The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project (Restoration Project) is being implemented near the town of Manton, California in Shasta and Tehama Counties (Project Location Map). Upon its completion, the Restoration Project will reestablish approximately 42 miles of prime salmon and steelhead habitat on Battle Creek, plus an additional 6 miles on its tributaries. The species include the Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon (state- and federally listed as threatened), the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (state- and federally listed as endangered), and the Central Valley steelhead (federally listed as threatened).

The Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and various resource agencies, including the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), the California Department of Fish and Game, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Bay Delta Authority, with valuable participation from the public, including the Greater Battle Creek Watershed Working Group and the Battle Creek Watershed Conservancy. This partnership provides the framework for restoring one of the most important anadromous fish spawning streams in the Sacramento Valley, while maintaining a renewable energy resource for electric customers in California.

U.S. Dept of Interior description
Passages for fish are being constructed around old dams. Other dams have been removed. Like lower Battle Creek (above right), 42 miles of historic salmon habitat will be restored.

Click the map for larger version.

 

 

Local volunteer, Marily Woodhouse, dilligently collects samples from the streams to measure the deleterious impact of logging on the habitat. It has been so bad that the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is preparing expert water quality reports for the Governor. Conservation groups with Pelican Network have called for a moratorium on the clear cutting.

Even in the nearly pristine headwaters of the beautiful tributary creeks to Battle Creek there is enormous sediment build up caused by erosion from the logging sites.

Sierra Pacific Industries, the largest land owner in California, is clear cutting more than 600 patches of forest. It is a hideous assault on natural resources. After cutting the forest, SPI creates a pine tree plantation which will be frequently clear cut. We don't know where the wood goes or what it becomes. SPI is a private company and doesn't have to report much to the public or government.

 

How they get the permits to clear cut so much is now being questioned by the new administration is Sacramento. In the past, SPI had a very cozy relationship with the governor and members of his boards and commissions that issue permits. SPI, it is known, has contributed heavily to politicians.

SPI has permits to clear cut 16,000 acres of the 20,000 acre watershed.

 

Battle Creek watershed of 42 miles of renewed spawning and rearing habitat for native
salmon and steelhead is an epic California Sierra valley.

(left) A sign at the Coleman Hatchery at lower Battle Creek tells the tale of salmon's
arduous journey to return to its natal stream to spawn.
The hatchery was created to mitigate the loss of salmon habitat due to the Sacramento
River dam construction.

The restoration project, California's best hope for returning the Chinook salmon to the Sacramento River, has been in planning for twenty years. Unfortunately the State of California, despite helping fund the restoration project, has allowed massive forest clear cutting directly threatening the habitat.

 

 

 

Federal and State agencies have joined with California
conservation non-profit organizations to create
renewed habitat for wildlife and for people to
explore and learn about nature.

 

 

 

On land that is not owned by SPI the landscape has been returning to its beautiful natural state after much of the watershed was clear cut in the 1930s. Now thre are grottos with waterfalls, headwaters fed by springs, old growth cedar and ponderosa and meadows created by the Indians and settlers.

 


Mt. Lassen in the horizon


Clear cuts span the ridges of Battle Creek.

A rare white ceanothsis in a patch sccheduled for clear cutting.
A hoped-for spawning tributary right in the path of clear cut erosion.

The sloppy, slam bang cuts are unmerciful. Everything is killed.
Then poisoned for some weird industrial reason which serves to kill all native plants.


Sierra daisies and leopard lilies are a welcome encounter for butterflies. Battle Creek (right) ordinarily runs clear and cold from its volcanic sources making it ideal for spawning steelhead and chinook. But now the clearcutting threatens to warm and silt up the streams of this ideal system making it inhospitable to native fish and negating the restoration project.

Excellent, and sustainably grown vineyards grace the rolling foothilss on Sierra Nevadas in Manton Valley.

 

Headwaters of spawning tributaries next to scheduled clear cuts are already impacted by seddiment - which nullifies the hope for salmon nests.

Leopard lilies decorate the cold headwaters. But their days are numbered as clear cuts loom all around.

 

 

A vist to Battle Creek watershed
Stop Battle Creek timber clear cut - Save salmon restoration
New photos of Battle Creek clear cutting
Battle Creek Salmon & Steelhead Restoration
Join our effort to protect the forests of Battle Creek and salmon restoration