Salmon Snapshots

Cow Creek

Restoration Highlights

    • 2 fish ladders installed to allow upstream fish passage
    • 1 fish screen installed to prevent fish entrainment into water diversions
    • 10 miles of stream made accessible to fish


    Restoration Organizations

    Priority Restoration Actions

    • Develop and implement actions to reduce or eliminate passage impediments in Cow Creek.
    • Install water temperature recorders at select locations in Cow Creek; develop recommendations for minimum instream flow based on temperature needs.
    • Conduct a Cow Creek diversion mapping study and install screens and ladders at agricultural diversions where necessary.
    • Develop and apply alternative diversion technologies that eliminate entrainment in Cow Creek.
    • Enhance watershed resiliency in Cow Creek by identifying and implementing projects that would reduce the potential for, and magnitude of, a catastrophic wildfire, and restore forested areas within the watershed including riparian areas.
    • Identify stream reaches in Cow Creek that have been most altered by anthropogenic factors and reconstruct a natural channel geometry scaled to current channel forming flows.
    • Develop education and outreach programs to encourage river stewardship in Cow Creek, such as water quality short courses, field demonstrations and distribution of water quality “Fact Sheets”.
    • Cooperatively negotiate long term agreements with local landowners to maintain and restore riparian communities along lower reaches of Cow Creek.
    • Develop and implement a spawning gravel augmentation plan in Cow Creek.
    • Implement projects to increase floodplain habitat availability in Cow Creek to improve juvenile rearing habitat.
    • Implement projects to increase flows in Cow Creek and tributaries.
    • Implement the water quality action options described in the Cow Creek Watershed Management Plan.


    Restoration highlights compiled from Central Valley Improvement Action annual reports, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP) website, Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) summary reports; California Fish Passage Assessment Database (PAD); the UC Davis Information Center for the Environment (ICE) Natural Resource Projects Inventory (NRPI), US Bureau of Reclamation website, California Department of Water Resources website, and Western Shasta RCD reports.

    Priority Restoration Actions are the Priority 2 Immediate Restoration Actions listed in the California Central Valley Salmon & Steelhead Recovery Plan. There are no Priority 1 actions.


    Restoration Plans: 

    2005 Cow Creek Watershed Management Plan (Cow Creek Watershed Management Group)

    2014 Ecosystem Restoration Program Conservation Strategy for Restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley Regions

    2014 National Marine Fisheries Service California Central Valley Salmon & Steelhead Recovery Plan

    2001 US Fish and Wildlife Service Final Restoration Plan for the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program


    The California Department of Fish and Wildlife to funding two fish barriers in Little Cow Creek: the Cook and Butcher diversion dam and the abandoned Bella Vista pipeline. The Cook and Butcher diversion dam is the largest diversion structure on Little Cow Creek and the concrete flashboard dam has been identified as the primary barrier to upstream migration on the stream. Additionally, the unscreened diversion poses a risk to outward migrating juvenile salmon and steelhead, allowing the fish to become entrained in the off-channel ditch. See more here. © Western Shasta RCD
    The abandoned Bella Vista Pipeline is a concrete structure that spans the width of the channel. It was constructed as a means to convey Bella Vista Water District’s water across North Cow Creek beneath the creek but became an exposed fish passage barrier over time. Water conveyance across the creek was relocated to a pipe on the nearby Swede Creek Road Bridge when it was widened in 2013, thus eliminating the need for the structure. Upon completion of these projects fish passage will be opened upstream for over 6 mile. For now, Western Shasta has planning funds from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. See more here. © Western Shasta RCD

    Before shot of Millville Diversion Dam. The Clover Creek/Millville Fisheries Restoration Project opened up ten miles of historically-accessible habitat to Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead in Clover Creek, tributary of Cow Creek, east of Redding, CA. See project summary© Western Shasta RCD

    After shot of  Millville Diversion Dam with the newly constructed reinforced concrete fish ladder. Completed during summer 2016, the project constructed two reinforced concrete fish ladders, a screened diversion intake and new inverted siphon to provide water to the Millville Ditch Company’s irrigators without entraining fish in their diversion ditch, and in-stream rock slope protection to address streambed erosion.  © Western Shasta RCD

    Before shot of Millville Diversion Company exposed siphon. With funding from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Ecosystem Restoration Program and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anadromous Fish Screen Program, the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District successfully implemented the Clover Creek/Millville Fisheries Restoration Project in collaboration with CDFW, USFWS, the California Department of Water Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Millville Ditch Company, and the landowner. © Western Shasta RCD

    After shot of Millville Diversion Company fish ladder with screened diversion intake and new inverted siphon to prevent entrainment of fish into diversion ditch. See project construction photos© Western Shasta RCD