Northern Subbasin Overview

The Northern Subbasin is the northern most portion of the SF Eel River basin, including all drainages from its mouth to 23 miles upstream, with a total catchment area of 149 square miles and 216 miles of streams ( 141 miles are perennial and 75 are intermittent). Most of the land in this subbasin is owned by CA State Parks, and land use is primarily open space/parks, followed by timber production. Vegetation is primarily coniferous and hardwood forest.

The mainstem in this basin receives sediment transported from the Eastern and Western Subbasins as well as Northern subbasin tributaries, and responds dynamically in size and shape. The major tributaries in this subbasin are Bull Creek and Salmon Creek. Instream and surrounding habitat, and associated fish habitat suitability, varies between these two watersheds due to differences in land use: open space/parks in the Bull Creek drainage vs residential development and timber production in the Salmon Creek drainage. Primary issues in Northern Subbasin streams are: reduced flow from diversion (especially during late summer and early fall months) and fine sediment input from land use activities and unstable geology.

Coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead trout are present in most Northern subbasin streams, but distribution and abundance are limited compared to historical estimates. This is primarily due to land use issues such as increased diversion and residential development in Salmon Creek, and to sediment input from historic floods, unstable geology, and other subbasin tributaries moving through the system, resulting in reduced pool habitat and channel modification.
Attributes of the SF Eel River Eastern Subbasin
Area (square miles) 149
Privately Owned (square miles) 71
Publicly Owned (square miles) 78
Predominant Land Use Open space/parks
Predominant Vegetation Mixed conifer and hardwood forest
Mainstem Miles 22.9 (RM 0-22.9)
Tributary Miles 190
Total Stream Miles 213
Low Elevation (feet) 85
High Elevation (feet) 3,200
Canoe Creek, Northern Subbasin (courtesy of CDFW)
Cuneo Creek, Northern Subbasin (courtesy of CDFW)
Ohman Creek, Northern Subbasin (courtesy of CDFW)