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Some Key Facts about Salmon Creek
Salmon Creek is located in Mendocino County. It discharges directly into the Pacific Ocean just south of the town of Albion. The creek is tidal for about 350 yards. It is generally of a mild gradient and extends approximately 7 miles inland to an elevation of 950 feet. A major tributary, Little Salmon Creek, joins the "Big" just before it exits to the ocean. This 8,600-acre watershed is located between the Albion River on the north and the Navarro River on the south.
The basin has an extensive timber harvest history that began before 1900 with the initial old growth harvest, a second set of entries after World War II from the 40s to the 60s, with additional intensive harvests beginning in the 1980s. Other major impacts to the watershed have resulted from early railroad building and recent extensive truck and tractor road building to access timber; conversion of forest land to pastureland by repeated burnings; stream clearance projects of the 60s, 70s and 80s; and the current increased density of rural housing and driveways along the ridges.
The upper reaches of the watershed - 4,400 acres - are owned by Hawthorne Timber Company and managed for timber production. The land was purchased by Hawthorne from Georgia Pacific in December of 1999. The lower portions of the creek and the ridgetops are comprised of smaller private holdings of grazing lands, rural residential housing, and forestland. Three major roads - Albion Ridge, Navarro Ridge and Middle Ridge Roads - follow the main ridges that define the watershed.
Most of the watershed is redwood, Douglas fir and tanoak forest. Several tracts of pygmy forest, a sensitive habitat, occupy flat terraces along Albion Ridge. Annual grasslands characterize the mouth of the creek. In the spring, the fragrant western Azalea blooms abundantly along the stream's shaded reaches.
Though small, with about 10 miles of fish-bearing stream, Salmon Creek supports viable runs of genetically uncontaminated steelhead and coho salmon, has remnant populations of tailed frogs - a sensitive species - and is home to several pairs of the federally listed northern spotted owl. Bears, mountain lions, deer, pileated woodpeckers and many other wildlife species can also be found in its woods.
Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance PO Box 87, Elk, CA 95432 email: firstname.lastname@example.org