The Current - Articles Smith River Alliance - Summer 2015 - Page 8


One such project is Cedar Creek Fish Passage Restoration which removed a culvert that blocked the migration of every life stage of salmon and trout, and replaced it with a bridge.

At Mill Creek, which is now designated by DFW as a life-cycle monitoring station, SRA has secured over $7m for habitat and watershed restoration projects over the last 10 years. A 2015-16 project will remove a salmon and trout blocking culvert on Hamilton Creek, a tributary to the West Branch of Mill Creek.

Science and Monitoring

SRA is partnered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) on a Reconnaissance of Salmonid Redd Abundance and Juvenile Salmonid Spatial Structure in the Smith River with Emphasis on Coho Salmon. Restoration is guided by good science, and this study provides important data on adult abundance and habitat utilization by juveniles -- critical information in identifying factors limiting the recovery of salmonids. An annual summer fish count on the Smith River invites the community to take part in citizen science and appreciate the river at Rock Creek Ranch, SRA’s off-the-grid facility on the South Fork Smith that hosts youth camps, community education programs, and retreats.

Research on the relationship between structures built by beavers and salmonids was launched by SRA in 2014, providing new insight on how rearing coho salmon utilize beaver habitat.

Partnering for Salmon Stronghold

In 1980, CalTrout provided important start-up funding for SRA and a partnership was born. Teamwork, persistence, and hard work has been a successful recipe for securing improved protection for the watershed --- and with a strip mine looming in the headwaters, this teamwork is now more important than ever.