Eel River Delta, California

Tidal marsh enhancement of habitat to benefit Pacific salmon, migratory waterfowl, Tidewater goby, Green sturgeon and scores of other species that once flourished in the Eel River Delta. Just as the Eel River Delta provides a rich habitat mosaic for abundant aquatic and terrestrial species, so too does it host flourishing agricultural communities, primarily dairy and beef cattle. All of the proposed projects underway in the Delta seek to reverse adverse drainage patterns that have resulted from more than a century of tidal marsh reclamation. The improved drainage efforts are increasing the productivity of rich pastures in the Eel Delta while also restoring important habitat for a variety of state and federally listed species.

Project Timeline: Led by the Humboldt Resource Conservation Project, Implementation of Phase One of the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project was completed in the fall of 2013. This includes the restoration of more than 300-acres of tidal marsh and 2.5 miles of historic tidal slough. Phase Two, restoration of 4.5 miles of tidal slough commences in Spring of 2014. Nearby, The Wildlands Conservancy, California Trout, the Coastal Conservancy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are developing enhancement plans for the 1,100-acre Eel River Estuary Preserve, a project that would include modified tidegates, restored tidal marsh, and stream restoration into the estuary. Along the north side of the Delta, a variety of partners, including Ducks Unlimited, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have partnered to develop enhancement plans for the Ocean Ranch Unit of the Eel River Wildlife Area.

Humboldt County Resource Conservation District, State Coastal Conservancy, Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Wildlands Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Coastal Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board, State Water Resources Control Board, more than 40 private landowners, City of Ferndale, and many more.

2014 Waters to Watch