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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
RED BLUFF: Trout Creek Campground Restoration Project Progress Report
Region 8, December 18, 2007

By Keith Paul, Red Bluff FWO
Trout Creek is one of four isolated upper McCloud redband trout (McCloud redband) streams north of the McCloud River on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and private lands.  Since 1998, a conservation agreement has outlined conservation measures that provide for genetic integrity, secure populations and the long-term viability of the McCloud redband while respecting existing land and resources uses, private property rights and providing for angling and other recreational opportunities.  A revised agreement is expected to be issued by the California Department of Fish and Game  in early 2008. 

Trout Creek has been identified as one of the key streams for the survival of McCloud redband.  To date multiple projects have been implemented including the Trout Creek Meadow Restoration Project (2006), Trout Creek Backwater Pool Restoration Project (2007), and currently the Trout Creek Campground Restoration Project.

The Trout Creek Campground Project was initiated after increased unauthorized camper and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use resulted in the degradation of stream, riparian and meadow habitats throughout the campground.  Impacts to these resources include the creation of low water fords, eroding stream banks, camper-created dams, damage to streamside and meadow vegetation, and the spread of non-native species. 

In 2007, approximately $30,000 was received through the Western Native Trout Initiative (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), with matching funds of approximately $31,000 from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest ($10,000), California Trout ($5,000), and the River Exchange ($16,000) to implement the Trout Creek Campground Project. 

Scope of Work

The project has three distinct objectives: habitat restoration, habitat protection, and education and interpretation.  Habitat restoration objectives include the repair or removal of nonfunctional instream structures that have failed or are contributing to channel degradation; the restoration of stream banks and channel at low water fords; the installation of gradient control structures to reduce bank erosion and downcutting; the reconfiguration of existing instream woody debris to prevent lateral scour and protect streambanks; lower the elevation of an artificial floodplain at the north end of the campground and vegetate with riparian and terrestrial native plants; the removal of encroaching conifers form the Trout Creek floodplain; and the removal of non-native species.  Habitat protection objectives include the installation of split rail fence in portions of the upper and lower campground to minimize impacts to meadow, riparian and aquatic resources; the decommissioning of two low water fords; the decommissioning of a rock gabion water drafting ledge; and the obliteration of fire rings where they are damaging meadow habitat.  Finally, education and interpretation objectives include constructing a kiosk in the campground for posting education and interpretive materials and the development of educational signs and posters that highlight activities occurring in the Upper McCloud watershed that benefit and/or protect McCloud redband populations and educate campers on purpose of fencing and need to minimize impacts to aquatic and riparian resources. 

Project Status

The project is scheduled to be completed in July 2008.  The following activities have been completed: functional instream structures were repaired and nonfunctional structures were removed; the kiosk was constructed and is waiting for installation next spring; both low water fords were obliterated and replanted with riparian vegetation; gradient control structures were installed at both former ford locations and stream banks were recontoured and revegetated; camper-created dams were removed; fire rings located in sensitive meadow areas were removed; confirs encroaching on the floodplain were cut and the debris was chipped; the artificial floodplain was lowered and recontoured; and a McCloud redband brochure was developed and printed for release.

In the spring, the split rail fence and kiosk will be installed and educational signs and posters will be place accordingly. 

As a cooperator, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was the lead applicant for the Western Native Trout Initiative Funds and participation in project planning and field trips.  The Forest Service was responsible for project planning and implementation.  California Trout contributed to the construction of the kiosk and development of the McCloud redband brochure.  The River Exchange planned and coordinated community and school working field trips to Trout Creek and provided resources for kiosk construction. 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov