California’s saltiest coastal creek

Our Ocean

Malibu Creek is arguably California’s saltiest coastal creek, and according to one water manager, its unusual saltiness – the salt is not from seawater – is due to leaching of minerals from a vast shale rock layer known as the Monterey Shale Formation in the creek’s northern headwaters in the Simi Foothills.

At the recent Headwaters to Oceans (H2O) conference, Randal Orton, the resource conservation manager at the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, gave a 15-minute talk on the evidence for this theory and why it makes sense.

I thought it was pretty interesting because I have heard a lot about Malibu Creek’s water quality problems  –  the septic tanks, the algae and the high bacterial counts, for example – but I had never heard anyone mention the creek’s perpetual brackishness. I had even less of an idea (no clue) on how it might have got this way, which is…

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