California’s Eel River needs help. It’s suffering the effects of decades of habitat destruction (fish populations have yet to recover from the disastrous 1964 floods, which were driven in part by logging), and CalTrout’s North Coast Manager Darren Mierau has made the Eel one of his priorities.
Currently, the Eel River suffers from:
- Depressed chinook, coho and steelhead populations, which are about 3% of historic numbers
- Resource management that’s fragmented among three groups
- The lingering effects of logging and tributary blockage by railroad culverts
- Potential listings under the ESA for chinook salmon, coho salmon, and winter & summer steelhead
CalTrout is leading the Eel River Estuary Preserve Project, which promises to restore one of the Eel’s critical southern estuary — including critical wetlands habitat restoration.
These wetlands — drained upwards of a century ago for agricultural use — fall within the boundaries of The Wildlands Conservancy’s 1,100 acre Eel River Estuary Preserve, and CalTrout is the lead entity in the FRGP grant application.
In addition, we’re asking the North Coast Rail Authority for permission to remove two of their railroad crossings that are barriers to fish migration. These non-operating railroad crossings are strong barriers to salmon migration, yet the rail authority has never conceded the idea the railroad will never operate again.
More to come on the Eel River.