Bringing Hat Creek Back to Its Glory
Reports from the early 1900s suggest that Hat Creek was once California’s premier spring-creek fly fishing experience. By the 1960s, however, the fishery collapsed due to invasive, non-game fish and heavy angling pressure. In 1968, CalTrout founders and CA DFW led a major effort to restore wild trout populations. These efforts were remarkably successful, and in 1972, Hat Creek was designated as the state’s first Wild Trout Management Area — a major paradigm shift away from hatchery supported fisheries. But in the early 1990s, conditions began to deteriorate again due to heavily degraded streambanks, unrestricted cattle grazing, and a collapse of native aquatic vegetation. In 2012, CalTrout secured the largest restoration grant in the organization’s 40-year history. This funding will support a substantial, three-year project commencing in the summer of 2013.
Funding will be used to stabilize degraded streambanks, replant native vegetation, and restore in-stream habitat conditions.
- Restore wild trout populations to over 5,000 fish per mile with at least 30% of trout greater than 12 inches.
- Re-vegetate 6.3 acres of riparian area with assemblages of native plants, shrubs, and trees (4,500 plants).
- Restore 1.5 miles of in-stream habitat conditions with cover and shelter for wild trout.
- Led a large coalition of partners to design, fund, and permit the Hat Creek Restoration Project.
- Secured over $700,000 in grant funding for restoration.
- Developed and executed an MOU with PG&E to carry out the project.
- Partnered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to secure necessary CEQA permits.
- Applied for an additional $250,000 in grant funding to expand project scope.
What We Will Accomplish in 2013-14
2013 Execute grant contract with state, finalize conservation design, secure all state and federal permits, complete geomorphic assessment of Wild Trout Area, collect native seeds and begin propagating over
4,000 native plants for use in restoration.
- 2014 Finalize riverside trail system and angler access plan, begin trail construction and relocate parking lot, propagate native plants, finalize in-stream habitat design and placement of large woody debris, select
bridge design and build abutments, launch planting pilot program, install kiosk and signage.
- 2015 Plant native vegetation, restore streambanks and muskrat damage, construct trails and parking lot, install pedestrian bridge, install large woody debris in river, install final sign plan/picnic tables/benches.
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Related Projects:Fall River Restoration