Research in the Park
With the help of Save the Redwoods League and other funding partners, the state acquired the 25,000-acre Mill Creek Addition to Del Norte Redwoods State Park in 2002. This heavily logged area—once thought to contain the most magnificent redwoods in the region—has become a living laboratory for scientists. Some recent findings include:
- Good winter habitat is more crucial to the endangered coho salmon than summer habitat, making wood debris in the stream essential. Logs in the stream slow down water during winter storms and provide juvenile salmon with places to rest and feed.
- The process of thinning forests that were too thickly replanted after logging can jumpstart the process of returning those forests to old-growth conditions. Thinning yields short-term benefits, too, such as providing woody debris for better fish habitat. After four years, trees in heavily thinned plots grew almost twice as much in volume as trees in plots that were not thinned. [http://www.savetheredwoods.org/what-we-do/study/researchgrants_detail.php?id=55].
- Less than half as many amphibians were found in Mill Creek’s logged forests as in unlogged forests nearby. [https://www.savetheredwoods.org/what-we-do/study/researchgrants_detail.php?id=21]
- Ongoing: a study on how restoration efforts are affecting the migration, growth and survival of juvenile coho salmon. Mill Creek flows into the Smith River, one of the last strongholds for the species. [http://www.savetheredwoods.org/what-we-do/study/detail.php?id=551].
View a video about the Mill Creek restoration effort.
To find out more about research in California's redwood parks, go to [http://www.savetheredwoods.org/our-work/study/redwood-research/redwoods-research/].