Adobe Watershed

The Adobe Creek watershed covers an area of approximately 10 square miles in northwestern Santa Clara County, of which roughly 7.5 square miles are mountainous and 2.5 square miles are on the valley floor. Adobe Creek originates on the northeastern facing slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains and flows northerly over steep forested terrain until it meets the Middle, West and North Adobe Forks. Other major tributaries in the upper watershed are Moody and Purissima Creeks.

The drainage area above the confluence of the Adobe Forks is undeveloped open space. The remainder of the watershed primarily consists of residential development. Along the valley floor, Adobe Creek flows through Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Mountain View. Adobe Creek is joined by Barron Creek west of Highway 101 and continues to flow through estuarine area with tidal influence until it drains into the Palo Alto Flood Basin and then the Lower South San Francisco Bay.

Four species of native fishes have been collected from Adobe Creek: California roach, Sacramento sucker, threespine stickleback, and prickly sculpin.

Watershed Facts

  • Watershed area: 11 square miles
  • Number of tributary creeks: 7
  • Miles of natural creek bed: 18.8
  • Miles of Engineered Channel: 2.3
  • Local towns and cities: Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, Mountain View
  • Percent area by land use:
    • Residential 46.5%
    • Industrial/Commercial 11.8%
    • Forest 36.3%
    • Rangeland 2.7%
    • Other 2.7%
  • Percent Impervious Area: 44.7%
  • Miles of Underground Culvert or Stormdrain: 12.0
  • Beneficial Uses: None designated by San Francisco Bay Water Board (SFRWQCB) however, monitoring indicates Warm Freshwater Habitat (WARM), Water Contact Recreation (REC-1), and Noncontact Water Recreation (REC-2) exist.
  • Water Quality Impairments: None

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