Evaluation of Garcia River Restoration with Recommendations for Future Projects
Department of Fish and Game
|Executive Summary||Fish Propagation|
|Status Review of Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan||Monitoring|
|Riparian Planting||Data Management|
|Instream Restoration||Restoration Prioritization|
List of Tables and Figures
Table 1 Chronology of Garcia River Restoration Activity
Table 2 Garcia River Restoration Cooperators
Table 3 Specific Treatable Road Related Problems
Figure 1 Map of Riparian Restoration Projects
Figures 2 & 3 Riparian Restoration Henry Stornetta Ranch Before/After
Figures 4 & 5 Riparian Restoration Stornetta Brothers Ranch Before/After
Figures 6 & 7 Kendall/Boer Property Stream Widening and Bank Erosion
Figure 8 & 9 Instream Structures in North and South Forks Garcia
Figure 10 Map of Barriers and Potential Barriers to Fish Passage
Figures 11 & 12 Garcia River Temperature Chart
Figure 13 Map of Spawner Survey Reaches 1999-2002
Figure 14 Map of Riparian Conditions in Two Garcia River Tributaries
would like to thank the following groups and individuals for providing
assistance in this effort to further recovery of the
|California Department of Fish and Game SB 271 Grants Program: Doug Albin and Steve Cannata||
|Mendocino Resource Conservation District Conservation District||Friends of the Garcia|
|Natural Resource Conservation Service (Tom Schott)||U.S. Forest Service|
California Conservation Corps
|California Coastal Conservancy|
|Pacific Watershed Associates: Danny Hagans||Henry Stornetta|
for Fisheries Resources: KRIS Project
Trout Unlimited: Steve Trafton
AmeriCorps: Kris Escarda, Libby Earthman, and Jennifer Presnell
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Helene Maddux (Jug Handle Farm)
Bioengineering Associates: Evan Engber
Mendocino Redwood Company: Sandy Dean, Tom Schultz, Chris Surfleet and Russ Shively
This report is to summarize findings
regarding Garcia River
watershed restoration activities and to recommend further measures needed. It
follows after the Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan (Monschke and
Caldon, 1992), which is the corner stone of restoration planning. One entire
section of the report is consequently dedicated to responding to
recommendations and tracking the implementation. Sections on restoration
progress are by subject with riparian, instream and upslope restoration,
barrier removal and fish propagation all having separate discussions.
Education also has its own section
because there is so much activity in both the community and in schools.
Sharing of information on
Monitoring discussions acknowledge
extensive planning and implementation from prior studies (Euphrat et al.,
1998; Maahs and Barber, 2001; Friends of the Garcia) and focus mostly on the
most effective strategies for determining the success of restoration efforts.
All information for this report and other data will be included in a KRIS
Garcia computer information project, which should allow a feedback mechanism
for adaptive management.
Discussions of restoration prioritization draw heavily on Bradbury et al. (1992). The recent adoption of the Garcia TMDL Implementation Plan (NCRWQCB, 2001) presents a unique opportunity to comprehensively address controllable sediment sources in the Garcia Basin. Public funding for developing site-specific plans and erosion control measures will greatly advance fisheries recovery.
The purpose of this grant funded
report is to document watershed restoration efforts in the
Land use history of the
The local community (Point Arena) and
watershed landowners have demonstrated a commitment to restore the beneficial
uses of the
1970’s: Local anglers with support
from Louisiana Pacific formed Save Our Salmon, a rearing program, which
released steelhead and coho salmon.
Early 1980’s: Barrier removal and
instream habitat structure work carried out by Department of Fish and Game,
CEMR, and New Growth Forestry.
1986: Formation of Friends of the
Garcia (FROG), an environmental group involved in monitoring, data collection
1990: The Mendocino RCD received a
grant from the State of
1992: The Garcia Watershed Advisory
Group was formed in 1990 and met for one and one half years to produce the
Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan (GRWEP), which was adopted by the
Mendocino county Board of Supervisors.
1994: The creation of Mendocino
Watershed Service, Inc. (MWS) under President Clinton's Northwest Economic
Adjustment Initiative for the purpose of restoration, education and training
local residents for restoration jobs.
1995: Mendocino RCD funds
implementation of: instream habitat structures, upslope erosion control,
riparian planting, and bank stabilization.
1995: The Garcia River Estuary
Feasibility Study prepared for the Mendocino RCD by Moffett & Nichol
1995: “Riparian 2000” Planting
Project begun by Mendocino Watershed Service in partnership with local
landowners, California Conservation Corps (CCC), AmeriCorps, and the Northern
California Association of River Guides.
1996 (August): The Garcia Watershed
Advisory Group reconvened and met for one and one half years to develop a Water
Quality Attainment Strategy addressing the TMDL.
