MATTOLE RIVER VALLEY Miscellaneous References

Compiled by Susie Van Kirk April, 1998

Roscoe, Jamie. 1977. The Mattole Valley: Economic Survival in a Rural Community. Barnum Competition, Humboldt Co. Collection, HSU Library.

Milton Dudley established saw and grist mill on Squaw Creek where creek empties into Mattole six miles above Petrolia, about 1874. Final blow to tan bark enterprise was depletion of the natural resources, stands of tan bark which were easily accessible were soon "peeled out." During pre WWII, a synthetic tanning process was developed. Wharf went out in storm between 1913 and 1914.

Clark, T.K. 1983. Regional History of Petrolia and the Mattole Valley. Miller Press, Eureka.

Tanbark peelers in Mattole valley since early 1900. He did not recall lumber shipped from the landing. The Mattole Lumber Co. came to Petrolia in 1908 to ship tanbark by boat to San Francisco. Some bark came from as far up the Mattole River as Upper Mattole. Another bark camp was as far up North Fork as Taylor Peak. Bark was brought to landing by wagon. The trees were cut down, bark peeled, loaded on mules, and taken to wagons. Bark could only be peeled in warm summer months. Mattole Union School. 1962.

The Book of Petrolia, its History, Land and People by the Children and Teachers of the Mattole Union School with the help of the whole community. Between 1868 and 1876, Marysville settlers arrived in the Mattole Valley, Jacob Miner, Charles Johnson, Sr., James N. Dudley (1872), W.H. Roscoe (1876), Eliza Boots, Charles Rackliff, George Hindley (1873). The Mattole Grange was organized in August. 1934 and the building constructed in 1935.

Roscoe, William E. 1940. The History of the Mattole Valley. Carkeet, Ross. June 1967. An Analysis of the North Fork Mattole River Watershed, presented to Douglas Jager for WM 220 Watershed Analysis. Humboldt Co. Collection, HSU Library.

This paper includes color plates of the various soil series and land ownerships in the North Fork. 24,064 acres in North Fork and 46 miles of stream, including North Fork, East Branch of North Fork, and Sulphur Creek on East Branch. A quarter of the watershed supports commercial forest land of Doug-fir. About a third of the watershed is in grassland. It looks like Pacific Lumber owns a total of about five sections of land in the upper part of the drainage. The Hugo soil series covers approximately two-thirds of the total watershed area. This series possesses moderate suitability for timber production and drains well in most cases. However, surface erodability of this soil is high if sites are severely disturbed. Also some Atwell soils in North Fork.

Monroe, Gary. 1976. Natural Resources of the Coastal Wetlands. Department of Fish and Game.

Mattole watershed is 278 square miles; Bear River is 33 square miles with 20 river miles.

Smith, Emil, et al. 1973, revisied 1976. Coastal County Fish and Wildlife Resources and Their Utilization. Dept. of Fish and Game.

"It appears that the Mattole River would support much larger runs of salmon and steelhead, if current abuses of the watershed were to be discontinued. "The effects of poor forest management practices are the primary factors limiting present runs of anadromous fish in this drainage. The by-products of logging--accelerated erosion, siltation, increased water temperatures, reduction of streamside vegetation, destruction of habitat and blocking of fish spawning areas--ould be materially reduced by better legislation and law enforcement..." "...Past logging activities have caused severe damage to Bear River salmon and steelhead habitat. Reestablishment of streamside cover destroyed by logging should prove worthwhile."

USDI. 1960. Natural Resources of Northwestern California. Nine volumes. Preliminary Report, Recreation Resources, 1958. National Park Service, Pacific Southwest Field Committee. pp. 111-114.

Mattole River Basin (narrow basin less than 300 square miles in area). "The River is renowned for steelhead, attributed in considerable degree to the rapid clearing of the stream after minor flooding. There are also salmon and, in the higher reaches of the Mattole and source tributaries, rainbow trout. Fishing leads in active recreation...

