Project Location: Cedar Creek, Tributary to the Smith River, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Cedar Creek is a tributary to the Smith River, one of California's only un-dammed rivers, and is an important salmonid stream in a nearly pristine watershed. The Cedar Creek road crossing is located approximately 600 feet upstream from the creek's confluence with the Smith River within the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Link to the location of the remediated barrier in the CDFW Map Viewer (BIOS): https://map.dfg.ca.gov/bios/?al=ds69&col=pad_id&val=722112
Passage Assessment Database ID: 722112
Project Description: A culvert, constructed in 1949, completely blocked all migrating salmon and steelhead from accessing the about 5,600 feet of upstream habitat. Ross Taylor and Associates performed a fish passage assessment of the Cedar Creek culvert in 2004 and designated it as a complete barrier to all salmonids at all flows due to insufficient water depth, excessive water velocities, and the outlet drop.
Pre-project conditions/barriers/challenges/background: Habitat surveys conducted from the 1970s and 80s to the present have recognized Cedar Creek’s potential to support anadromous fish, but all earlier attempts to remedy the passage situation with culvert baffle installation and jump pool enhancement failed.
Project actions/deliverables: The culvert was eliminated, and replaced with a 120-foot-long channel that rises gradually, allowing fish to swim upstream. The channel is 17 feet wide, expanded from the 7-foot-wide culvert that used to flush water through at high velocities.
Fish benefits/ecological value: Spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, coastal cutthroat trout and steelhead.
Amount of habitat made available as a result of project implementation: 1 mile
Habitat quality and type characterization: Cedar Creek is thought to be one of the most pristine waterways in this basin, known for its clear, cold water, steady flow and redwoods along the shores. Even though fish were able to spawn below the culvert, it wasn't ideal spawning habitat because natural materials got trapped upstream above the barrier.
Project partners: Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association, California State Parks, Smith River Alliance, Winzler & Kelly
Project cost: $389,000
Project start date: 2007
Project end date: 2007
Monitoring and evaluation: Post-project implementation and effectiveness monitoring was conducted by Michael Love and Associates. Subsequent biological monitoring has documented use of the upstream habitat by both salmon and steelhead.
Did the project make a difference, and if so, how?
The picture to the right shows the first salmon returning to Cedar Creek following replacement of the Culvert (photo credit: Thomas Dunklin).
To view a YouTube video of the project, click here.