Northern Subbasin Overview
The Northern Subbasin includes the watershed area beginning with the confluence of the Eel River and Outlet Creek and extends upstream to the confluence with Long Valley Creek. This subbasin has an area of 62 square miles (39,832 acres) and represents approximately 44% of the Outlet Creek Basin area. Stream elevation within the subbasin ranges between 1,000 feet at the confluence of the Eel River and 3,000 feet in headwaters of the eastern tributaries.
The Northern Subbasin is located in a predominantly remote portion of northern California. The only town/city is the small community of Longvale located in the southern part of the subbasin just off of Highway 101. The subbasin has a rural setting with an estimated human population of only 282 residents. The land is 90% privately owned and land use consists primarily of grazing, timber production, and large rural residential properties.
Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout spawn and rear in this subbasin. The average annual precipitation is 45 inches which mainly falls as rain. The presence of six dams located upstream in the Southern Subbasin reduces the amount of water flowing in Outlet Creek within the Northern Subbasin. The reduction of flow inhibits the upstream adult Chinook and coho salmon spawning migration. Furthermore, natural flow conditions are severely reduced by groundwater extraction and other dewatering activities causing some tributaries to run subsurface during the late summer and early fall. This has led to juvenile salmonid stranding and mortality.