Big Creek – San Carpoforo Area


Big Creek – San Carpoforo Creek Area Watershed
Big Creek – San Carpoforo Creek Area Watershed

The Big Creek – San Carpoforo Creek Area Watershed straddles San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County with 13,046 acres out of 264,552 total acres within SLO County. This snapshot represents data related to those sub-watersheds located within the CalWater HUC 10 watershed grouping in San Luis Obispo County. The watershed lies along the Pacific Ocean with the southernmost outfall at Ragged Point, north of San Simeon. The most notable waterway within the San Luis Obispo portion of the watershed is San Carpoforo Creek, which has its headwaters in the Los Padres National Forest at the Santa Lucia Range in southern Monterey and Northern San Luis Obispo County. Pacific Ocean outfall of San Carpoforo Creek is designated as State Marine Conservation Area and State Marine Reserve within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Mt. Mars Creek also independently drains into the Pacific Ocean just north of the San Carpoforo Creek drainage. Peak elevation for the watershed is approximately 2610 feet high with the low being roughly 16 feet above sea level in Monterey County. A portion of the San Carpoforo Creek drainage is located within the boundaries of the Hearst Ranch property and is currently under the provisions of a conservation easement. The dominant land use is Los Padres National Forest and rangeland agriculture, with a majority of rangeland concentrated in the area of Hearst ranch. A rugged shoreline and mountainous eastern ridge characterize the northern portion of the watershed. The creek was the route of the historic Portola Expedition and was identified as an area of high ecological significance by the Forest Service.

Watershed Overview
Hydrologic Unit Name: Estero Bay 10
Water Planning Area: Cambria WPA 2
Acreage: 264,552 acres total / 13,046 acres within San Luis Obispo County
Flow to: Pacific Ocean at  Monterey Bay National Marine Estuary
Groundwater Basin(s): San Carpoforo Valley
Jurisdictions: County of San Luis Obispo
Watershed Plans: None


View Subwatersheds

  1. Chris Flood Creek
  2. Lower San Carpoforo Creek
  3. Mount Mars
  4. Upper San Carpoforo Creek

Full Data Snapshot

Download the Watershed Snapshot for more detailed information such as:
Watershed Snapshot

  • Rainfall
  • Geology
  • Hydrology models
  • Vegetation
  • Special status wildlife and plants
  • Land use
  • Demographics
  • Major changes in the watershed
  • Watershed health
  • Groundwater