We are located in the remote and rugged beauty of the South Fork Trinity Watershed, a biodiversity hot spot that contains a variety of rare endemic species and houses one of the last remaining wild and scenic rivers in California. This exceptional region has been subject to decades of environmental degradation resultant from multiple phases of resource extraction: the gold rush, the timber rush, and most recently the green (marijuana) rush. There are currently six vulnerable species that dwell within the boundaries of this watershed: the Spring Chinook and Coho Salmon, both listed as at-risk, the endangered Pacific Fisher and Spotted Owl, and the Tailed Frog and Southern Torrent Salamander, listed as state species of special concern. In the face of habitat degradation, increasingly poor water quality, dwindling fisheries, changing climate, severe drought, and dry streams, we are working to expand our restoration efforts and develop creative solutions to improve the health of the South Fork Trinity Watershed.
For over a decade our watershed and fisheries program has implemented restoration throughout the South Fork Trinity Watershed. From upland projects that incorporate prescribed fire and noxious weed management to in-stream projects and fisheries habitat improvements, we reach across disciplines to develop cohesive restoration strategies that improve the condition of our local watersheds. Utilizing extensive local knowledge and data collection, best current science, and partnerships with preeminent experts, we are able to work collaboratively to identify priority areas for restoration, and to implement large-scale projects on private and public lands.
Check out some of our recent and ongoing restoration projects below:
Hayfork Community Wetland Enhancement
The Hayfork Community Wetlands (HCW) are an exciting project that restored 20 acres of wetlands in Hayfork to create a new outdoor community space. During the 1920-1940’s, these wetlands were once destroyed by large-scale dredges and mining operations that demolished vital habitat by removing plants and soil, and altered the landscape itself, eventually turning an ecosystem once teeming with wildlife into a barren stretch of land. In 2015 the Watershed Research and Training Center designed and implemented a restoration project to revitalize this area into a thriving wetlands ecosystem. This work will benefit the environment by increasing the area and connectivity of the ephemeral and emergent wet-meadow, shrub, and forested wetlands. These enhanced wetlands create critical habitat linkages, supporting the life of fish, migrating birds, mammals, and amphibians, while contributing to the overall health of Hayfork Creek by helping to clean and conserve our water.
Learn more about this project here
South Fork Trinity River Large Wood Enhancement
The South Fork Trinity River supports one of the last remaining populations of wild spring-run chinook salmon. This once abundant fishery is on the brink of extirpation and habitat restoration is urgently needed, especially in the face of climate change and mismanaged water use. The WRTC has partnered with the Yurok Tribe and Fiori Geosciences to design and implement a strategic large wood enhancement project that will scour pools, create habitat complexity, provide instream cover, promote floodplain connectivity, improve hyporheic exchange and help this special salmonid species survive for future generations to come.
Browns Creek Roads and Culvert Renovation
The Browns Creek Road Project was implemented to reduce sediment inputs from rural residential roads into Browns Creek, an important fishery habitat, and the third largest tributary to the Trinity River. A collaboration between the 5Counties Salmonid Conservation Program, GeoServ and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the project implemented sediment reduction measures including up-sizing culverts, redirecting road run-off to vegetative areas, and resurfacing native roads with road-base. Completed in 2016, renovation successfully upgraded numerous miles of roads and a dozen culverts, preventing sediment pollution and improving fish passage.
Basin Gulch and Dubakella OHV Route Upgrades
Due to increasing OHV traffic on routes in the Kingsbury, Basin Gulch and Dubakella OHV areas we conducted ground operations to improve signage, clear brush, and conduct route maintenance on the most impacted locations. Work consisted of 14.1 miles of rebuilding water drainage structures, adding road base, and seeding and mulching, that together helped to reduce sediment in streams and keep routes open for recreational use.