Shasta-Scott Safe Harbor

Shasta-Scott Safe Harbor

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Project Goal:

Recover salmonid populations in the Shasta River, a key mid-Klamath River tributary and nursery, by restoring spawning and rearing habitat, in-stream flows, water quality, and other ecological processes and function. Achieve measurable objectives outlined in the Final Southern Oregon Northern California Coho (SONCC) Recovery Plan population targets of 4,700 spawners in the Shasta River.

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Project Stages


Estimated Completion Date:

Project Funders





Bella Vista

Fish Affected:


Project Description

The Shasta and Scott rivers historically acted as nurseries supporting the entire Klamath River salmon population and generating the large majority of returning adults. A key strategy in this recovery is working with public and private land owners to secure flows during peak spawning periods in exchange for regulatory assurances.

In 2021, after more than eight years of negotiation and conflict resolution, NOAA Fisheries executed the Shasta River Safe Harbor Agreement securing voluntary participation from ten different private agricultural operators spanning more than 30,000 contiguous acres in the Shasta River watershed. CalTrout played a major role in bringing private landowners to the table to work with state and federal agencies on voluntary actions that will help restore habitat conditions for Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act. The final agreement outlines more than 100 restoration actions to improve water quality and habitat conditions over 37 river miles in the next 20 years. The actions include removing fish passage barriers and improving irrigation systems so that cold water can remain in the stream. Other steps include adding off-channel ponds where juveniles can grow, and protecting riparian corridors by fencing out cattle and planting native species.

These actions will advance recovery of coho salmon. In addition, the agreement includes a monitoring plan. This will allow parties to evaluate progress and adapt over time to meet the purposes of the agreement and collaborate with partners of the Klamath Basin.

Using tools and policies like voluntary Safe Harbor Agreements and California Water Code Section 1707, we are finding legal solutions for landowners that want to support salmon recovery efforts but might be discouraged by regulatory roadblocks or fear of litigation. Specifically, in the Shasta Valley we are working to secure 10 Safe Harbor Agreements that will result in habitat restoration, in-stream flow dedications and water management and efficiency improvements in the Upper Shasta River. CalTrout's key role in the context of Klamath Dam removal is to restore the most important salmon spawning and rearing tributaries in the Mid-Klamath.

Project Partners:

Siskiyou Farm Buereau
Siskiyou County
Cooperting Safe Harbor landowners
The Nature Conservancy
Scott River Water Trust
CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
US Fish and Wildlife Services
Shasta Valley/Siskiyou RCD
Coho Recovery Group
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
Watercourse Engineering Inc.

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