1997: Formation of a Garcia River
Agricultural Landowners Group for the purpose of addressing TMDL, developing
Ranch Plans, and monitoring.
1998 (October): Publication of
Watershed Assessment and Instream Monitoring Plan (Euphrat et al., 1998).
Mendocino RCD funded a Garcia River Instream Monitoring Project, and
later published (Maahs and Barber, 2001).
1998: Trout Unlimited representative
Steve Trafton meets with local WAG members and offers TU cooperation and
support for Garcia River restoration.
1998: National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation (NFWF) grant won for SF Garcia sub-basin-wide erosion control and
instream habitat assessment in cooperation with TU and Mendocino Redwood Co.
1999: TU's Steve Trafton, Pacific
Watershed Associate's Danny Hagans and Garcia watershed coordinator Craig
Bell, in cooperation with Mendocino Redwood Company, developed an
implementation plan addressing identified potential erosion sites and instream
conditions for the South Fork Garcia. This was funded by the California Dept.
of Fish and Game (SB 271).
2000 (June): CDFG funding to
reconvene the GWAG and to review restoration.
|Table 2. Garcia River Restoration Cooperators|
Mendocino County Resource
California Department of Fish and
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Regional Water Quality Control Board
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Mendocino Redwood Company
City of Point Arena
Friends of the Garcia
California Department of Forestry
Coastal Forestlands Ltd.
US Environmental Protection Agency
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Coast Action Group
Stornetta Bros. Farm
Walt Stornetta Dairy
Henry Stornetta Farm
Bedrock Gravel Co.
Institute for Fisheries Resources
Mendocino County Water Agency
Mendocino Watershed Service
New Growth Forestry
Pacific Watershed Associates
William Kier Associates
Northwest Emergency Assistance
Salmonid Restoration Federation
Mendocino County Schools
The Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan (Monschke and Caldon, 1992) is the blue print for restoration of the basin and it was written in close cooperation with landowners. This project’s primary purpose is to inventory restoration up to the present, particularly since 1992, and to make further recommendations for action. Consequently, the following section uses the recommendations in the Plan (Monschke and Caldon, 1992) to see if they were followed up or whether additional action is needed. Sections from the Plan are listed, shown in italics and referenced by page number.
Pp. 3-2: Based on these findings the Long-Term Implementation Goals, in order of priority, would be to:
Protect existing habitat areas from further degradation, and extend habitat in areas that would be conducive to coho spawning and rearing
Restore the riparian corridor, to the extent feasible, to approximate the historic extent and vegetation mix found prior to intensive logging and type conversion.
Reduce the limiting factors and lack of habitat diversity and high temperatures by restoration of upper tributaries first. The overall finding of this project is that the key to improving the fisheries resource in the Garcia Watershed lies in the upslope tributaries where excessive sedimentation has had a major effect on the stream channel and habitat.
Recently (2002) MRC biologists found coho in S. Fork Garcia. Juvenile coho were found in Signal Creek in 1998 (Charlotte Ambrose, personal communication). It is possible that the coho juveniles found in Signal Creek were reared higher in the Garcia River system. Timber harvest has been less extensive since 1986 in the upper Garcia watershed; consequently, there may be some less disturbed watershed areas and patches of healthy aquatic habitat that might support coho. Further studies are needed in tributary areas to see if there is consistent use by adult coho or perennially viable stream habitat.
There has been extensive riparian
restoration carried out in the
Upslope restoration efforts began
with erosion control measures related to roads in the
Pp.3-3: Specific Short-Term Implementation Goals include:
Continued evaluation and assessment of the remaining tributary subbasins in the watershed. Only those sub-basins that have been evaluated should be targeted for treatments.
Reduce sediment delivery from upslope erosion sources through implementation of conservation practices.
Stabilize eroding stream banks using large organic debris and revegetation to provide instream structure and habitat diversity.
While Monschke and Caldon (1992)
recommended extensive riparian planting, only the lower mainstem, upper Blue
Water Hole Creek and the South Fork Garcia have been extensively planted
recently. Plans for Pardaloe Creek in Monschke and Caldon (1992) have not been
implemented. Large woody material was successfully used in the lower
Pp. 3-10: Recommendation 1.1B: Realign lower estuary channel from Minor Hole to mouth, following bluffs on west (left) bank and increasing wetland area near east (right) bank.
Although findings of the Garcia River Estuary Feasibility Study (Moffett Nichol Engineers (1996) did not support attempts to modify this specific estuary channel segment, the estuary has benefited from riparian restoration efforts with support of the local landowner. The prospect for continued estuary recovery is good, as current efforts aimed at public acquisition and easements are under way.
Pp. 3-28: Recommendation 2.2: Plant and protect riparian vegetation, including redwood, on the lower 7 mile reach where necessary to provide the following: shade and lower water temperatures, cover, protection for fish, bank protection from erosion, and large organic debris in the future for habitat.
