Klamath River - Blue Creek

Conserving a cold-water lifeline for salmon on California’s Redwood Coast

Blue Creek flows cold and clear from high in the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and meets the Klamath River 16 miles upstream from the mouth. It is the first source of cold water that salmon and steelhead encounter on their migration inland and provides these fish a critical cold-water refuge so they can complete their journeys inland to spawn. It is the lifeline to the Klamath River in the heart of the California redwoods. Photo by Dave Jensen.

Nearly every salmon that returns to the Klamath to spawn holds in Blue Creek, lowering its body temperature by an average of eight degrees. (Photo by Thomas Dunklin)

Blue Creek runs clear and cold from the Siskiyou Wilderness, entering the Klamath 16 miles upstream from the Pacific. (Photo by Rick Hiser)

Overlooking the Klamath River. (Photo by Peter Marbach)

WRC's work on the Klamath will benefit imperiled animals like marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl and Humboldt marten (pictured). (Photo by Daryl L. Hunter)

When the Klamath is stressed by low flows and warm temperatures, Blue Creek becomes the lower river's most important cold-water refuge for returning salmon and steelhead. (Photo by Peter Marbach)

The Blue Pool, at the Klamath/Blue Creek confluence, remains ice cold throughout the year. (Photo by Dave Jensen)

In partnership with the Yurok Tribe, WRC is conserving the entire lower Blue Creek watershed to create a cold-water salmon sanctuary. The upper watershed is already protected by the Siskiyou Wilderness Area. (Photo by Thomas Dunklin)

Overlooking the Klamath River. (Photo by Dave Jensen)