Conclusion

The Prairie Creek Subbasin supports self sustaining populations of Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. It is believed that the Prairie Creek Subbasin provides the most coho salmon habitat and supports the largest coho population of all subbasins in Redwood Creek. Recent counts of spawning Chinook and coho show an increase from the low numbers observed in the early 1980s. However, a review of available information concludes that salmonid populations are well below historic levels of abundance.

Physical factors including debris jams and sediment inputs that impair anadromous salmonid habitats are linked to past land use activities. In contrast, undisturbed areas of the subbasin generally maintain desirable conditions for anadromous salmonids. Overall, the best stream habitat of the subbasin was found in areas that received the least amount of land disturbance.

RNSP maintains and protects natural resources and refugia habitat that are important to the recovery and expansion of anadromous salmonid populations of the Redwood Creek Basin. In addition, the Prairie Creek Subbasin provides an excellent opportunity for planning and implementing management to maintain and improve stream habitat conditions and to strengthen anadromous stocks of Redwood Creek.

The Prairie Creek Subbasin is an excellent location to study watershed science and to observe responses of fish populations in disturbed versus undisturbed watersheds. These streams offer the opportunity to compare and contrast natural stream recovery with habitat improvement projects aimed at increasing aquatic habitat quality and fish abundance and diversity.