Low Flows in Redwood Creek, South Fork Eel River and Flow Enhancement Planning for Salmon Survival
Since 2013, Salmonid Restoration Federation has been conducting low flow monitoring and flow enhancement planning efforts in Redwood Creek, a critical tributary for juvenile salmonids in the South Fork Eel River watershed.
Under the California Water Action Plan, the South Fork Eel River is considered one of five priority watersheds in the state for flow enhancement projects. This coordinated planning effort stems from years of low flow monitoring and community outreach in this key tributary that suffers from legacy impacts of logging, rural sub-divisions, cannabis cultivation, and hundreds of unregulated water diversions.
In 2018, SRF was awarded two Wildlife Conservation Board grants in the Redwood Creek watershed to advance planning efforts, identify high-priority projects, and create flow enhancement designs that could measurably improve flow conditions in the watershed.
SRF has created an interactive graph so landowners and other stakeholders can see the low flow trajectory of previous years and also see the current flows. SRF started monitoring in May this year and with the late spring rains, flows have are currently at over 30,000 gallons per minute (gpm). Hopefully, instream flows will remain higher than normal but based on previous years of data collection, we anticipate that flows will drop precipitously and that salmon-bearing creeks may become disconnected again this summer. In 2019, SRF will monitor weekly to capture the descending limb of late spring to early summer and will then monitor on a bi-weekly basis until the rainy season.