The Hat Creek Restoration Project consists of five major conservation, recreation, and cultural resource protection strategies:
- In-stream habitat restoration
- Riparian and streambank restoration
- Recreation improvements
- Pit River Tribal work force training and employment
- Hat Creek Youth Initiative (HCYI)
Key Partners Driving this Project
The Hat Creek Restoration Project is located entirely on PG&E private property, which is also the sacred ancestral lands of the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe. The project is currently being reviewed for final approval by PG&E and the California Public Utility Commission.
CalTrout worked directly with the Pit River Tribe, Illmawi Cultural Representatives, and a professional archaeologist to complete a full Cultural Resource Inventory and Assessment of the property. This project will protect these sacred cultural resources while engaging the Illmawi in the stewardship and restoration of their ancestral lands.
The California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is currently finalizing a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document, which will be out for public review shortly. DFW also provided critical input and guidance on the restoration design and current population estimates of wild trout in the Hat Creek Wild Trout Area.
Finally, our science partners–Spring River Ecological Sciences and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences–played a crucial role in helping design the ecological restoration components of this plan. The Center for Watershed Sciences continues to carry out independent, cutting edge research and scientific monitoring on numerous cold-water spring-fed rivers in northern California.
This project would not be possible without the hard work and cooperation of these groups. We thank you!
In-Stream Habitat Restoration
In-Stream Habitat Restoration Objective:
- Restore 1.5 miles of in-stream habitat and geomorphic processes using large tree structures anchored on the banks and placed strategically in the stream channel
Key benefits of large wood structures as in-stream habitat
- Increase shelter for fish, or substrate for aquatic macro-invertebrates
- Restore geomorphic processes such as scour and associated pools, which provide improved feeding and resting locations for fish
- Small scale deposits of sediment in response to placed wood will provide rooting locations for beneficial aquatic plants
- Increased habitat complexity (variability in flow velocity, depth, cover)
Riparian Restoration Objective:
- Re-vegetate the riparian corridor—over 6 acres or 1.5 miles of river—and stabilize stream banks with over 5,000 native plants, shrubs, trees, and grasses
Key benefits of riparian restoration
- Stabilize streambanks with dense root structures
- Increase native plant diversity
- Manage and control noxious weeds
- Protect fragile low terrace soils
- Re-establish overhead shade and structure as streamside trout habitat
- Improve the aesthetic qualities of the riparian zone
Recreation Improvement Objective:
- Maintain and improve 1.5 miles of recreational river trail, re-locate existing parking area to protect streambanks, restore historic Carbon Bridge with low profile pedestrian bridge, establish interpretive kiosk and sign plan
Key benefits of recreational improvements
- Improve the recreational and angling experience of the Hat Creek Wild Trout Area
- Protect Pit River Tribe (Illmawi Band) cultural resources and artifacts
- Reduce streambank degradation from concentrated recreational use
- Reduce erosion and sedimentation in river caused by degraded, non-system river trails
- Improve access for disadvantaged young people in the Burney area to outdoor recreation; promote physical outdoor activity
Pit River Tribe Work Force Training and Employment Opportunities
- Engage the Pit River Tribe in the stewardship and restoration of their ancestral lands on Hat Creek with 20 seasonal restoration jobs, weekly conservation training opportunities (stream-bank restoration), and meaningful education opportunities about Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of the Illmawi people.
Key benefits of the tribal workforce employment and training program
- Engage the Pit River tribe with 20 Hat Creek restoration jobs per year
- Complete an updated Hat Creek WTA Cultural Resource Inventory and Survey by a professional archeologist
- Provide regular weekly conservation training and TEK education opportunities for tribal members throughout the life of the project
- Engage the Pit River Tribe in the restoration and stewardship of their ancestral lands
- Establish and fund a Pit River Tribe greenhouse native plant nursery on tribal lands to help propagate native plants, trees, shrubs, and grasses for the long-term restoration of the WTA
Hat Creek Youth Initiative (HCYI)
- Develop the next generation of conservationists and natural resource professionals by engaging 30 underserved youth and Pit River Tribal Youth in restoring 3 miles of the iconic Hat Creek Wild Trout Area.
Key benefits of the Hat Creek Youth Initiative:
- Provide two summers of full-time conservation professional employment and job-readiness training for 30 underserved high school students on a real restoration job site
- Engage Pit River Tribal Youth in the restoration and stewardship of their ancestral lands
- Deliver over 100 hours of field mentorship for youth with natural resource professionals including a USFS Career and Resume Workshop, Job Skills Clinic and Introduction to Fly-Fishing Day that encourage students to pursue careers in Natural Resources
- Foster stewardship and community engagement through 6 youth 20-hour volunteer Senior Projects
Keep up to date on the Hat Creek Youth Initiative developments at the HCYI blog.