Water Talks Event June 8th in McArthur
Spring Rivers Restoration and Science: Fall River and Hat Creek
Known for their crystal clear water and challenging angling, the Fall River and Hat Creek exemplify what spring creek fisheries are all about. With impressive numbers of wild trout they attract anglers from all over California who come to fish and enjoy the exceptional scenery.
Unfortunately, habitat conditions these iconic fisheries have deteriorated. Both rivers are suffering from habitat degradation caused by over-sedimentation and the collapse of native aquatic plants. California Trout and the Fall River Conservancy have been working to restore habitat conditions in and around these streams and learn more about Fall River wild trout populations.
The public is invited to hear about these projects at an educational Water Talks presentation, “Spring Rivers Restoration and Science.” The Water Talk will take place on Thursday, June 8th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Fall River Lions Club Hall, located at 44256 CA-299, McArthur, CA 96056. The program is free and open to everyone. There will be time for questions after the presentations.
“Spring Rivers Restoration and Science” will feature the following presentations:
- “Three years of Fall River PIT Tagging – What have we learned about trout in this spring river?” and “Assessing geomorphic changes in Hat Creek large wood restoration” presented by Carson Jeffres, Field and Lab Director, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
- “Introduction to the Hat Creek Restoration Project” by Andrew Braugh, Shasta-Klamath Region Director, California Trout
- “Hat Creek Riparian Restoration : Integrating a Holistic Ecocultural Implementation Approach” presented by Marko Bey, Executive Director, Lomakatsi Restoration Project
- “Pilot Project to Restore Aquatic Vegetation in the Fall River” by Phoenix Lawhon Isler, Program Coordinator at Fall River Conservancy
Carson Jeffres is a research ecologist at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. His research focuses on how physical processes drive ecosystem function. Recent studies range from geologically derived nutrients in spring-fed rivers in the Southern Cascades to restored and multi-benefit floodplains in the Central Valley. Although he is interested in all parts of rivers and watersheds, his real passion lies with the native fishes of California. He is a key team member for both the Fall River PIT tagging project to track wild trout and research on how adding large woody debris (logs) to Hat Creek can improve habitat.
“I’m looking forward to discussing our work on monitoring Fall River wild trout, which we have been doing for the past three years, as well as presenting on the geomorphic changes resulting from adding some large wood to Hat Creek,” said Jeffres.
Andrew Braugh has been working for California Trout on Hat Creek restoration since 2009 and is thrilled to see this project, which integrates habitat improvements, recreational enhancements and hands-on participation of local youth from the Pit River Tribe, come to fruition.
“California anglers remember Hat Creek as one of the great spring-creek fisheries of the West. With Hat Creek, our restoration site rests on the sacred ancestral lands of the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe. This project is about a lot more than fishing – the deeper meaning of restoration lies in reconnecting a new generation of Illmawi youth with their ancestral lands,” he said.
Marko Bey will discuss how Lomakatsi Restoration Project partnered with California Trout to develop a riparian planting plan in consultation with Illmawi and Atsugewi Band Elders from the Pit River tribe. Over 5,000 plants were installed at variable spacing to develop dense streambank root networks and promote diverse riparian habitat. Planting strategies work to address the reestablishment of culturally significant plants utilized for subsistence purposes by Illmawi Band members. To carry out the restoration work, twenty-five Tribal members were employed through Lomakatsi’s Ecological Workforce Training and Employment Program. During the program, crew members gained hands-on experience in ecosystem management as they conduct riparian revegetation, oak habitat restoration, erosion control, noxious weed abatement, trail maintenance and monitoring.
Said Bey, “Lomakatsi is committed to tribal partnership initiatives like the Hat Creek project, with a focus on workforce training and development to make sure there are local tribal people in rural communities with the skills and access to employment opportunities on the land.”
The Fall River Conservancy has done projects ranging from monitoring of Fall River Wild Trout to working with local landowners on streambank restoration. Phoenix Lawhon Isler will share the latest project that FRC is currently developing.
“We’re planning a pilot project to understand how in-stream restoration can help improve habitat for aquatic plants that have been impacted by sedimentation in the upper river. Vegetation is a key part of the river ecosystem, providing habitat for bugs and fish alike,” she said.
Water Talks are an ongoing series of informational and educational presentations where local and regional experts sharing their knowledge with the public on a range of water-related topics. Water Talks is a project of California Trout. California Trout is a nonprofit organization dedicated to solving complex resource issues while balancing the needs of wild fish and people.