The Cow Creek watershed is a smaller watershed that is located southwest of Mt. Lassen. The Cow Creek watershed encompasses approximately 425 square miles and the river length is 40 miles. It enters the Sacramento River near the base of the mountain and has what some consider the most beautiful landscape in the Central Valley. Along the Cow Creek watershed, one will find mixed conifer forest consisting of Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and California black oak. Cow Creek land use is mainly agriculture. Many farmers in the area pump surface water into pasturelands and support their livestock. There are many private and public timber companies in the Cow Creek watershed. The creek provides critical habitat for both Chinook and steelhead populations. These populations are affected by many different stressors including passage impediments, improper flow conditions, elevated water temperatures, and changes in flow conditions.
Fall and late fall-run Chinook salmon in the Cow Creek watershed are federally listed as a species of concern. Steelhead are federally listed as threatened. Preventing the extinction of salmon and steelhead requires restoration of priority habitat conditions (listed in the Snapshot Restoration webpage) and consistent, funded monitoring of these fish populations.