The California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday selected 19 Humboldt County projects to receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection for salmonid habitat.
One of those projects is the second phase of the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Supply Creek Restoration Project, which was granted $730,000.
“Specifically this restoration will significantly increase coho salmon habitat,” Mike Orcutt, the tribe’s fisheries department director, said.
In total, Orcutt said, the tribe has received more than $2 million in funding for Supply Creek.
“In Phase I, we removed artificial levees and built habitats important for coho salmon, such as an off-channel pond and wetland complex,” Orcutt said. “… This award is for Phase II of the project and will fully restore the entire length of salmon bearing stream.”
The state fish and wildlife department granted a total of $15 million to 43 watershed projects, including the 19 in Humboldt County.
Department director Charlton Bonham said in a statement that restoring the ecological function of critical fish habitat was an ongoing priority within the state.
“Our successes happen when the entire restoration community works together, and we are so fortunate to have stakeholders in California committed to this goal,” Bonham said.
The Salmon Creek project, according to Orcutt, was selected based on significant potential benefits to species recovery and the tribe’s positive track record in restoring habitat throughout the basin.
Orcutt said although the project’s goal is to increase habitat for coho salmon, other species including Chinook, steelhead and Pacific lamprey will also benefit from the improvements.
“These tributaries get used by juvenile coho salmon migrating downstream from throughout the Trinity Basin that need cold water refuge in the summer and areas of slow water in the winter,” Orcutt said
He said the project will remove a levee built from cars and concrete after the 1964 flood, allowing for more natural stream processes and improve the conditions of the creek for fish.
The Whitethorn-based Sanctuary Forest — the only Humboldt County project categorized under water conservation — received around $85,000.
Sanctuary Forest Water Program Director Tasha McKee said the Mattole Storage and Forbearance project stores of up to 50,000 gallons of water using installed water tanks.
“Ever since the project’s been in place, (the Mattole) hasn’t dried up in the summer,” McKee said. “The project focused on having enough water in stream for the summertime.”
The watershed grant would allow for the project, which has been in place since 2007, to continue until 2020.
McKee said that after 2020 Sanctuary Forest would apply for more funding to help young juvenile fish and their habitats through better flow systems.
“We’re very grateful for the department’s award because it makes a big impact to the fisheries here,” she said.
Natalya Estrada can be reached at 707-441-0510.
The list of funded and contingency projects can be found at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Grants/FRGP/Funded