Watershed Overview

The South Fork (SF) Eel River Basin comprises an area of 689 square miles, and is the second largest subbasin of the Eel River, located in Northern California.  The Eel River joins the Pacific Ocean approximately 200 miles north of San Francisco, at latitude 40° 38' 32" N and longitude 124° 18' 43" W, and is the third largest river in California, with a drainage basin area of 3,684 square miles.  The four principle tributaries are the Van Duzen River, South Fork Eel River, North Fork Eel River, and Middle Fork Eel River.  The SF Eel River confluence with mainstem Eel River is located 40 miles upstream from where the Eel River meets the ocean.  The SF Eel River has 683 miles of perennial blue line streams according to the USGS 7.5” maps, and the 100-mile long mainstem is split by Humboldt and Mendocino counties.

Anadromous salmonids found in the SF Eel River Basin include:

California Coastal (CC) Chinook Salmon - status: threatened (federal listing);

Southern Oregon/Northern California (SONCC) coho salmon - status: threatened (federal and state listing); and

Northern California (NC) steelhead trout – status: threatened (federal listing).


Salmon Creek Falls, Northern Subbasin, SF Eel River.
(courtesy of CDFW)