This reach of river recommended for planting by Monschke and Caldon (1992) has been almost fully implemented. (See Riparian Planting).
Pp. 3-45: Recommendation 3.2: Encourage land owners to follow road construction and maintenance guidelines developed by state and local agencies to limit sediment and adverse effects on fisheries.
Road construction in the Garcia River Basin has been at low ebb with the recent drop in timber harvest. While modern road construction is far advanced and less likely to yield erosion, the real problem is that there are typically four to six miles of road per square mile as a result of past land use activities. National Marine Fisheries Service (1996) suggested that a maximum of 2.5 miles per square mile represents properly functioning conditions, if there are no streamside roads. Decommissioning of roads in the South Fork Garcia is helping to significantly decrease the roaded area in that basin.
Pp. 3-53: Recommendation 3.10: Encourage retention of existing riparian vegetation, where it provides stream cover. To the extent possible, leave some mature conifers in these areas to allow for recruitment of large organic debris. Plant riparian vegetation where necessary to provide shade and help provide lower water temperatures and food for fish.
The relationship between riparian
conditions, including shade canopy, are well established in the scientific
literature (Barthalow, 1989; Poole and Berman, 2000). Microclimate over the
stream can be adversely affected by timber harvest even if all direct shade
canopy is retained, driving water temperatures over those suitable for
salmonids and particularly coho salmon. Riparian zones of the
Recommendation 3.12: Develop a land use evaluation system that shows the relationship between various land uses, their corresponding sediment yields, and the related effects on fisheries resource.
Maahs and Barber (2001) recommended
further studies to determine specific linkages between upland activities, such
as timber harvest, and tracing more directly their effect on the aquatic
environment. An excellent example of exploring these connections further is
available in the
3-57: Recommendation 4. 1: Establish a permanent Garcia Watershed Association (possibly an extension and/or expansion of the Watershed Advisory Group) with the objective of continuing the work begun by this plan.
Since the initial convening of the
original GWAG, stakeholders have met to address TMDL issues and to review and
update restoration planning as a result of this SB-271 Department of Fish and
Game Garcia River Watershed Assistance Grant. The
Pp. 3-61: Recommendation 4.5: Develop an effective monitoring program for analyzing the effects of all enhancement measures implemented.
See Monitoring Section.
Monschke and Caldon (1992) stressed the importance of riparian restoration and protection for water temperature benefits, prevention of bank erosion and large wood recruitment. Since 1992, the largest scale riparian restoration effort has taken place in the lower seven miles of the mainstem Garcia River , South Fork Garcia, Blue Water Hole Creek and Olsen Gulch. Smaller scale projects have taken place in Derby Creek (NF Garcia) and Signal Creek. Figure 1 is a location map of riparian restoration projects throughout the Garcia River Basin.
Lower Seven Miles Mainstem Garcia
Restoration of the riparian zone in the lower seven miles of the mainstem Garcia through planting efforts has been very successful (Figures 2 & 3). Starting in 1995, Mendocino Watershed Service, in cooperation with AmeriCorps, the Northern California Association of River Guides, and the California Conservation Corps began large scale planting efforts on the lower seven miles of the mainstem Garcia. In 1998, Trout Unlimited took over organizing this planting effort with a program called Riparian 2000.
Approximately 20,000 trees have been
planted. The primary thrust of initial efforts was to stabilize the banks and
focus channel energy.
From the Windy Hollow road crossing to the lower estuary willows and red alders are native and continue to be the most adaptable. Despite a number of small-scale attempts, planted redwoods have failed to take in this lower mainstem reach and should be considered ill suited for future efforts.
Figure 1. Map
of Riparian Restoration Projects
Figures 2 and 3
Landowners, Stornetta Brothers, Walt Stornetta Dairy and Henry Stornetta have been very active in fencing, watering plantings, developing off-site livestock watering sites, providing match for bank stabilization projects and labor to plant. Project costs have been very low because of significant support from AmeriCorps, California Conservation Corp, local volunteers and students from throughout Mendocino County (Figures 4 and 5).
The Kendall Ranch, now owned by the Boer family, has been a problematic case study. The former owner and long time rancher, Vern Kendall, wanted to stabilize his banks and prevent loss of his fields. Support from the Mendocino RCD, NRCS and private contractors put substantial effort into design and permitting, but permit delays by the Army Corp of Engineers led to further erosion. Mr. Kendall, out of frustration, then used heavy equipment in an attempt to limit further loss of land. The result is that this reach of the lower Garcia River still requires a large-scale bioengineered solution to prevent additional erosion and restore riparian function (Figures 6 and 7). Cooperative planning to implement such a project has already begun with the new landowners.
