NOAA Fisheries Restoration in the Klamath Basin
Coastal restoration projects
NOAA Fisheries plans, implements, and funds coastal restoration projects throughout the United States. Klamath Basin restoration projects include fish passage barrier modifications, sediment stabilization, and invasive species removal. These projects increase access to habitat and improve river habitat for species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Since NOAA Fisheries has been involved in the Klamath Basin over 65 acres of habitat have been restored and 30.6 miles of stream have been reopened for anadromous fish.
Below are descriptions of projects recently funded in the Klamath Basin by NOAA Fisheries:
Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring
The Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan (IFRMP) is currently in development with support from federal, state and local governments as well as non profit organizations and other local stakeholders. When completed the IFRMP will provide a unified framework for planning the restoration and recovery of native fish species from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean while improving flows, water quality, habitat, and ecosystem processes. The IFRMP will serve as a blueprint that describes the highest priority watershed restoration actions and will provide a strategy to recover the Klamath Basin after removal of the dam.
Learn more about the Klamath Basin Integrated Fisheries Restoration and Monitoring Plan.
Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs)
A number of locations in the Klamath Basin have benefited from the construction of Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs), a relatively new and innovative restoration technique that creates high quality coho salmon habitat. BDAs are designed to replicate the function of natural beaver dams and restore ecosystem processes. NOAA Fisheries has partnered with multiple agencies, non-governmental organizations, and tribes in Scott River, Shasta River, and tributaries of the mid and lower Klamath River to design, permit, and study BDAs.
The Scott River Watershed Council (SRWC) is currently a leader in the Klamath Basin when it comes to implementing these projects, with many BDAs functioning and planned throughout their watershed. NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center has collaborated with the SRWC to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of BDAs in the Scott River Basin’s French and Sugar Creeks.
Visit the Scott River Watershed Council (SRWC) for more information about BDAs and links to monitoring reports by the SRWC.
Lower Seiad Creek Floodplain Restoration Project
The 2016 Seiad Creek Floodplain Restoration Project, near Seiad, California, re-connected and restored 3,000 linear feet of degraded channel and floodplain habitat along Lower Seiad Creek. The project increased off-channel, side channel, and complex instream habitat for all freshwater life history stages of Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon. After artificial rock levees were removed, the realigned creek channel and associated floodplain received riparian planting, complex large wood, and bank stabilization structures. Lower Seiad Creek has more than five linear miles of SONCC coho salmon critical habitat, and continues to provide high quality spawning and rearing habitat for all salmonid species native to the Klamath River.
Montague Water Conservation District’s Conservation and Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Project
Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) manages Dwinnelll Dam for irrigation purposes in the upper Shasta River watershed. In 2016, MWCD proposed their Conservation and Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Project (CHERP), which was subsequently permitted by NOAA Fisheries in 2017. The project consists of a number of components including lining a main diversion canal to decrease water leakage, construct a fish screen at a diversion from Parks Creek, construct off-channel rearing habitat for juvenile coho salmon, and most importantly, implement a new water management strategy to ensure sufficient water is released from Dwinnell dam into the Upper Shasta River so that coho salmon are not harmed.
Hotelling Gulch Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration
The Hotelling Gulch Fish Passage Project, located near Forks of Salmon, California, is a collaborative effort to restore connectivity between lower Hotelling Gulch and the South Fork Salmon River. It will redirect Hotelling Gulch’s flow back into its natural channel, greatly reducing the risk of recurrent flooding of the Siskiyou County road crossing over Hotelling Gulch. Salmonids are expected to enter Hotelling Gulch in increasing numbers as soon as surface connectivity is restored, and the cold water pool associated with the mouth of Hotelling Gulch sustains large numbers of rearing juvnenile salmonids. Project implementation is to occur in 2019-2020.
Fish Gulch (Horse Creek) Off Channel Ponds Project
The 2018 Fish Gulch Off Channel Ponds Project, near Horse Creek, California, reconnected and restored over 900 linear feet of incised creek channel and floodplain habitat at the confluence of Fish Gulch and Horse Creek. Three different pond complexes were created and/or enhanced along the reactivated floodplain of Horse Creek. These ponds and the floodplains surrounding them then received riparian planting, complex large wood, and brush bundles. The ponds are intended to increase cold water habitat for juvenile fish in the summer and low velocity water for rearing juvenile fish in the winter. Lower Horse Creek and its tributaries have more than eight linear miles of SONCC coho salmon critical habitat and, with the additional habitat provided by this project, Horse Creek will continue to provide high quality spawning and rearing habitat for recovering populations of SONCC coho salmon and other fish and wildlife species. Project partners continue to gather riparian planting survival, water quality, and fish biometric data at the Fish Gulch Project site, along with regular pond and wood structure monitoring.
Whites Gulch Dam Removal Project
This project removed two diversion dams to open approximately one mile of high quality, spawning and rearing habitat for spring-run Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead in the Salmon River, a tributary to the Klamath River in Northern California. Partners included the NOAA Restoration Center, the Salmon River Restoration Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the FishAmerica Foundation.
Shasta River/Big Springs Coho Restoration Project
In 2009, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the NOAA Restoration Center awarded $1.7 million to the Nature Conservancy to improve more than 11 miles of important salmon spawning and rearing habitat along the Shasta River and tributaries, by supporting natural revegetation of 125 acres of the riparian zone and actively planting 32 riparian acres. Additional activities include creating structural improvements to allow for fish-friendly irrigation. These efforts have protected cold water springs, enhanced cold water flows, and restored aquatic habitat critical for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and threatened coho salmon in the Shasta River, which is crucial for salmonid restoration as the last major tributary before the mainstem Klamath River dams. Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Nature Conservancy.
Grenada Irrigation District Dam Removal Project
This project has removed the existing 12 foot tall diversion dam and replaced it with a roughened channel throughout the project reach. In addition to dam removal, this project has also moved a point of diversion downstream 5.9 miles, allowing 12 cubic feed per second (cfs) of cool water to remain in the Shasta River for summer rearing. The dam removal has provided year round access to 23 miles of cold habitat in the Shasta River watershed. Partners included the NOAA Restoration Center, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Lower Klamath Riparian Restoration and Tribal Plant Nursery Project
This in-stream and streamside river project has improved habitat on two Lower Klamath River tributaries to benefit threatened coho salmon as well as Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Project activities included planting and restoring 200 acres of riparian buffers on Lower Klamath tributaries (Terwer Creek and McGarvey Creek), installing 200 willow baffles to prevent erosion and restore riparian function, and expanding native plant propagation. This project also includes the creation of two off-channel ponds that have provided crucial overwintering habitat for Klamath River coho salmon. It has created jobs in an area with high unemployment, and benefitted the tribal community. Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Yurok Tribe.