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Projects Worked On

Project Name Description
Shasta River

Interdisciplinary teams of Center scientists are investigating the causes for the decline of salmon and steelhead in Shasta River, historically one of the most productive tributaries in the lower Klamath Basin. A large spring complex (Big Springs Creek) provides the majority of its water, particularly during the summer.

Researchers are developing innovative approaches to restoring and sustainably managing this unique resource for both native fish and for irrigating local ranches and farms.

Though Shasta River provides only 1 percent of the Klamath River’s streamflow, it historically produced 50 percent of the Chinook salmon  -- and it still produces enough fish to support a large proportion of California’s commercial and recreational salmon fishery. Improving freshwater habitat in the Shasta results in disproportionally large benefits for the lower Klamath Basin.

Big Springs Creek

In 2008, Center researchers seized a rare opportunity to quantify the results of conservation action on a large scale. The Nature Conservancy bought ranchland along Big Springs Creek, a Shasta River tributary that had been degraded by cattle grazing. The conservancy continued ranching but fenced out cattle along the 2.2 mile stream.

Since then, Center researchers and partner Watercourse Engineering, Inc. have been extensively monitoring the creek's recovery, collecting data and analyzing changes in geomorphology, hydrology, hydraulics, water temperature, water quality, aquatic vegetation, aquatic invertebrates, fish assemblage and habitat distribution.

The research:

  • Provides valuable insights to large-scale restoration for salmon.
  • Documents the importance of spring-fed streams as refuges for cold-water fish in a warming climate.
  • Demonstrates how salmon can recover while maintaining a working landscape.
Cosumnes Phase 3

The Center for Watershed Sciences is partnering with The Nature Conservancy in an experimental floodplain restoration on the Cosumnes River. The Center's role in this Department of Fish & Wildlife funded project, "Wildlife And Vegetation Response to Experimental Restoration of Flooded Riparian Forest Habitat for the Cosumnes River Preserve," is intended to conduct biophysical monitoring of an experimental restoration on approximately 800 acres of flooded riparian forest habitat in the Cosumnes River Preserve.

The riparian and floodplain restoration is expected to benefit native fish and wildlife, using natural process restoration techniques where possible and horticultural restoration carried out in an experimental context. This will be one of the first projects to monitor changes in Bay-Delta ecosystem processes resulting from floodplain reconnection.

The project area has been identified as one of the primary locations where riparian restoration can be conducted successfully in the lower Cosumnes River Corridor. 

The Cosumnes Research Group 3 (CRG3) began in the Fall of 2011 to monitor and measure the impact of the planned restoration at the Oneto and Denier Properties along the lower Cosumnes River. The group is currently working on collecting baseline data that will be used to compare with the restored landscape in the following areas: 

  • Groundwater
  • Surface Water
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Water Quality
  • Soil Carbon
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrochory
Little Shasta River