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Monitoring Project Detail - Hydrology Projects
McBain & Trush - Restoration Design

McBain & Trush is a private consulting firm that specializes in riverine ecosystem science and restoration, and has contributed to several projects in Humboldt Bay and the Eel River Delta. In preparation for specific projects, and in support of estuarine restoration in general, data are collected on tidal and freshwater hydrology (e.g. streamflow) and channel characteristics, topography, vegetation and fish species composition. Some computer modeling is also done on individual sites for stream flow and habitat characteristics. Estuarine restoration projects in which they have participated include Rocky Gulch, Lower Jacoby Creek, Fay Slough, and Wood Creek. A project has also been completed in the Eel River Delta and Humboldt Bay digitizing and ortho-rectifying aerial photos to create a historical wetlands atlas. Post-project fisheries monitoring is conducted monthly on Rocky Gulch in coordination with Mike Wallace at the Department of Fish and Game (mwallace@dfg.ca.gov). McBain & Trush is hoping to expand their involvement in fisheries monitoring around Humboldt Bay in the future. For more information on any of these projects, contact Darren Mierau at McBain & Trush in Arcata (darren@mcbaintrush.com).

Website:

  • Humboldt Bay and Eel Delta Historical Atlas
Reports:


Pre-project electrofishing by CDFG, Rocky Gulch.
Photo courtesy of McBain & Trush


Habitat structure installation,
Rocky Gulch.

Photo courtesy of McBain & Trush

 
Randy Klein, Hydrologist - Sediment Yield Estimation for Jacoby Creek

Randy Klein has independently operated a hydrologic monitoring station on Jacoby Creek since 2003. The monitoring station is set up at Brookwood Bridge in the lower watershed and continuously (every 10 minutes) records turbidity, stream temperature, and stream stage. Samples of storm water are collected both automatically and manually. Continuous discharge is computed from stream stage data and a discharge rating curve derived from paired measurements of stream stage and discharge. Suspended sediment yield is estimated using turbidity as a surrogate for suspended sediment concentration and integrating with discharge. Continuous rainfall data are also collected near the gaging station.

The Brookwood Bridge has been a site for previous monitoring of discharge, turbidity, suspended and bedload sediment transport, and channel morphology dating back to 1978. The data currently being recorded by Klein on Jacoby Creek can be calculated to find the total amount of fine (suspendable) sediment moving past Brookwood Bridge for a given time frame. This in turn can be used to estimate suspended sediment yield for the watershed on an annual basis. Salmon Forever (a non-profit research organization) is also involved in estimating suspended sediment yields for Elk River and Freshwater Creek, two of the other major tributaries to Humboldt Bay. This information is the first step in establishing a potential sediment budget for Humboldt Bay. Strategies for sediment budgets are outlined in the two documents below. For more information on Klein's studies or for summary graphs of his results, contact him at rdklein@sbcglobal.net.


Reports:


Redwood Sciences Lab Staff Stormflow off Upstream Edge of Bridge
Photo by Randy Klein


Turbidity Probe Boom on Downstream Edge of Bridge
Photo by Randy Klein
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Salmon Forever-Watershed Watch - Turbidity and Sediment Yields Monitoring Program

Since 1999, Salmon Forever has been monitoring sediment impairment in the Freshwater and Elk River watersheds in Humboldt Bay and the Cummings Creek watershed in the Lower Eel River Basin. Salmon Forever-Watershed Watch records turbidity, suspended sediment concentration, stream discharge, annual sediment yields and stream cross section changes and provides the information to the public and to State and Federal Agencies. Funding is awarded by the Water Quality Control Board, through the Redwood Community Action Agency to support these efforts. Funding is secured for the upcoming hydrologic years (HY) 2008 and 2009. There are currently two continuous turbidity monitoring stations on both Freshwater Creek and Elk River and one on Cummings Creek. In the near future, with financial support, they are determined to make available on-line real-time stream depth (stage) data on Elk River, for use in flood warnings and predictions by agencies such as NOAA, just as they currently provide on Freshwater Creek. Salmon Forever-Watershed Watch produces annual reports for each hydrologic year, an example of which can be viewed below. For more information, please review the report below, or contact Clark Fenton at Salmon Forever (clarkstr@humboldt1.com).

