Ten Mile River

Watershed Overview

A Ten Mile River Watershed Assessment is in development. A public review draft is expected to be completed and available on this website in the fall of 2015.

The Ten Mile River Basin is located in central Mendocino County in northern California. Fort Bragg, 7 miles to the south, is the nearest city, and the river’s principle access point is along Highway 1. The basin is approximately 120 square miles with three main forks: North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork. Stream elevations range from sea-level at its confluence with the Pacific Ocean to approximately 3,090 feet in the headwaters of the South Fork Ten Mile River (Sherwood Peak).

The Coastal margin of the basin is characterized by low-lying topography of gentile relief typical of estuary and coastal shorelines. Redwood forests dominate the near coastal margin, transitioning into an interior Doug-fir forest and rugged landscape of steep, sharp-crested ridges and narrow stream valleys. The northeastern margin of the basin is sparsely forested with mixed hardwood and conifers interspersed with grasslands and meadows. The topography of this region is noticeably subdued compared with the basin’s interior. The weather of the area is influenced by the maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest and the Mediterranean climate of central and southern California. Coastal areas experience mild, foggy summers and wet winters; while the inland region is characterized by hot, dry summers and abundant rainfall and cooler temperatures in the winter.

Land use within this basin is dominated by timber production. Ranchlands occupy the coastal margins; whereas, smaller, scattered private parcels consisting of rural residences and ranchlands populate the northeastern interior.

Historically, the Ten Mile River Basin was known to have productive salmonid fishery resources. While overall fish numbers have diminish, the basin still maintains important runs of Coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead. Stream habitat has been degraded, but recent restoration work has focused on restoring stream habitat through large woody debris improvement and road decommissioning projects.