Humboldt Bay tributaries boast a rich assortment of salmonid habitat restoration projects from tidal wetland restoration to fish passage barrier removal sites. Join us as we visit three restoration sites with partners from the Northcoast Regional Land Trust, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and salmonid restoration professionals.
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- 1st Leg: Freshwater Farms Reserve
- 2nd Leg: Freshwater Creek
- 3rd Leg: Morrison Gulch
- 4th Leg: Redwood Curtain Brewery
Schedule for the Day:
9:00am – 9:30am: Meet at Wildberries Marketplace, 747 13th Street, Arcata CA
9:30am – Noon: Tour the Wood Creek restoration site located on Northcoast Regional Land Trust property at Freshwater Creek
Noon – 1:00pm: Eat lunch on site (bring your own sack lunch) or order from Wildberries Deli
1:30pm – 2:30pm: Visit Freshwater Fish Weir
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Visit Morrison Gulch
4:30pm – 5:30pm: End at Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata
6:00pm: Deliver group back to respective lodging or vehicle
Leg 1: Freshwater Farms Reserve
Commences at the Northcoast Regional Land Trust at Freshwater Farms Reserve watershed where participants will learn about the ecology of our endangered native population of Coho Salmon and Steelhead. Special guest presenters Michael Wallace (Environmental Scientist, CA Dept Fish and Wildlife) and Kerry McNamee Habitat Resource Specialist) will speak about the importance of fisheries on the property, the historic distribution of Coho Salmon in this lower watershed, the loss of salt marsh and slough habitat in Humboldt Bay, restoring habitat for threatened Coho, Steelhead and other Salmon, and lessons learned on this demonstration site for compatible uses of agriculture and restored tidal wetland. The tour takes us to the Wetland area in the stream-estuary ecotone of Wood Creek, tributary to Freshwater Creek Slough. Participants should bring rubber boots or waders if they want their feet to stay dry and bring raingear if needed. Though the terrain is flat participants will need to be able to walk across wet, muddy, uneven ground to reach the fish sampling area.
Participants will see and learn about juvenile salmonid rearing habitat, fish capture and detection techniques including:
- Observe CDFW crews attempt to capture, and if successful, identify, count, measure, and tag juvenile salmonids
- Learn how to identify juvenile salmonid species
- Observe other estuarine fish species
- Learn about different strategies juvenile salmonids use to survive in stream and estuary habitat
- Learn about Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag technology and view a PIT tag antenna array deployed to detect PIT tagged fish in the newly restored habitat
Leg 1: Class Instructor Kerry McNamee, Habitat Resource Specialist
Kerry McNamee is the Project Manager for the Northcoast Regional Land Trust. McNamee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Planning from Humboldt State University, with a focus on water quality and geospatial analysis. Currently Kerry is the project lead for the Wood Creek Phase II restoration project at Freshwater Farms Reserve. She has gathered important population and habitat data on Chinook and Coho Salmon and Rainbow Trout during her time as an Americorps’ Watershed Steward with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the mid Klamath River basin. Kerry is active in the community and is an adviser for Humboldt Baykeeper, an advocacy group whose focus is to protect water quality and wildlife habitat in Humboldt Bay.
Leg 1: Class Instructor Mike Wallace, Environmental Scientist, CA Dept Fish and Wildlife Mike Wallace received his Biological Sciences degree in Fisheries from Humboldt State University in 1982 and has been working as a fisheries biologist for the Californian Department of Fish and Wildlife since 1987. Wallace has been doing population surveys in North Coast estuaries since 1990, his current work includes:
• Studying juvenile salmonid life histories and their use of estuary habitat
• Provide input to design of estuary habitat restoration projects based on life history need
• Assess performance of estuary habitat restoration projects
Leg 2: Freshwater Fish Weir
The adult Weir is the main tool used to monitor salmonid populations in Freshwater Creek. Information gathered at the weir includes; Adult run size and timing, Marine Survival, and Smolt out-migration estimates. The weir is staffed by individuals working for California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation, and California Conservation Corps Watershed Stewards Project.
Leg 2: Instructor Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson is currently an employee of the Humboldt State University sponsored programs Foundation. Colin holds a B.S. and M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Humboldt State University and 16 years’ experience in anadromous fisheries monitoring in Northern California. Colin spends his free time with family, steelhead fishing, mushroom hunting, and gardening.
Leg 3: Morrison Gulch
Morrison Gulch is a small tributary of Jacoby Creek that flows into Humboldt Bay. Jacoby Creek supports populations of all four species of Pacific salmonids native to northern California: coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. Near the mouth of Morrison Gulch there was a county-maintained culvert on Quarry Road that was surveyed in 1998 as part of a county-wide inventory to assess fish migration at stream crossings. The culvert was assessed as a complete barrier to the upstream migration of all adult salmon and steelhead, due primarily to the excessive leap required to enter the culvert (Figure #1). Because the culvert was located near the mouth of Morrison Gulch, it effectively blocked access to the entire reach of spawning and rearing habitat above Quarry Road. The length of potential upstream habitat was estimated at 3,400 feet.
In January of 1999, numerous adult coho salmon were observed attempting to pass through the Quarry Road culvert (Figure #1). In addition to adult salmon, numerous juvenile coho, steelhead, and adult coastal cutthroat trout were observed leaping unsuccessfully at the culvert outlet. The peak of the run occurred in mid-January when nearly 600 failed leap attempts were documented by observers over a six-day period at the Morrison Gulch/Quarry Road culvert.
The Quarry Road culvert replacement on Morrison Gulch in 2001 (Figures 2 and 3) was significant for several reasons:
- This was the first culvert replaced in northern California solely to improve the passage of adult and juvenile salmonids. The treatment option utilized also provided a test case using newly developed passage criteria for adult and juvenile salmonids.
- This stream crossing and restoration project has a substantial pre-project and post-project monitoring program – two years pre-project and 15 years of post-project.
- Recolonization of the upstream habitat by adult salmon occurred during the first post-project winter. The long-term (15-year) average return of coho salmon is 62 adult fish and 33 redds — Ross Taylor
Leg 3: Class Instructor Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor received his BS in Fisheries at Humboldt State University in 1986 and his MS in Fisheries at HSU in 1997. He has worked as a consulting fisheries biologist since 1998. Ross has been a leader in fish passage assessments at road crossings throughout the state and as high-priority migration barriers at road crossings have been treated, he has conducted other activities associated with these projects including: design review, assistance with permit writing, pre-and-post project monitoring and fish relocation. Ross co-authored CDFW’s fish passage assessment methods section of the Restoration Manual in 2003 and has taught these methods at numerous workshops throughout the state.
Leg 3: Class Instructor Thomas Dunklin
Thomas B. Dunklin, a self-described “ﬁsheries geo-videologist.” Dunklin “combines his training in geology and ﬁsheries biology to produce documentary videos on topics surrounding salmon, salmon restoration, and salmon culture.”
Following E. O. Wilson’s concept of “Consilience” (the uniﬁcation of knowledge) he is working on using video as a “Consilience engine” in order to promote a deeper understanding of complex systems.
Dunklin is known for his underwater photography and videos. Dunklin has posted 88 videos on Vimeo, for more information, visit https://vimeo.com/todu/videos.
Leg 4: Redwood Curtain Brewery Visit
Participants will end the full field day at the Redwood Curtain Brewery Tasting room. RCB brews 99 different varieties of beer only to be found behind the Redwood Curtain, and daily they will have over 20 varieties of custom brewed beers on tap to enjoy!
At the end brewery tour we will drop participants off at their hotel.