Golden Trout Habitat Restoration

Plumas Corporation www.plumascorporation.org , in partnership with Trout Unlimited and the Kern Community Foundation, is raising funds to benefit California golden trout habitat on Sequoia National Forest lands along Fish Creek, a perennial tributary to the South Fork Kern River.   The State Fish of California and a State Species of Special Concern California golden trout (CGT) once occupied 450 miles of stream habitat in the upper South Fork Kern River and adjacent Golden Trout Creek.  Touted as one of the most colorful trout species in the world, CGT is currently only native to two high elevation watersheds in the rugged southern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Channel erosion, warm water temperatures, and barriers to seasonal movement of these beautiful fish all pose risks to their future in the South Fork Kern River Watershed. 

The Sherman Pass Road (Forest Rd 22S05) was originally built over the confluence of Fish Creek and Jackass Creek.  The road crossing has severely destabilized the stream channels, causing them to erode and abandon their floodplains.  This in turn has resulted in fish passage through the road crossing to be significantly impeded or non-existent because of the failed culvert.   Acting as barrier for movement of California golden trout and other aquatic species, such as the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog, these native species now have limited habitat access upstream of the Sherman Pass Road  crossing.  

The good news is Sequoia National Forest will be replacing the 72-inch arch culvert on Fish Creek with a 50-foot full span bridge beginning in mid-September!  The bad news is without restoring the stream channel under the new bridge the improvements to aquatic passage and habitat for CGT will not happen.  The channel implementation must be integrated into the bridge construction schedule to ensure effective construction of the channel(s), particularly under the bridge deck where height constraints when the deck is placed will inhibit channel restoration work from being accomplished.  Unfortunately, this only gives us one month to raise the needed funds!! 

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What exactly will your donations be used for?   The Golden Trout Habitat Restoration Project will provide a channel/floodplain design through the bridge footprint to stabilize the upstream channels, reduce the sedimentation downstream, and optimize the movement of native fish and other aquatic species under the new bridge.  Project activities will improve water quality, support a more natural flow regime, and enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitats available to the South Fork Kern River system.  The proposed project will benefit populations of native California Golden trout by providing access to more habitat through the new channel/floodplain.  Below is a photo of another channel/floodplain habitat restoration project similar to the one proposed at the Fish Creek crossing.  The channel/floodplain feature will tie-in to the historic Fish Creek and Jackass Creek floodplains upstream then carry a functional, fish passable slope to the existing grade downstream of the crossing.  The project budget includes Plumas Corporation time and expenses for 3 round trips to Tulare County, 10 total days onsite, and 5 total days in office.  Plumas Corporation, as always, is vested in the completion of this project, and will contribute its employee time and expenses ($16,221.00) to the project.  Donated funds through this request ($38,000.00) would cover contractor expenses for equipment usage and procurement of any supplemental material (imported rock fill) if onsite materials are insufficient.

32668610_1536027932679966_r.jpegExample of a fish passable constructed channel/floodplain.

The Forest Service is already committed to replacing the culvert on Fish Creek with a full-span bridge.  We have an opportunity to maximize the benefits of that work by restoring the stream channels through the bridge crossing.  The project is of even more value given the concurrent development of five (5) meadow restoration projects totaling 210 acres in the watershed upstream of the crossing. These meadow projects, Powell, Granite Knob, Little Troy, Troy and Jackass meadows, are intended to restore floodplain connectivity and aquatic habitat of the meadows.  Trout Unlimited is the lead organization for these meadow projects which are now in the environmental review stage and likely available for restoration beginning in 2019.  Sequoia Prioritized Ten Meadows Restoration (TEN MEADOWS PROJECT) Draft Environmental Assessment 

Join us in making this fish worthy project a reality.  Any donation will move us closer to improving habitat conditions for the beautiful native California golden trout.   Any funds in excess of needs would be applied to the meadow restoration work upstream.  Thank you for supporting the Golden Trout Habitat Restoration Project and the future of California golden trout in the South Fork Kern River Watershed one stream at a time!
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Organizer

Gia Pizzino Martynn 
Organizer
East Quincy, CA
Plumas Corporation (Central Operations Department) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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