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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

YREKA FWO: Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Biologist Recognized for Floodplain Restoration Project.

Region 8, April 19, 2012
PFW biologist Jennifer Silveira presents a history of the Greenhorn Park restoration project.
PFW biologist Jennifer Silveira presents a history of the Greenhorn Park restoration project. - Photo Credit: n/a
Partners on the Greenhorn Creek Floodplain Restoration Project.
Partners on the Greenhorn Creek Floodplain Restoration Project. - Photo Credit: n/a
City of Yreka Mayor Rory McNeil and Councilman David Simmen cut the ribbon on the new trail bridge.
City of Yreka Mayor Rory McNeil and Councilman David Simmen cut the ribbon on the new trail bridge. - Photo Credit: n/a
A restored portion of Greenhorn Creek just after construction.
A restored portion of Greenhorn Creek just after construction. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Mike Edwards, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Pacific Southwest Region Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program biologist Jennifer Silveira was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the City of Yreka, Calif., for her contributions to the Greenhorn Creek Floodplain Restoration Project. The seven year effort of the many partners involved in the Greenhorn Creek project was celebrated during a ribbon cutting ceremony by Yreka Mayor Rory McNeil and Councilman David Simmen.

Greenhorn Park is over 500 acres in size and encompasses over two miles of Greenhorn Creek and Greenhorn Reservoir. The reservoir was the historic water supply for the City of Yreka and is now a popular outdoor recreation destination. Greenhorn Creek is one of a few perennial cold-water creeks in the Shasta River watershed. Greenhorn Creek was mined for gold from the 1850s through the 1970s, leaving a legacy of gravel tailings piles and dysfunctional floodplain geomorphology along two miles of creek within the park. As a result, sections of the creek now flow subsurface and lack vegetation, and some channels are disconnected from the main creek. Portions of the creek channel and riparian zone within the park remain functional and provide high quality riparian habitat. The objective of this project was to restore the hydrologic function of Greenhorn Creek and its floodplain to improve habitat and passage for anadromous fish and riparian habitat for migratory birds.

The Greenhorn Creek project successfully reconnected the creek to its floodplain, stabilized sections of the creek bank which improve water quality by reducing the amount of sediment entering the creek. Additionally the project improved riparian habitat by planting native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs which provide important migratory bird habitat. Furthermore, the project rebuilt degraded trails and upgraded the park’s pedestrian bridge to provide an enjoyable outdoor experience for the public.

The project was supported by the Pacific Southwest Region's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program along with the City of Yreka, the National Wetlands Conservation Act, and the Shasta Regional Community Foundation. Jennifer Silveira worked with landscape architect Tom Hesseldenz, City of Yreka staff, John Ranlett of Ducks Unlimited, and the volunteer group “Friends of Greenhorn” to design, fund, and obtain permits for the project. The Siskiyou Arboretum grew the native plants used in the project, and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s inmate crew did the planting. Hayes & Sons Construction, a local contractor, did the construction. The total cost of the project was about $400,000, which included restoration designs and permits for another three quarters of a mile of the creek. Additional funding will be required for the remaining work.

Contact Info: Mike Edwards, 541-887-8081, mike_edwards@fws.gov