Issues

Water temperatures may be limiting juvenile salmonid health and productivity during the late summer and early fall.

Fine sediment is contributed by the natural occurring dominate Franciscan Melange geology, eroding stream banks, poorly maintained roads, and culverts.

Habitat should be improved by increasing canopy density, instream structure, pool frequency and depth.

Findings Related to Issues

Water temperatures may be limiting juvenile salmonid health and productivity during the late summer and early fall.

The tributaries and the North Fork below its confluence with the Little North Fork were suitable, but the upper North Fork temperatures were higher;

Rockpile Creek was unsuitable and one tributary was fully suitable;

Buckeye Creek ranged from fully unsuitable to undetermined with 7 of 10 seasonal maximum temperatures above the lethal temperature for salmonids. Water temperature MWATs on the lower tributary were fully suitable;

In the Wheatfield Fork Subbasin, MWAT’s ranged from undetermined to fully unsuitable at 13 of 17 sites;

The headwaters of the South Fork were fully suitable and somewhat suitable in McKenzie Creek.

Fine sediment is contributed by the natural occurring dominate Franciscan Melange geology, eroding stream banks, poorly maintained roads, and culverts.

Past road building adjacent to stream channels or across debris slide slopes and/or steep terrain, have contributed sediment to streams throughout the Basin;

Many undersized culverts and substandard road drainage facilities failed during the 1986 and 1996 storms, representing a portion of contemporary sediment pulses throughout the Basin;

Habitat should be improved by increasing canopy density, instream structure, pool frequency and depth.

In the North Fork Subbasin: Canopy cover didn’t meet target values on Dry or Robinson creeks. Embeddedness target values were not met on Doty Creek or McGann Gulch. Pool depth and frequency and Pool shelter target values were not met on any of the streams surveyed.

In the Rockpile Subbasin: Canopy cover, pool frequency/depth and pool shelter/cover target values were not met on Rockpile Creek, the only tributary surveyed;

In the Buckeye Subbasin: Canopy cover, pool frequency/depth and pool shelter/cover target values were not met on Buckeye Creek, the only tributary surveyed;

In the Wheatfield Fork Subbasin: Canopy cover, pool frequency/depth and pool shelter/cover target values were not met on Wheatfield Fork, Fuller, North and South Forks of Fuller, Tombs, House, Pepperwood and Danfield creeks.

In the South Fork Subbasin: Canopy cover, pool frequency/depth and pool shelter/cover target values were not met on Marshall and McKenzie creeks. Camper, Carson, and Palmer Canyon creeks and the headwater area of the South Fork met target values;

Instream and near stream conditions are improving throughout the Basin.

Recommendations

Flow and Water Quality Activities

Continue and expand stream flow gage monitoring;

Continue and expand temperature and water quality (dissolved oxygen, suspended sediment) monitoring;

Conserve water during the late summer and early fall low flow periods.

Erosion and Sediment

Continue to assess, storm proof, and decommission roads to reduce sediment delivery to the streams. This is the second priority;

Identify and treat sediment sources such as bank erosion, road erosion, gullies, road-stream crossing failures, skid trails, and erosion features;

Assess and treat culverts where necessary;

Use exclusion fencing where there is evidence of stream bank erosion caused by grazing livestock.

Riparian and Instream Habitat

Initiate tree planting, thinning, and other vegetation management to hasten the development of a denser, more extensive and diverse riparian canopy;

Add Large Woody Debris and shelter structure to increase shelter/cover for juvenile salmonids;

Reduce livestock and feral pig access to the riparian zone;

Monitor instream and hillslope conditions;

Ensure that stream reaches with high quality habitat are protected from degradation.

Education, Research, and Monitoring

Support the monitoring of water quality, instream and estuary habitat conditions, and hillslopes;

Evaluate fish rescue activities and continue if deemed appropriate.