Riparian and Watershed Restoration

Corpsmembers in the Salmon Restoration Program are drilling holes in logs to create shelters for a variety of salmon. Structures like these ensure that adult salmon have the habitat they need to spawn and juvenile salmon have a healthy environment in which to grow.

The Salmon Restoration Program is the core of the California Conservation Corps’ (CCC’s) work in riparian and watershed restoration.

It began in January 1980 as a partnership between the CCC, California Department of Fish and Game, and private and public landowners.

The habitat improvements made enhance and restore California’s salmon and steelhead habitats, improve the productivity of Chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead trout streams.

A partnership with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and California Fish and Game enables the CCC’s fisheries restoration activities from California’s remote North Coast to Ventura County in Southern California.

The CCC Camarillo Center serves as a base for much of the work focused on fish passage barrier removal/modification, invasive species removal, stream-bank stabilization, bioengineering, habitat and barrier assessment, in-stream habitat improvement, livestock exclusionary fencing, and native riparian planting.

The CCC identifies Corpsmembers having exhibited strong overall performance and having interest in watershed and fisheries restoration and then trains them as fish habitat specialists. These specialists are then paired with Fish and Game biologists, CCC/AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards and other watershed restoration experts to implement restoration projects designed by NOAA and state Fish and Game.

Typical restoration projects include modifying barriers to fish passage; planting trees in the riparian zones; reducing upslope sediment sources; stabilizing stream banks through bioengineering and log/ boulder structures; building livestock exclusion fences; constructing in-stream habitat structures for pool development and spawning gravel retention; and installing logs and root wads that serve as cover structures in pool and flat water habitats. Restoration work is focused on streams and watersheds that have the greatest ability to increase threatened and endangered salmonid populations over the long term.

Key Benefits:

  • Improved fish runs
  • Watershed data generated, aggregated and shared with landowners and state agencies
  • Protection of source for more than $17 billion of fish and game related revenue to California
  • Improvement of more than 1800 miles of stream and estuary habitat in hundreds of watersheds
  • Two million+ trees planted
  • 1.6 million plus hours of work in North Coast streams and tributaries to the Albion, Bear, Eel, Klamath, Mattole, Navarro, Noyo, Russian, Smith and Trinity Rivers
  • Corpsmembers gain skills and experience essential to joining and maintaining a workforce targeting watershed enhancement and protection