Garcia Tributary Riparian Projects
Tributaries of the
Friends of the Garcia River (FROG) has a successful riparian planting program in Blue Water Hole Creek that has continued for several years. Peter Dobbins (personal communication) of FROG indicates that he has water temperature data showing a long-term improvement in water temperatures adjacent to planting sites. Riparian, erosion control and barrier modification projects have been carried out in Blue Water Hole Creek by New Growth Forestry.
The extensive upland erosion control project in the South Fork Garcia River also has a riparian restoration component. AmeriCorps volunteers, under the supervision of TU, have planted thousands of redwoods and big leaf maples in road decommissioning and upgrade sites, some of which overlap with riparian zones. The Mendocino Watershed Service helped restore the riparian zone of lower Pardaloe Creek using bioengineering techniques. Jack Monschke, Craig Bell and Roger Dingman planted 300 redwoods in a riparian area of Signal Creek damaged by fire in 1994. Success of these projects is unknown because access to sites for evaluation is limited.
Jack Monschke has also taken
initiative in re-planting riparian zones following bank stabilization and
erosion control projects in Olsen Gulch and Derby Creek, a tributary of the
Figure 4 and 5
Figure 6 and 7
Monschke and Caldon (1992) recommended installation of instream habitat improvement structures and channel excavation in some locations. Instream structures have been added to Inman, Signal and Blue Water Hole Creeks and the North and South Fork Garcia River (see map Figure 1).
Large wood structures were installed
in Inman and Signal Creeks as part of restoration efforts under the Mendocino
Watershed Service (Figures 8 and 9) in 1995. Cover structures installed in
Signal Creek got extensive and immediate use by steelhead juveniles in an
otherwise open lower reach. Structure installation on Inman Creek was less
successful; the rootwad depicted in Figure 8 was blown out by storms in
January 1997. A small number of instream habitat structures were installed by
MWS in the lower
New Growth Forestry and Jack Monschke have installed large wood into streams adjacent to upslope and bank stabilization projects. New Growth Forestry placed large wood in Blue Water Hole Creek. Monschke’s habitat improvements were added to Olsen Gulch and Derby Creek (North Fork Garcia).
The South Fork Garcia TU/MRC project
funded by SB 271 through CDFG also placed large wood in the channel in 2001
and 2002. The MWS did a large-scale structure installation project in 1995.
The wood was intended to: create local scour, accelerate pool formation and
meter sediment routing.
Figure 8 and 9. Instream Structures
The upper Garcia River and Pardaloe Creek were opened to spawning by a 1950’s barrier modification on the mainstem above Blue Water Hole Creek (Monschke and Caldon, 1992). As part of this project, 1:24,000 USGS paper topographic maps created by CDFG were translated into ArcView maps. The map of all known barriers and potential barriers throughout the Garcia River is shown as Figure 10. Monschke and Caldon (1992) recommended that logjam barriers be very carefully modified, so as to leave as much large wood in the channel as possible. Many log jams presumed to be barriers actually pass fish during high flows.
Great care and planning should be done in barrier modification. As has been stated in the 1992 plan it is important to retain large woody debris elements. A number of sometimes-passable logjam barriers can cumulatively act to severely restrict passage. Hand crew efforts to maintain fish and sediment passage without large-scale modification can effectively be carried out. Input from a hydrologist and DFG personnel is advised. Stream Alteration 1603 Permits are required for such projects.
Extensive upland restoration projects to address sediment have been carried out in the North Fork (Monschke and Caldon, 1992) and the South Fork Garcia. The latter project is fully documented with photos of repaired sites in Appendix A. A list of actions to prevent road-related erosion, based on lessons learned by Pacific Watershed Associates and others, is shown in Table 3. Illustrations of techniques are in Appendix A. By comprehensively carrying out prescriptions, whole sub-basins can be “Storm Proofed”.
Potential erosion from roads in the North Fork Garcia was inventoried and treated as part of mitigation for timber harvests in the early 1990’s. Hagans and Higgins (1996) showed that the riparian zone of the lower North Fork Garcia River was in recovery from past flood damage despite two major storm events in January and March 1995. They concluded that erosion prevention measures must have been working to some degree. Catastrophic sediment yield was averted even after substantial, recent timber harvest activity in the basin had occurred.
Remove side cast material or perched
and sloughing fill.
Construct or re-engineer roads
without inboard ditches.
Roads need rolling dips to drain
water off fill.
Roads need rock for winter use.
Winter maintenance is very important.
Reduce road densities to 2.5 miles or
less to better facilitate properly functioning conditions.
Decommission areas near streams, and
roads in unstable or wetland areas.
Size culverts to withstand one
hundred year storms.
Set culverts to actual stream grade
Replace decaying culverts.
Remove landings near streams and
Install bridges instead of culverts
in locations of high flows and where fish passage could be compromised.
Properly pull stream crossings by
removing fill in such a way as to provide for adequate channel width capacity
down to the natural stream gradient, and at a slope that will not slough
material into the stream.
