, the outcome will be a project shovel-ready for implementation.