Prairie Creek Floodplain Restoration

Prairie Creek Floodplain Restoration

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Project Goal:

Restore floodplain habitat and create public access. The project will restore floodplain connectivity and off-channel habitat in lower Prairie Creek to provide critical habitat for salmon and steelhead. The project will also transform the remnants of Mill Site A into a key focal location for visitors to Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) to experience the restored lower Prairie Creek and the magnificence of old-growth redwoods through a Gateway Trail Hub at the heart of RNSP.

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Project Stages

Impact Study

Conceptual Design


Permitting Phase


Estimated Completion Date:


Project Funders

Save the Redwoods League

California State Coastal Conservancy


Wildlife Conservation Board

USFWS Coastal Program

Fish Affected:

Project Description

The Prairie Creek Floodplain Restoration Project is located 3.5 miles upstream from the ocean and marks a very important location in the lives of salmon and steelhead in the Redwood Creek watershed–this site is the last downstream opportunity to provide floodplain rearing habitat in the system. The project will provide floodplain connectivity, increase wetland and native vegetation, and enhance public access across Save the Redwoods League’s (the League) 101-acre project site.

Prairie Creek is one of the most pristine redwood watersheds remaining in California. It is critical habitat for threatened Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead, as well as coastal cutthroat trout. Between this location and the ocean, however, habitat conditions for salmonids are extremely poor. At the project site, the creek has steep banks and below the site, flood control levees confine the creek. Both settings leave little room for juvenile salmonids to access off-channel floodplain habitat which provides shelter from high flows and rich habitat to feed and grow prior to outmigration to the ocean.

CalTrout works closely with our partners at the League and California State Coastal Conservancy to implement this multi-phase project. In 2021, our project team implemented the first phase of construction. We built two acres of riparian floodplain habitat including an off-channel pond and wetlands; and removed two acres of asphalt from the mill site. With the first phase completed, the project team plans to more than quadruple the effort in 2022 and 2023 to restore an additional 11 acres of habitat.

Project Partners:

Save the Redwoods League

California State Coastal Conservancy

Yurok Tribe

Redwood National and State Parks




Northern Hydrology & Engineering
McBain & Associates
Lang, Railsback & Associates
Redwood Sciences Laboratory
Redwood Coast Action Agency

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