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Upper Butte Creek Watershed

May contain: tree, plant, fir, abies, and conifer

Butte Creek is home to the strongest spring-run Chinook salmon population in the Central Valley, and supplies water to tens of thousands of acres of cropland. Its upper watershed is an important refuge for forest carnivores, the Cascade frog, spotted owls, trout and many rare plants, plus meadows and fens that store centuries' worth of carbon. Surrounding the two rural communities of Butte Meadows and Jonesville, the area is a cherished recreational haven for folks from Chico, Oroville, and far beyond. But much of the upper watershed hasn't burned in over 100 years, putting it at risk of catastrophic fire. BCRCD is helping the State of California make much-needed investments in the area's ecological health and rural economies.  How?

  • Colby Mountain Recreation Project - Funded by grants from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the Friesen Foundation, and private donations, this project would build 40 miles of new non-motorized singletrack trail providing diverse hiking and biking loop options out of Jonesville, plus connections to the Pacific Crest Trail and the "Connected Communities" trail system providing trail connections to points as far away as Susanville and Truckee.
  • Upper Butte Creek Forest Health Initiative - Funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board, this project would review an area of about 16,000 acres and produce a forest health NEPA document to return the area to resilience through meadow restoration, aspen improvement, forest thinning, and prescribed fire.
  • West Lassen Watershed Infrastructure Assessment - Funded by NFWF, this Sierra Institute-led project is assessing 74 stream crossings and 14 miles of non-system road on Forest Service lands in anadromous watersheds in the west Lassen region. 16 of the crossings and 2.5 road-miles are in the Upper Butte Creek watershed, and those are the ones for which BCRCD will be conducting assessments and and creating repair recommendations.
  • Butte Creek House Meadow Restoration - Funded by a Prop 1 Streamflow Enhancement grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board, this project will improve habitat for native species that depend on meadows, including sandhill crane, willow flycatcher, cascade frog, Sierra-Nevada yellow legged frog, spotted owl, and northern goshawk. A restored meadow can result in an increase in water storage capacity, reduce water temperatures in summer, result in higher dissolved oxygen levels, reduce erosion and sediment delivery, and increase carbon storage.