Report:


Stream Discharge and Turbidity Monitoring
Photo courtesy of Salmon Forever
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California State University System - Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research and Education (CICORE)

CICORE is a California State University initiative to utilize the academic resources of coastal universities to implement long-term monitoring of and to better understand California's coastline. To date, ten state universities are involved in water quality, benthic, and biological monitoring, including Humboldt State University since 2003.

Bathymetry: CICORE conducted detailed benthic mapping and bottom characterization of Humboldt Bay via multi- and single-beam sonar surveys in 2005. These data were combined with existing sonar, LIDAR and PHYLLS-derived bathymetry data in 2006. Coast Seafood Company and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District partnered with CICORE on this project. Datasets, spatial information and maps are available on the CICORE website, http://cicore.humboldt.edu. For further inquiries, please contact Dr. Frank Shaughnessy at Humboldt State University (fjs3@humboldt.edu).

Website:

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Humboldt Bay Water Control Structure Inventory, Assessment, and Mapping

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) completed an inventory of water control structures surrounding Humboldt Bay in 2007. The primary purpose of this study was to obtain GPS locations, photographs, as well as additional attribute information for as many of the structures as possible to incorporate into a GIS layer for use by planning and research professionals. Each structure was assessed for condition, purpose and function, ownership, fish passage potential, and the type and amount of habitat upstream of the structure. Nearly half of the structures have photo points associated with them. Information on these structures was collected by FWS staff, and also imported from the California Department of Transportation's culvert database, from a 2000 survey of water control structures completed by the Redwood Community Action Agency, and from the records of private consultants. The final products for this project are due out in the fall of 2007 and include a final report, a map available in hard copy form, and an interactive GIS layer that is scheduled to be displayed on the CalFish website (see below). For further information, please contact either Greg Goldsmith (greg_goldsmith@fws.gov) or Paula Golightly (paula_golightly@fws.gov), both at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata Office.



Tide Gate in Humboldt Bay
Photo courtesy of Greg Goldsmith, USFWS

Website:

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Pacific Lumber Company - Hydrologic Monitoring
The Pacific Lumber Company (Pacific Lumber) owns timber land in the Humboldt Bay watershed and conducts a variety of monitoring programs as part of their land management practices. Hydrologic monitoring is one such program which, since 2002, has monitored turbidity, temperature, stage, and suspended sediment at 20 hydrology stations in the Humboldt Bay watershed. These stations are located within either the Elk River watershed or the Freshwater Creek watershed. Every 15 minutes the station collects data on temperature, turbidity, stage, and flow. Water levels, known as stage, trigger an automatic water sampler to collect a sample that will be analyzed to estimate the volume of sediment moving downstream at the time the sample was collected. Analysis includes separating, drying and weighing the water sample and the sediment contained therein. Correlations can be made then, between flow, stage and the total volume of suspended sediment moving through the watershed. Additional grab samples are collected during rain events. The stations operate between October and May each year. Stream cross-sections are performed annually at each hydrology station to track changes to channel geometry. Pacific Lumber is experimenting with making reports more accessible, though currently reports are not available. For data requests and more information on the hydrologic monitoring program, please contact Kate Sullivan at Pacific Lumber (ksullivan@scopac.com).

Website:

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Green Diamond Resource Company - Hydrologic Monitoring

The Green Diamond Resource Company (GDRCo) owns timber land in the Humboldt Bay and Eel River watersheds. Their land management practices include a variety of monitoring activities, including hydrologic monitoring, as part of their Aquatic Habitat Conservation Plan (AHCP). GDRCo operates two Turbidity Threshold Sampling (TTS) stations in the Humboldt Bay watershed, one on Ryan Creek and one on McCloud Creek, a tributary to the South Fork Elk River. The TTS station continuously (every ten minutes) monitors stage, water temperature and turbidity. When the turbidity or stage measurements change beyond a set threshold, the station will automatically take a water sample. Water samples are later processed to determine total suspended sediment in the sample and can be further analyzed to estimate the amount of suspended sediment flowing downstream during a rain event. GDRCo uses the protocol designed by the U.S. Forest Service Redwood Sciences Lab in Arcata, CA. For more information on GDRCo's monitoring efforts and AHCP, visit their website listed below.

