Since 2012, SRF has been locally active in water conservation education and flow monitoring project in Redwood Creek, a 26-square mile watershed that borders the Mattole River and flows into the South Fork Eel River.
SRF designed the Redwood Creek Water Conservation Project to better understand low-flow patterns within the watershed and ultimately help the surrounding community strengthen its water conservation practices. Part of this project includes taking weekly streamflow measurements throughout the summer, which is performed by SRF’s Monitoring Coordinator Bill Eastwood. We recently completed data collection and are now beginning data analysis.
Here is our 2016 monitoring season summary:
The 2016 monitoring season began as one of the wettest years since Bill Eastwood began measuring Redwood Creek flows in 2013. At one of our sites, Bill measured 817 gallons per minute (gpm) on June 24, compared to last year's 140 gpm. Unfortunately, water demands on the Redwood Creek system quickly started drying up the watershed by August. On August 5, the lower end of Miller Creek was already dry. By September 1, Bill recorded that all but two of our monitoring sites were flowing at less than 1 gallon per minute. That is less than the average kitchen sink (2.5 gpm). When the Redwood Creek and its tributaries cease flowing, the river becomes a network of disconnected pools. There was a slight increase in flows at some of our sites mid-September, possibly due to cooler temperatures. October 12 was the low point for stream flow before the rain started on October 13. Welcomed rainfall appeared quickly in the watershed and our 2016 low-flow season culminated on October 22.
SRF recently created the Redwood Creek Low-Flow Monitoring website, where we regularly post project updates and track stream flows during the low-flow season. We also share project information through the Redwood Creek Water Conservation Project Facebook page.