Mulch, seed, and plant trees, including conifers, in all disturbed areas to accelerate vegetation cover.
Figure 10 Barrier Removal and Modification
Figures 11 and 12
The California Department of Fish and Game funded the Trout Unlimited /
Mendocino Redwood Company S.F. Garcia erosion control project to address
sediment yield from controllable sources. Pacific Watershed Associates (PWA)
implemented the erosion control project under contract. Seventy five percent
of sites identified that needed treatment in the
Much more work in reducing erosion from upland areas is needed and is likely to occur over time in order to comply with the TMDL. Treatment of road related erosion should have an ultimate goal of reducing overall road densities and relocating streamside or high risk roads.
Artificial propagation (fish culture) can play an important role in restoring Garcia River salmonid populations. It is essential, however, to regard artificial propagation as merely a short-term solution, that is, as an emergency "holding action" to maintain and enhance native stocks. The long-term solution is habitat protection and restoration, the goal of which is to provide spawning and rearing habitat of sufficient quality and quantity so that wild fish populations become self-sustaining.
The species of highest priority for fish culture efforts on the Garcia are coho and chinook salmon. For reasons of genetic integrity and avoidance of disease problems, the importation of stocks from other watersheds should be attempted only after careful screening for disease and adaptability to a short-run, small stream such as the Garcia. The disease implications of non-native fish introductions are particularly dangerous, as in the case of the Noyo River coho, which have a history of bacterial kidney disease (BKD). With the current research being carried out by the DFG (Dr. Bill Cox) to identify and treat fish diseases such as BKD, and infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN), etc., it maybe possible to safely introduce successful salmon strains into the Garcia sometime in the future on an experimental basis, when appropriate habitat has been restored.
No planting of coho should occur in the Garcia River until water quality measurements, pool depth and frequency and gravel stability have been verified. If outside sources of coho are sought, it may be necessary and even desirable to look beyond the convenient Noyo River Hatchery because of the aforementioned BKD problem, genetic impurity, and past poor success in the Garcia River despite sizable plantings. Because there are no streams of high ecological health nearby on the Mendocino coast, finding a stock suitable for the Garcia may be problematic.
The coho found in Lagunitas Creek (
With the Garcia River
’s chinook salmon now extinct, it may also be a good time to review
recommendations and begin planning for chinook reintroduction and recovery. In
addition to the two stocks that are mentioned by Monschke and Caldon (1992)
(Mattole and Little River), chinook from the
One reason the
Meetings of the Garcia River
Watershed Advisory Group since 1989 have been very valuable in educating
interested area residents and landowners. Numerous presentations have been
made by restoration experts and agency staff covering the entire range of
potential land use impacts and watershed restoration planning and
The Mendocino RCD published the
The Mendocino Farm Bureau in partnership with the UC Davis Ag Extension, and the Garcia River Agricultural Landowners Groups has put on trainings of the Rangeland Management (short course) to assist landowners in developing Ranch Plans to address erosion in meet the Clean Water Act TMDL requirements. These Plans when implemented should prevent soil loss, which helps maintain agricultural activities and improves water quality.
Trout Unlimited has partnered with
the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project to bring two graduate students,
Elizabeth (Libby) Earthman and Jennifer Presnell, to Point Arena to assist
local watershed restoration efforts. A key component of the AmeriCorps program
is a watershed education curriculum. Jennifer and Libby carried out a six-week
education program in local schools ranging from
Water temperature is noted as a limiting factor in the Garcia River Basin , specifically Inman Creek, Pardaloe Creek, Blue Waterhole and some reaches of the mainstem Garcia River (Mangelsdorf, 1997). Maahs and Barber (2001) reported maximum floating weekly average water temperature that indicate a number of locations are unsuitable for coho salmon (Figure 11).
The desired future condition of the Garcia River is to have water temperatures suitable for coho in the lower mainstem and low-gradient tributaries. At present, the Garcia mainstem temperatures are just above the habitable range for coho, but still well within the range of habitability for steelhead (Figure 12). Lower temperatures will also be conducive to steelhead production as reaches suitable for summer rearing of older age juveniles expand. Monschke and Caldon (1992) found that the lower mainstem corner pools were suitable habitat for yearling and two year old steelhead. Data from Friends of the Garcia River indicate that water temperatures in mainstem reaches below the North Fork are already suitable for steelhead but slightly above those known to support coho (Welsh et al., 2001).
It is recommended that water
temperature monitoring continue, with a slight shift in emphasis. More
information is needed about the effects of riparian condition on water
temperatures in the
As tributaries recover and the river mainstem deepens with decreased sediment supply, water temperature and rearing conditions should improve for salmonids. Mainstem Garcia River water temperature data should continue to be accrued but further studies should be conducted using automated temperature probes to understand some of the more subtle aspects of mainstem Garcia temperatures. The effect of increased pool depth and temperature stratification should be explored through deployment of probes at varying depths in several pools.
