Lower Deer Creek Fisheries Restoration Project

(Deer Creek, Tehama County)

Species / Location

In the shadow of Mount Lassen, Deer Creek provides important spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, trout and steelhead. The Deer Creek watershed runs nearly 60 miles from the southern slopes of Lassen Volcanic National Park to the Sacramento River and is a major tributary to the Sacramento River. It is an especially important watershed because it is one of only three Northern California creeks supporting self-sustaining, spring-run Chinook salmon populations. Spring-run Chinook salmon are both state and federally listed as threatened.

Need for Program

The California Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan (PDF) identifies salmonid passage in Deer Creek as an important recovery action. Providing unimpeded fish passage and maintaining suitable water quality is of paramount importance.

The Lower Deer Creek Fisheries Restoration Project will construct a fish ladder to provide fish passage at Deer Creek Falls providing access to prime spawning and rearing habitat. Work completed includes: completion of all environmental compliance documents, completion of all needed permits, and construction of the fish ladder. Completion of environmental compliance documents and permits should occur by April 2016. By February 2017, fish ladder construction will be complete.

Monitoring & Research

Construction of the fish ladder on Deer Creek will require pre- and post-construction monitoring as required by environmental compliance documents and permits. Monitoring will assess changes in topography and channel features due to fish ladder construction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct and report on pre-and post- construction monitoring.

Future Efforts

Completion of this fish passage project in Deer Creek opens up miles of spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon (including spring-run salmon), trout, and steelhead. Access to additional and new habitats allows fish populations to be resilient to changes in climate. During this critical drought, the additional habitat also offers shelter from low water levels and high water temperature. Completion of fish passage over lower Deer Creek Falls will benefit fish for many years.

Partners & Contacts

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Northern California Regional Land Trust
  • Technical Advisory Committee

For additional information contact Kevin Shaffer, CDFW at Kevin.Shaffer@wildlife.ca.gov or Tricia Parker, USFWS at tricia_parker@fws.gov.