NOAA Fisheries Restoration in the Klamath Basin

The NOAA Fisheries plans, implements, and funds coastal restoration projects throughout the United States.  Within the Klamath Basin restoration projects include fish passage barrier modifications, sediment stabilization, and invasive species removal.  These projects increase accessibility, and improve river habitat for species protected under the endangered species act.  In total, since the NOAA Fisheries has been involved in the Klamath, over 65 acres of habitat have been restored and 30.6 miles of stream have been reopened for anadromous fish.

Projects Recently Funded in the Klamath Basin by NOAA Fisheries:

Hostler Creek Barrier Removal Project

This project removed a man-made fish barrier in Hostler Creek and restored a natural stream channel that allows full passage of juvenile and adult coho, Chinook salmon, and steelhead over a range of flows. This project has re-established anadromous fish access and habitat use to an additional 2 miles of healthy stream corridor upstream.  Funding was provided by the NOAA Restoration Center, American Rivers and the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

Willow Creek Anadromous Fish Enhancement Project

NOAA and FishAmerica Foundation partnered with the US Forest Service to provide large woody debris in key locations of Willow Creek to increase habitat complexity for Chinook salmon and steelhead and threatened coho salmon, where limited in-stream cover was a significant problem to spawning fish.

Conner Creek Fish Passage Project

The Conner Creek Project has provided full passage for all life stages of coho salmon and steelhead by removing two culverts.  This project provides full fish and flood/debris passage; eliminates the potential for sediment; decreases the potential for upstream headcutting; improves flow capacity; reintroduces large wood routing in the stream, and restores natural stream function.  The completion of the Conner Creek project opens 2.5 miles of habitat to adult and juvenile salmonids.  Partners in the project include:  Northern California Resource Conservation and Development Council: Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program, California Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Game Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, Trinity County Department of Transportation, National Association of Counties, United States Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee (RAC), US Forest Service/National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Bureau of Reclamation-Trinity River Restoration Program Watershed Restoration Program and LanMark Forestry. 

Camp Creek Off-Channel salmonid rearing project

This project will create approximately 3,000 square feet of high quality off-channel thermal refuge and winter rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids on Camp Creek, a Klamath River coho bearing tributary. The species to benefit will be primarily ESA listed coho salmon and steelhead trout, although high densities of outmigrating juvenile Chinook salmon have been documented using similar habitats as thermal and high flow refuge during late spring and early summer months.  This project is expected to be completed by October 2014.  Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center, FishAmerica Foundation, and the Mid Klamath Watershed Council.

Whites Gulch Dam Removal Project

This project removed 2 diversion dams to open approximately 1 mile of high quality, spawning and rearing habitat for spring Chinook, coho, 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.

The Shasta River Water Trust

The goal of this project is to improve water quality and flows in the Shasta River Watershed by working with landowners on a voluntary basis to lease or acquire their water rights during strategic times of the year to benefit threatened coho and Fall Chinook salmon. This project aims to balance the needs of Pacific Salmon with maintaining the viability of farms and ranches. The Shasta River was once the largest salmon producing tributary to the Klamath River, due to relatively cold temperatures and constant flows. Factors attributed to population decline are numerous; however poor water quality and low flows in the Klamath and Shasta River’s are considered major factors.  This project started in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2015.  Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center and the Nature Conservancy.

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, steelhead, and threatened coho salmon in the Shasta River, which is the last major tributary before the mainstem Klamath River dams and crucial for salmonid restoration.  Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy.

Grenada Irrigation District Dam Removal Project

This project has removed the existing 12 ft tall diversion dam and replaced it with a roughened channel throughout the project reach. In addition to the dam removal, this project has also moved a point of diversion downstream 5.9 miles, allowing 12 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 CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Wildlife Conservation Board and the US 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. It has created jobs in an area with high unemployment, and benefit the tribal community.  Partners include the NOAA Restoration Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Yurok Tribe.