WRC Blog

Conserved! Critical piece of a California salmon stronghold preserved

Jul 9th, 2020  |  Written by Western Rivers Conservancy

Conserved! Critical piece of a California salmon stronghold preserved
Images by Cindy Diaz, ODFW (wolf), Barrie Kovish (Chinook), GoldenBright (peregrine falcon), Adam Clause (western pond turtle) and Paul Vecsei-Engbretson Underwater Photography (Chinook).

On the western slopes of Mount Lassen, Western Rivers Conservancy has notched a critical victory for imperiled salmon and steelhead of California’s Sacramento River system. In mid-June, we permanently protected two pristine miles of South Fork Antelope Creek by conveying a 1,150-acre property to the Lassen National Forest.

South Fork Antelope Creek is a top-tier nursery for wild salmon and steelhead, and our efforts will help keep it that way. The creek flows cold and clear from the heights of Mount Lassen and joins Antelope Creek, which meets the Sacramento River near the town of Red Bluff. Antelope Creek is one of only six streams designated within the Sacramento Salmon Stronghold, a suite of relatively healthy rivers that offer the best hope for the survival of spring Chinook, winter steelhead (both threatened) and fall Chinook within the Sacramento system.

Located on the western edge of the Lassen National Forest, near the Ishi Wilderness, the newly conserved property features some of the most diverse wildlife in the national forest, with habitats ranging from old-growth ponderosa pine woodlands to live oak savannas and grasslands. As a testament to the property’s superb habitat, OR-7 (pictured above), California’s first documented wolf in decades, spent an entire winter foraging there shortly after it made its way south of the Oregon state line. Combined with the Tehama Wildlife Area downstream, the property also provides a critical home for Tehama black-tailed deer, black bear, peregrine falcon, western pond turtle and many other creatures.

Now part of the Lassen National Forest, the property is permanently protected, ensuring a key piece of South Fork Antelope Creek will continue to give new life to surviving native fish runs. What’s more, the project provides the opportunity to extend a hiking trail from the Tehama Wildlife Area downstream, which will improve access for hikers, equestrians and kayakers to explore the area’s rugged scenery.

Thank you for helping make this project possible! Your support makes a lasting difference for the West’s rivers and the wildlife that depends on them.