Mill Creek Restoration Clip Overview - Narrations


For close to a hundred years California State Parks has been preserving the last stands of ancient redwoods.

Today we are acquiring lands that were once damaged by logging. Working with our partners, like the National Park Service, Save-the-Redwoods-League, and the Smith River Alliance, these forests are being restored to their former glory.

This is a process that takes decades, sometimes centuries to complete.

California State Parks is proud of the lead role that we are taking in developing this unique approach to ecosystem management that incorporates the talents of many people and disciplines.

The following videos show how one California State Park is acting as a model for this kind of cutting edge forest restoration.

Part 1 - Overview

Mill creek is a major tributary to the Smith River and is a forest stronghold containing some of the most spectacular old growth Redwood forests on the planet.

The Smith River is world-renowned for being a salmon stronghold - it contains some of the healthiest populations of salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout in California.

Abundant rainfall, and a high level of watershed protection all combine to make the Smith River one of the cleanest, and healthiest rivers in California - and healthy salmon populations require healthy watersheds.

Located just south of the Oregon Border, the Smith River is the last and largest un-dammed river in California, and is home to some of the largest fish, and largest trees on earth.

Salmon are forest creatures, and where there are big trees, there are often big fish.

The forests of the Jedediah Smith and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Parks are home to some of the last remaining old growth Redwood forests on the planet - and these trees are truly spectacular.

The lower Mill Creek basin is home to one of the most complex forests on earth, and has been under Park protection since 1929.

But until 2002, the upper basin was owned by a private timber company, who harvested trees and managed the land for commercial purposes.

When the California State Parks system took ownership of the Mill Creek Property in 2002 - It fulfilled a long standing dream - to unite the upper and lower Mill Creek watershed.

Today, a collaborative team of state and federal agencies, individuals and non-governmental organizations are working to "re-weave" the fabric of the ancient forest ecosystem - a long term goal that will take decades, if not centuries:

Dan: sound bite

There are three areas of watershed restoration currently underway on the newly acquired Mill Creek Property: Forest Restoration; Hillslope Restoration, and Instream Restoration.

Forest restoration involves thinning the vast plantation forests inherited from the previous industrial timber managers. It also involves growing and planting a diversity of conifer species back in the streamside zones where they are needed the most.

Hillslope restoration consists of unbuilding the roads that were built in order to log most of the basin. Removing old culverts and re-opening stream crossings prevents future catastrophic failures, and restores fish passage. Removing perched fills on steep slopes reduces the liklihood of failure, and restores hillslope hydrologic processes.

The remaining Roads that aren't removed are systematically maintained and upgraded. Eventually a trail system will be fully established to provide ADDITIONAL public access.

Instream restoration seeks to restore the processes and functions to stream channels that have been "cleared of debris" for nearly 70 years. It turns out that this "debris" plays a critical role in making the channel complexity that provides good habitat for fish - especially for coho salmon.

The efforts underway in Mill Creek are an example of an integrated watershed restoration program, taking place on the unified ownership and management of the California State Parks.

With the forests and hill slopes in a state of speeded recovery, and creation of "complex wood jams," in the stream channels the Mill Creek Property will get a rapid start on the path to recovery. We now have the unprecedented opportunity to observe a watershed on its path to recovery.

The next 3 video clips provide a brief overview of each of the restoration programs - an integrated effort to help re-weave the fabric of the ancient forests and streams.

Dan Porter Closing Quote - second growth to old growth