Water temperature discussions related
A number of sediment monitoring
studies have been carried out in the
McBain and Trush (2000) measured the
amount of fine sediment in McNeil samples by dry weight for
Until relationships between permeability and egg to fry survival is established, fine sediment should be monitored using grab samples, generally referred to as McNeil samples. The next time samples are collected, the wet weight and dry weight of samples should be measured to establish a relationship between the two. While Shirazi and Siem (1979) provided an estimate of conversion between wet and dry samples, these relationships should be established locally to make sure that assumptions regarding rock types that affect the formulas are met.
Turbidity monitoring with continuous
gauges in several locations in the
Cross sections have been measured and
revisited at many mainstem and estuary locations on the
Knopp (1993) measured the amount of sediment in pools (V*) and median particle size distribution of 62 north coast streams. The V* technique is a cost-effective way to monitor sediment flux in streams and also has a direct tie to pool volume. Since juvenile coho and older age steelhead require pools for rearing, this metric is also a very good surrogate for trends in suitable habitat for these species. V* should be implemented in the South Fork Garcia as part of the multiple station monitoring effort (Maahs and Barber, 2001).
The North Coast Regional Water
Quality Control Board was scheduled to monitor 10-15 stations during, and
after, winter storm events in the
Fisheries data collected in the
Garcia Basin includes periodic CDFG and timber company electrofishing, dive
surveys by the Mendocino Redwood Company for presence absence, dive surveys
associated with habitat typing (Monschke and Caldon, 1995) and net samples
from the estuary (Higgins, 1996). CDFG captured and marked adult steelhead,
then used angler catch data to determine
More data collection is needed on
adult and juvenile coho and steelhead to gauge population recovery and
response to restoration activities. Information collected using direct dive
observation would be more useful if age classes of steelhead could be
identified and recorded. As the various reaches of the
The mainstem Garcia River was found to support yearling and two year old steelhead, mainly in corner pools as of 1991 (Monschke and Caldon, 1992). Several pools or reaches in the lower mainstem Garcia should be monitored to determine carrying capacity for older age steelhead juveniles. This should be done using direct dive observation and sampling should include water temperature monitoring (see above). The latter will help determine if water temperatures drop sufficiently to also support coho salmon juveniles, which is a desired future condition.
Adult steelhead spawner surveys
should be continued, at least in reaches surveyed by Maahs (1999), to gauge
trends over time. Spawning activity in the mainstem
No downstream migrant trapping data are available for the
The fishery monitoring study in the estuary by Higgins (1995) addressed whether the estuary should be manipulated to increase carrying capacity for salmonids. Fish data collected pursuant to this objective showed patterns of estuary use by juvenile steelhead, and revealed some things about their life history. A follow up study of the estuary should include more intensive sampling to determine carrying capacity for juvenile steelhead. This would help determine the relative importance of the estuary as a production area for salmonid juveniles and provide baseline information for future reference and comparison to other estuaries.
Figure 13. Spawner Survey Map
Maahs and Barber (2001) suggested that more studies were needed to explore linkages between land use management and aquatic impacts. Dunne et al. (2001) recommended the use of a variety of existing data and tools, such as remote sensing and GIS, to better understand land use conditions and their relationship to aquatic resources. These tools are no available as part of the KRIS Garcia project.
Many different data sets and
electronic map layers currently exist, and these can be used to discern
relationships between land use and aquatic conditions. Water temperature is
known to be a limiting factor for salmonid production in some
Figure 14. Riparian Condition Maps
Other information could be obtained with remote sensing, including the amount of timber harvest since 1985, road densities in road miles per square mile, the number of road crossings and the miles of streamside roads. Reeves et al. (1993) found that timber harvesting in more than 25% of a watershed’s area leads to simplification of streams and reduction of salmonid community diversity. All quantitative calculations in future studies should utilize the well recognized Calwater Planning Watersheds until more detailed watershed boundaries are available that consistently represent real hydrologic basins.
Upland erosion control projects related to roads and landings are well advanced in the North Fork and South Fork Garcia. There should be periodic photo documentation of removed crossings and other treated areas. Harr and Nichols (1993) showed that road decommissioning in the Nooksack River in Washington substantially reduced sediment yield and storm damage to streams. Continue monitoring cross sections and long profiles in the South Fork to determine response of the aquatic system to the restoration measures (see Sediment Monitoring).
The width of riparian zones in strategic response reaches should be monitored periodically, using sequential aerial photos, to gauge sediment evulsions, which are a manifestation of cumulative effects (Grant, 1988).
