The Noyo River watershed is a coastal watershed located in Mendocino County. The 113 square-mile watershed extends east to the ridgetops that frame the Little Lake Valley. The river’s mouth is at Noyo Harbor in the city of Fort Bragg, which uses the river for drinking water. It is neighbored on the south by Hare Creek and the Big River, on the east by the South Fork Eel River, and on the north by Pudding Creek and Ten Mile River, which was named for its distance from the Noyo River. Timber harvest is the dominant land use in the watershed: 80% percent of the watershed is privately owned, with nearly two-thirds managed by timber companies. The remainder of the watershed is publicly owned in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Campgrounds and salmon monitoring sites are located along the Noyo River within the State Forest.
The Noyo River is currently included on the federal Clean Water Act list of impaired water bodies due to excessive sediment and elevated temperature. Coho salmon in the Noyo basin are state and federally listed as endangered; Chinook salmon and steelhead are federally listed as threatened. The coho salmon population was augmented by hatchery plantings up until the early 2000s. Preventing the extinction of coho salmon means restoring many key habitat attributes within the Noyo River watershed that are in poor condition.