Cultural Resources Inventory for the Laguna Creek Dam Retrofit

The City of Santa Cruz Water Department needed to retrofit the Laguna Creek Dam to move natural sediment past the diversion in order to protect fish species and habitats. Dudek prepared a cultural resources inventory, evaluation, and finding of effect report for incorporation in the environmental impact report, which Dudek also prepared.

Project Facts
  • City of Santa Cruz
  • Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Dam is Santa Cruz’s first municipal water distribution system
  • Original facility constructed in 1890 from native stone and cast iron
  • Received 2023 Project of the Year award from American Public Works Association

The Challenge

In order to retrofit the historic resource with modern equipment so it could continue to function as an important component of the South Coast Water District system, the City needed to secure permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which required compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966. The project design also needed to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Properties.

The Solution

Dudek’s architectural historians evaluated the water management structures under all applicable criteria and found the Laguna Creek Dam to be a historic property under the NHPA and a historical resource under CEQA. We prepared a detailed analysis of the retrofit’s potential adverse effects on the dam and recommended that the project would have a less-than-significant impact on historical resources/no adverse effect on historic properties.

The Impact

Dudek’s cultural resources research prompted the City to seek an architectural historian to illuminate the history of the Laguna Creek Dam and its importance within the City’s water management system. The history of the project was featured online and in printed brochures distributed to local libraries and museums.

What We Did

Our multidisciplinary specialties allow us to provide efficiencies that maintain project momentum.

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