Freshwater Creek (data source Esri)
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Freshwater Creek

General Information:

The Freshwater Creek basin is located in Humboldt County between Eureka to the south and Arcata to the north. Freshwater Creek, which drains into Humboldt Bay via the Eureka Slough, is a fourth order stream with a drainage area of approximately 9227 hectares (31 sq. mi.). Elevations in the watershed range from 823 meters at the headwaters to sea level at the mouth. The mainstem of Freshwater Creek is approximately 23 km long, of which 14.5 km is anadromous fish habitat. Five main tributaries, Little Freshwater, Graham Gulch, Cloney Gulch, McCready Gulch, and South Fork Freshwater, each provide 2 to 4 km of anadromous fish habitat. Annual rainfall is approximately 150 cm in the headwaters and 100 cm near the mouth. Levees confine the channel in the lower 6 km and the surrounding land is primarily used for cattle grazing. This section is characterized by low gradient and limited riparian development. Upstream, the riparian community is more developed and is composed of willow, red alder, black cottonwood, blackberry, salmonberry, and other herbaceous plants. Bordering the riparian areas are forests of redwood, Douglas-fir, white fir and Sitka spruce. The fishery resources of the basin include three species of salmon: Chinook salmon , Coho salmon, and Steelhead trout. Occasionally, chum salmon are observed. Other fish present in the basin include Pacific Lamprey, Pacific Brook Lamprey, Cutthroat Trout, and prickly and coast range sculpin. Amphibians and reptiles present include pacific giant salamanders, red legged frogs, tailed frogs and western pond turtles.


South Fork Freshwater fike net downstream migrant trap at low water, March 2005.
Photo courtesy of Bob Pagliuco