The data collected by the Garcia River Instream Monitoring Project (Maahs and Barber, 2001)
and other previous efforts (Euphrat et al., 1998; Pacific Watershed
Associates, 1997, Knopp, 1993 and FROG) as well as the findings of this
report, will all be catalogued and available to the public through the KRIS
Garcia project. KRIS is a free-ware Windows based program devised in the
Data used and stored in KRIS is in
Dbase IV, a standard format, which allows the data to be extracted and used by
others for future
A photographic record of restoration
projects is a valuable tool for assessing their effectiveness. Hundreds of
photos were reviewed and captured for this report, and they are all organized
into picture “
Electronic map themes were developed in Arc View to show the location of restoration sites, migration barriers, spawner surveys and monitoring locations. These were added to base layers typically assembled for watershed assessment. as KRIS Map projects, including data from any agency, available in Arc View or Arc Info, which has bearing on fisheries productivity or water quality. Such layers include timber harvest, Landsat derived vegetation data, USGS topographic maps and hydrography, digital orthophoto quads and roads. Some elements of map projects will be included in KRIS Garcia because the program Map Objects Light allows integration of Arc View themes into this free-ware interface.
Bibliographic resources on which this project drew are being scanned and captured in electronic form for inclusion in the KRIS Garcia project. Key bibliographic resources include all California Department of Fish and Game surveys and memos, the Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan (Monschke and Caldon, 1992), the Garcia River Sediment Total Maximum Daily Load, Maahs and Barber (2001), and other documents that provide the basis of scientific knowledge about the Garcia River Basin.
Data captured in KRIS will be widely available on CD ROM but will also be available on the Internet. New developments of KRIS technology now allow the entire contents of KRIS systems to be on-line, making acquisition of a CD optional and allowing Macintosh users to review the full contents of KRIS. Those wishing to participate in updating KRIS, however, would need to have the program on their computer hard drive because the Internet version is read only.
“There is little question that we are not going to be able to do everything we want to do for salmon immediately. So how do we decide what we should do first? There are millions of federal and state dollars being spent on salmon restoration right now. That expenditure presents both a significant challenge and opportunity. The challenge is to target all these expenditures to the most important efforts first. The opportunity is to actually make a difference for salmon. We can only do that if we pay attention to the biology -- not the politics, not the agency turf, not "the money's got to be spread over the landscape" -- but rather prioritizing our efforts based on the biology of salmon, which very quickly leads us to the biology of healthy watersheds.”Bradbury et al. (1996)
Bradbury et al. (1996) is one of the most widely respected, science based approaches to restoration prioritization in thePacific Northwest Those working on the restoration of the Garcia River certainly are aware that funding sources are not infinite. Consequently, the sequence and prioritization of restoration activities is of tremendous importance, if goals such as coho salmon recovery are to be attained. Such a strategy must be science based. The Monitoring section of this report suggests how to determine whether progress is being made.
Bradbury et al. (1992) stress the importance of identifying the most intact habitat patches and beginning restoration by making sure that these areas are protected and enhanced as a priority. A full basin inventory of the Garcia has not been conducted to discern the location of refugia. Water temperatures or presence of coho salmon can be used as a surrogate for complete inventories. Sub-basins that exhibit cool temperatures that could, or do, support coho should be given priority for erosion control and riparian restoration. Although such prioritization is not required under TMDL, it will lead to much greater success in recovering salmonid populations.
Recommendation: Make Signal Creek, North Fork Garcia, Rolling Brook, lower Mill Creek and upper Mill Creek watersheds high priorities for restoration implementation because of cool water temperatures.
Bradbury et al. (1992) recognize the benefit of a general strategy that can go forward even without more specific, in-depth knowledge on each sub basin:
|“The strategy most likely to be effective is to treat and reduce physical hazards to upslope areas that threaten the future health of the watershed (such as potential landslides), and to allow the riparian ecosystem to recover by stopping the damaging effects of activities such as grazing, timber harvest, road building and intense recreational use. At a minimum, this strategy will reduce the likelihood that major disturbances, such as floods and fires, will exacerbate human impacts in a watershed and promote further ecosystem degradation…..At the same time, efforts should be made to gain an understanding of ecosystem processes and elements so that a more targeted restoration strategy can be developed.”|
Monschke and Caldon (1992) echoed most of the points made above in recommendations. The steps taken by ranchland and timber land owners to comply with TMDL are likely to move the watershed generally toward good health in conjunction with more focused restoration activities in well studied sub basins.
Recommendations: 1) Reduce erosion risk through A) treatment of landslides and old features such as stream side landings, B) by improving road surfaces, crossings and configuration, C) reducing road densities including reducing road densities.
2) Replant riparian zones in all areas of the basin possible, including tributaries such as Inman Creek, which contribute to mainstem water temperature problems.
