Upper Pajaro/Soap Lake Restoration

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Soap Lake is a 9,000-acre floodplain located on California's Santa Clara and San Benito County borders. The lake is the floodplain of the Upper Pàjaro River and functions as a natural detention basin, reducing the peak of floods many miles downstream in the towns of Watsonville and Pàjaro.

ESA worked as part of a team to provide a preliminary design for river and wetland restoration for Soap Lake. We performed a detailed assessment of restoration opportunities and constraints and performed topographic surveys to enhance the hydrologic and hydraulic analyses of existing and proposed floodplain inundation.

In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, ESA and the project team developed three conceptual restoration design alternatives for Soap Lake, including an explanation of the expected biological and hydrologic conditions. The restoration design is complementary to many other local and regional planning efforts and to the goals of public and private entities.

Specialized Services

  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling