Special Projects page | Reserve Description | SITE MAP

Big Creek Stream Studies

Big Creek drains the coastal slope of the highest part of the Santa Lucia Mountains. The drainage includes two major forks, Devils Creek on the south and Big Creek to the north. Each of these forks have major forks, the South or Canogas Fork of Devil's Creek, the Middle or Cuevas Fork of Devils Creek, the Middle Fork of Big Creek, and the North or Bee Camp Fork of Big Creek. The elevation gradients are steep, particularly aong the upper reaches (see figure). Other streams include the North fork of Devil's Creek, Brunette Creek, Cathedral Creek, and Shakemaker Creek. There are additional, smaller perennial steams which lack names. The drainage is characterized by numerous springs which keep the water flowing even in the driest years; in the reserve alone there are 23 springs which are accessible and have names.
  >>Big Creek (background) and Devil's Creek (foreground) merge to form the main stream 1 km from the ocean. During storm events the water in the north fork (Big Creek) is often darker in color than the water in the south fork (Devils' Creek). See Nature Notes  


WATER QUALITY DATA - Recent monitoring results.

FLOOD PEAK - Turbidity analysis.

GATE CABIN STAFF GAUGE - Flow Measurements, for recent monitoring results.

STREAM INSECT SURVEY (see this page for summary of our educationally-oriented stream insect survey with monitoring since 1994. Over 50 samples in all seasons of the year)



Named springs: Gatehouse, Whale Point , Redwood Camp, Devil's Creek Flat, Haida House, Squirrel, Upper Squirrel, Coyote Creek, Klanky, Gamboa, Highlands Camp, Shakemaker, Interpretive Trail Midden, Brunette, Boronda camp, Cathedral Creek, Harlan, Dolan Ridge, Wing Gulch, North Bathtub, Dolan Warm, Deer Head, Deer Head Canyon.

Most of the year, the two major forks differ in important characteristics. For a qualitative overview, see Big Creek Nature Notes: April 1991 | March 1992 | July 1992 | February 1993 | March 1993 | June 1993 | December 1993 | February 1994 | February 1995 | March 1995 | April 1995 | October 1995 | May 1996 | November 1996 | February 1997 | September 1997 | November 1997 | March 1998 | November 1998 | April 1999 | July 1999 | August 1999 | August 2000 | November 2000 | February 2001 | May 2001 | August 2001


Algae growing on rocks 8 months after 1999 fire.


Rocks and water near mouth of Big Creek.