The South Fork Garcia has been treated as a priority basin through TU/MRC projects funded through SB 271 CDFG grants. The basin meets the criteria of a stream cold enough to support coho and actually had them as recently as 2002. With reduced road networks, increased culvert size, legacy erosion problems fixed and a lighter regime of timber harvest activity, the South Fork Garcia represents fully storm-proofed watershed which should show indications of aquatic recovery. The latter will be checked as a result of monitoring funded by CDF (Maahs and Barber, 2001).
Recommendations: 1) Finish last 25% of erosion control sites in the South Fork. 2)Continue monitoring to gauge the rapidity of the stream channel recovery and the response of the aquatic community (see Monitoring).
Bradbury et al. (1992) note that recovery of aquatic systems can be confounded if anthropogenic sources of watershed disturbance are not modified or abated: “In addition, in the face of limited information it may make sense to redouble protection efforts rather than pursuing restoration.” Aggressive timber harvest in riparian zones has left many streams open to warming, reducing the quality of fish habitat in tributaries and increasing problems with high water temperatures in some reaches of the mainstem Garcia River. Many reaches also lack conifers large enough to provide lasting large wood in stream channels and trees of sufficient size will take decades to recruit.
Recommendations: 1) In order to protect and restore salmonid habitat and aquatic ecosystem function in the Garcia River, riparian zones should be allowed to mature un-entered for at least 40-60 years. 2) Easements or acquisition of these areas should be explored to help reduce economic impacts to private landowners.
Dunne et al. (2001) and Ligon et al. (1999) recognized that problems could arise in maintaining salmon and steelhead populations as a result of channel changes reflecting cumulative watershed effects from timber harvesting and road building. Reeves et al. (1993) found that&coastal watersheds harvested in more than 25% of their watershed area supported salmonid communities dominated by one species. They found that higher rates of logging reduced complexity of stream habitat, which in turn caused a loss of some Pacific salmon species. Most Garcia River sub basins, like the South Fork, have been harvested in a much higher proportion of their area in less than 15 years and the disappearance of coho has coincided with that level of activity. Streams in basins with less recent timber harvest should be considered likely to be in more advanced recovery and; therefore, potential refugia.
Recommendations: 1) Timber harvest rates of 1% of the Garcia River Basin per year or 25% of a basin over 25 years would seem a prudent limit for true sustainability. 2) Alternatively, implement low impact harvest techniques, such as full-suspension cable yarding and reduced road networks, similar to logging on the Parker Ranch in the Ten Mile River Basin.
Restoration efforts beginning in the 1950’s aimed at increasing the number of salmon and steelhead through artificial culture. Although re-introduction of coho or chinook salmon is possible in the future, it should only be undertaken after physical stream and water quality measurements indicate that conditions are suitable.
Recommendation: Use South Fork and mainstem Garcia monitoring to determine when conditions are fully suitable for coho and chinook salmon before carrying out any introductions of salmon from outside the basin.
Like artificial culture, installation of instream structures or manipulation of stream channels should only proceed when watershed conditions are sufficiently recovered to where they are unlikely to pose inordinate risk to channel stability. Small streams with limited access for salmonids should be given lower priority for structural treatment, but not for riparian restoration, which will aid mainstem recovery. Stream channels are sometimes altered to improve fish passage. If areas of suitable habitat are blocked in the North Fork River and Fleming Creek (tributary to the South Fork Garcia), known barriers should be considered for modification.
Monschke and Caldon (1992) recommended that only basins with basic inventories should be given priority for implementation, with special mention of the North Fork and Pardaloe Creek. The North Fork has good riparian cover, lower water temperatures and a sediment regime which is allowing channel recovery (Hagans and Higgins, 1996). This meets criteria advanced in Bradbury et al. (1992) that likelihood of storm damage due to watershed conditions and erosion risk are low. The lower North Fork Garcia River goes sub surface in summer just above its convergence with the mainstem due to excessive sediment deposits armored with an overlay of boulder, cobble (Monschke and Caldon, 1992). The result is the yearly stranding and death of thousands of juvenile salmonids.
Recommendations: 1) Consider projects to alter barriers to salmon and steelhead migration in the NF Garcia and Flemming Creek. 2) Consider Garcia channel excavation in lowest reach to improve channel depth to improve juvenile steelhead survival. 3) Rescue of stranded salmonids until restoration measures have been implemented. 4) Follow up with bank erosion prevention and riparian planting in Pardaloe Creek suggested by Monschke and Caldon (1992).
Many restoration programs in larger river basins do not address mainstem projects because cumulative watershed effects pose to great a threat of flood damage. The Garcia River mainstem, however, is in more advanced recovery than most other rivers in the region and mainstem restoration projects are not only feasible, but highly successful.
Recommendation: Maintain existing restoration projects and continue planting redwoods on the lower seven miles of mainstem between Eureka Hill Road Bridge Windy Hollow Road
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