Free Conservation Lecture
“Farmers and Fish: Restoration of the Salt River Ecosystem” by M. Doreen Hansen, Humboldt County Resource Conservation District
Near the town of Ferndale, dairy farmers have joined with a host of public and private partners to restore fish habitat and function to the Salt River. Over 100 years ago, the Salt River provided spawning and rearing conditions for thousands of salmonids and was large enough to support a small steam ship industry
In 2013, the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project started work on the first phase of an historic effort to restore the watershed. Two miles of river channel near the Eel River Estuary were enhanced and 300 acres of dairy pasture converted back into a functioning tidal marsh system. Within six months of the restoration, federally endangered Coho juveniles and Tidewater Goby were found throughout the site, along with Chinook and other marine species. In 2014 another 1.5 miles of river channel and associated riparian flood plain is being restored toward the ultimate goal of restoring 5 miles of channel.between Ferndale and San Francisco. The river channel slowly filled with sediment that now blocks fish passage to 15 miles of tributary habitat and causes dairy pastures to flood.
As the project progresses, project partners will be monitoring the evolution of the site and report on their findings. This talk will specifically address the results of the first year’s fish monitoring effort in the restored tidal marsh.
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