"It is unfortunate for the recreation potential of the Mattole River that the valuable timber resources are being unwisely exploited by numerous small private operators. This is being done with little consideration for the importance of eventually achieving a sustained yield. The results of this mismanagement have been especially noted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has also found evidence of serious overgrazing on a scale to cause highly detrimental erosion. Sediment and slash are wrecking steelhead spawning areas. In short, the economically important recreation fishery resource is being critically jeopardized. This is certain to operate adversely on the entire recreation potential of the Valley which could, with improved access, assume increasing rather than less appeal with the growing population. Under present conditions, there can be little incentive for providing recreation facilities, either by public or private enterprise."

A Preliminary Survey of Fish and Wildlife Resources, 1960. Fish and Wildlife Service. p. 11.

The drainage is extensively forested except for the slopes adjacent to the coastline... "Mattole River is located in the extreme southwest portion of the area under consideration. The North Fork, which joins the Mattole 5 miles above its mouth; Honeydew Creek, which joins the river at its mid-point; and Bear Creek, which is an upper tributary, are the principal tributaries. "

Anadromous Fishes of Mattole River--Mattole River salmon and steelhead population estimates were based on spawning gravel surveys and interviews with sportsmen and local residents. "Because of its relative inaccessibility, the Mattole did not provide a commercial fishery. Average chinook salmon runs presently number about 5,000 and coho salmon about 2,000. Steelhead trout are largely responsible for the present-day popularity of this stream. Annual runs of about 12,000 are estimated... "

Fish Habitat of Mattole River--The Mattole River is accessible to chinook salmon for about 45 miles. Coho salmon and steelhead trout ascend the river several miles above log jams and a restricted channel, which block chinook salmon migrants in the vicinity of Thorn.

"In addition to the mainstem areas, several tributaries, including Honeydew Creek and Bear Creek, provide about 14 miles of stream suited for spawning chinook salmon. It is estimated that several times that amount is used by coho salmon and steelhead trout.

"The gradient of the main stream and lower reaches of the main tributaries is low to moderate. The stream meanders extensively and channel division is prevalent in the lower several miles. Intensified logging in the Mattole River drainage began about 1952. Since that time the amount of silt in the streambed has increased and this accelerated siltation, especially in the lower portion, may be expected to continue. Debris from logging operations has blocked many miles of formerly accessible spawning habitat in the tributaries.

"It is estimated that this drainage can provide spawning habitat for over 7,900 pairs of chinook salmon. Useable gravel in this drainage probably would provide spawning space for not more than 10,000 pairs of coho salmon and a comparable number of steelhead trout.

"Sport Fishing of Mattole River--The pattern of utilization of the Mattole River by sport fishermen is similar to that occurring on the Eel River. Prior to 1954, this stream had an exceptionally good winter steelhead trout fishery. The stream was turbid for periods of only a few days at a time until recent years.

"Trout fishing in the Mattole River drainage is carried out largely by nonresident anglers. Most of the fishing is for juvenile steelhead trout in the lower reaches.

"Although chinook salmon occasionally may be caught in the estuary area as early as October, most of the catch is made during November and December. Steelhead trout and, infrequently, coho salmon also are caught whenever water conditions are favorable. Before 1955, peak steelhead trout fishing activity occurred in January and February. Creel censuses for the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons showed negligible fishing effort in this drainage during those months because of the more prolonged turbid periods. There is little fishing for early-run steelhead trout.

"It is estimated that the Mattole River sport fishery provided an annual average of 4,300 angler days in the 1956 and 1957 seasons of which over 3,000 were for trout, 600 for salmon and 700 for steelhead trout. The estimated catch was 400 salmon, 700 adult steelhead trout and 8,000 juvenile steelhead trout. Anglers traveled an average of 172 miles to fish in this stream."

Commisioners of Fisheries, State of California, Biennial Report, 1885-1886: Brief descriptions of northcoast streams..."Mattole River and Casper Creek are comparatively small streams. They are well stocked with fish."

No mention of the Mattole was found in any subsequent biennial reports and there is almost no mention of the stream in the quarterly journal, "Fish and Game," nor in the Bulletins.