The Livermore area has received 9.81 inches of rain this water year, much of it in December. It’s hard to believe our eyes, considering that a year ago we had seen less than 2.5 inches of precipitation at this time. It’s a thrill to see water flowing in the channel and the restored hydrodynamics beginning to form a more natural looking channel. High streamflows are needed to mobilize all the accumulated legacy sediment and begin to form a riffle-pool structure that is commonly seen in natural streams and that is so important to aquatic habitat.
Meanders are also beginning to form, indicating that sediment is being mobilized and forming into point bars, another critical feature of a naturally functioning stream. This is just what we had hoped the new channel would do, and we hope to see more good-sized storms, not only for channel development but also to nurture the trees that we planted last season. We carefully hand-watered them over the dry season to keep them alive, but this extended water supply is what will help them grow strong roots over the winter and emerge as established trees in spring.
Hopefully we will see more rain in 2015, despite such a dry January!