Websites:

Report:

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service -Atmospheric Monitoring

The National Weather Service (NWS) has monitored weather conditions in the Humboldt Bay watershed since the early 1900s. The first meteorological station was in downtown Eureka and moved to Woodley Island in 1994. In 2006, NWS overtook atmospheric monitoring on Samoa Peninsula previously conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Both stations now collect hourly data on wind speed, direction and gusts, air and dew temperature, atmospheric pressure, precipitation and precipitation rate, visibility, sky cover and weather. The Samoa Peninsula station additionally records total and photosynthetically available radiation. NWS streams its data to the Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research, and Education (CICORE) and makes it available on the Eureka homepage of the NWS website. For further information, please contact the Eureka Office of the National Weather Service by emailing through the following link:
Contact Eureka office.

Websites:

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service - Ocean Current Surveys

In 2002 through 2004, the National Ocean Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, conducted ocean current surveys at seven stations in and just outside of Humboldt Bay. The surveys were requested by the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Conservation, and Recreation District and were the first replication after the initial 1923 surveys which mariners reported were since inaccurate. Six stations inside of Humboldt Bay and one station just outside of the Bay were installed in areas that were deemed critical for navigation. Data were collected on current direction and strength from December of 2002 until January 2003 and again from July until October of 2004. The periodic dredging of sediment in the Bay's channels may warrant future implementation of a real time system that would give mariners up to date navigational information in this dynamic area. For more information on this project, please contact David Hull at the Humboldt Bay Harbor District (dhull@portofhumboldtbay.org).

Report:

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Conservation Partnerships

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) Conservation Partnerships is a restoration program designed to collaborate with governmental, non-governmental, and private entities to facilitate and maximize local endeavors. Part of FWS' role in estuarine restoration is to conduct at least one month of tidal inundation data and ideally one year's worth before a restoration project begins. In addition to tidal inundation mapping, data is collected on stage, or water elevation, channel geometry and channel profile. After the restoration project has been completed, FWS provides recommendations for effectiveness monitoring and a maintenance protocol. Currently, the Partnerships' focus is on McDaniels Slough near Arcata and at the mouth of Salmon Creek in southern Humboldt Bay. Annual reports will be available after the first of the year, 2008. For more information on this project contact Conor Shea at the U.S. FWS office in Arcata (conor.shea@fws.gov).

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Humboldt County Public Works Department - Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project

The Salt River is a low gradient drainage that flows into the Eel River less than a mile inland from the Pacific Ocean. Years of sediment deposition and channel constrictions have narrowed the stream's channel and forced flows into neighboring residential and agricultural properties. What is today referred to as the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project began over 20 years ago to address these problems and the failing hydrologic system of the Salt River. Over this time period, several studies have been completed to investigate the problems and potential solutions. Studies have included soil type and distribution, hydrology and sediment transport, erosion sources, fisheries and fish habitat surveys, watershed assessments. These investigations have been performed by various state and federal agencies and local contractors.

Currently, progress is moving forward on actual ecosystem restoration implementation which will include channel design, sediment excavation, riparian planting and increasing the tidal prism. Thus, additional studies have been undertaken that address the specific needs of the project design and permit requirements. The latest studies, made available and updated through the Humboldt Country website, are listed below. Future studies monitoring the effects of the restoration efforts will begin in the next few years. For further information on this project, please contact Hank Seemann, at the Humboldt County Public Works Department (hseemann@co.humboldt.ca.us) or Curtis Ihle, at the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District (cihcrcd@yahoo.com). Earlier documents may be requested from Mark Wheetley (mwheetley@dfg.ca.gov), or Scott Downie (sdownie@dfg.ca.gov), at the California Department of Fish and Game.

Website:

Reports:


Salt River at Dillon Bridge, 1965
Photo courtesy of CDFG


Salt River at Dillon Bridge, 2004
Photo courtesy of CDFG


Salt River Flooding, 2004
Photo courtesy of CDFG


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