Estrella River


Estrella River Watershed
Estrella River Watershed

The Estrella River watershed is located in the Northern part of the County east of the Salinas River. A portion of the watershed is located in Monterey County with a majority of the acreage located within SLO County. The Estrella and some of its tributaries carry perennial underground flows that form a tributary of the Salinas River. The Estrella River forms from the confluence of San Juan Creek and Cholame Creek near Shandon, in the foothills of the Coast Ranges. The confluence of the Salinas and Estrella Rivers occurs in Northern San Luis Obispo County, within the town of San Miguel. The highest elevation in the watershed is approximately 2,854 feet, and the lowest elevation is around 607 feet. Vineyards slightly predominate over oak woodlands and grassland communities. Tree species such as blue oak, and valley oak dominate the oak woodland, while western sycamore, Fremont’s cottonwood, and willows are found in the riparian woodlands along the Estrella River. Agriculture is the dominant use. The Estrella River Valley is generally used most intensively for agriculture because of better soils and water availability. Irrigated production has increased during the last 10 years, particularly in vineyards and alfalfa. Dry farming and grazing operations encompass the rest of the agricultural uses.

Watershed Overview
Hydrologic Unit Name: Estrella 17
Water Planning Area: Salinas/Estrella WPA 14
Acreage: 177,631 acres total / 138,784 acres within San Luis Obispo County
Flow to:  Salinas River – to Pacific Ocean (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary)
Groundwater Basin(s):  Paso Robles
Jurisdictions: County of San Luis Obispo, Shandon (ptn) Whitley Gardens, Los Padres National Forest
Watershed Plans: None


View list of subwatersheds

  1. Bud Canyon
  2. Estrella
  3. Freeman Canyon
  4. Indian Creek
  5. Lower Hog Canyon
  6. Lower Keyes Canyon
  7. Lower Ranchito Canyon
  8. Lower San Jacinto Canyon
  9. Lower Shimmin Canyon
  10. Mile 9 to Mille 11 Estrella River
  11. Pine Canyon
  12. Quail Water Creek
  13. Shed Canyon
  14. Sheep Camp Canyon
  15. Taylor Canyon
  16. Upper Hog Canyon
  17. Upper Keyes Canyon
  18. Upper Ranchito Canyon
  19. Upper Shimmin Canyon
  20. Upton Canyon
  21. West of Ranchito Canyon
  22. Willow Springs Canyon
  23. Wood Canyon

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