The Laguna Creek Watershed once included the extensive El Estero estuary and freshwater marsh habitats that extended from the Pacific Ocean northward to Anapamu and Milpas Streets. Filled for development in the early 1900s, the watershed is now mostly invisible. South of Santa Barbara High School, Laguna Creek flows mainly beneath streets through culverts. The watershed covers about 2,020 acres of almost entirely urban land on the southeast side of Santa Barbara. Nearly the entire watershed is in City jurisdiction.
Runoff from the City’s highly developed Eastside flows to the channel via underground storm drains. The lower portion of the creek is a fabricated open channel that includes earthen and concrete banks. Managed by a pump station, Laguna Creek empties into a lagoon and then the ocean at East Beach across from Chase Palm Park.