Salmonid Restoration Federation

Confab Tours and Workshops


The Coho Confab opened Friday evening, August 25, with a community dinner and inspiring orientation presentations. Nathan Queener of Mattole Salmon Group presented 40 Years of Monitoring Anadromous Fish in the Mattole: What Have We Learned?.  Tasha Mckee, Water Project Director of Sanctuary Forest followed with Evolution of Streamflow Projects in the Mattole Headwaters, and Richard Sykes of the Mattole Salmon Group (or MSG’s Board President) gave a retrospective presentation on Mattole restoration over the decades.Richard Sykes of the Mattole Salmon Group (or MSG’s Board President) gave a retrospective presentation on Mattole restoration over the decades.

Saturday Tours:

An Exploration of Mattole Restoration, 1983-2023!
Participants will have an opportunity to tour Mattole Restoration Council’s Native Plant Nursery as well as the Mill Creek Forest with an optional old-growth hike. We will then return to the retreat center to learn about the creation of the Mattole Resilience, Education, and Research Center Project and dive into some of the archives of visionary MRC founder, Freeman House (author of Totem Salmon) and other important figures and transition in the evolution of Mattole River Restoration. If you are in the mood for a Mattole meander, this is the tour for you.
Fewer Trees on the Ridges, More Trees in the Creek: Combining Fuels Reduction and Instream Wood Placement Across Public and Private Land in the Middle Mattole River
Tour Coordinators: Nathan Queener, Mattole Salmon Group, and Hugh McGee, Native Ecosystems

This exciting tour will visit Stansberry Ranch / Bureau of Land Management shaded fuel breaks to see helicopter instream wood loading projects. This tour will explore restoration in Four Mile Creek. Unique features of this tour include: collaboration on both public and private lands; placing wood from upslope fuels reduction work instream; challenging logistics of working in stream with no road access; special considerations doing instream work in watersheds with high sediment supply, and more. This tour will require hiking and AWD vehicles. Please add (AWD # Passengers) after your name if you have an AWD vehicle and are willing to drive on this tour.
Lower Mattole River and Estuary
This tour focuses on the lower Mattole River and estuary to view and discuss past, present and future projects to improve conditions for salmonids. The tour will include visits to Mattole Estuary and Slough, Lower Bear Creek and McGinnis Creek. This will include examples of floodplain restoration, slough rehabilitation and reconnection, large wood structure installation, and a proposed stream restoration-reconnection project. The tour will be provided by staff from the Mattole Salmon Group, Mattole Restoration Council, and the US Bureau of Land Management.
This tour will also have an optional hands-on component to weave willow branches to a triangle of wood and then floating it out into the deeper water and tying it in place so it does not float away in order to provide shade and cover for salmonids.


Saturday Evening Open Forum:

The Saturday evening open forum will focus on Low-Tech Process Based Restoration: Beavers, BDAs, Forest Thinning to Flows which will be facilitated by Brock Dolman of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.

Sunday Tours:

Evolution of Streamflow Projects in the Mattole Headwaters
For over 21 years, Sanctuary Forest has pioneered flow enhancement strategies in response to low flows in the Mattole. SFI’s will share their journey from storage and forbearance, to groundwater recharge projects and most recently, streamflow augmentation ponds with metered delivery for the lowest flow months. We look forward to discussing these approaches and touring pilot projects – instream groundwater recharge projects that compare beaver dam analogs with  log weirs and use of subsurface clay restrictive barriers to slow the subsurface flow. We will also discuss the need for upslope water sources and tour upslope groundwater recharge projects and upslope flow augmentation ponds. Project outcomes, lessons learned and the evolving science underlying the projects will be discussed, within the context of restoring salmonid rearing habitat. 
Bull Creek Hamilton Reach Instream and Floodplain Habitat Restoration in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
This tour will be at Humboldt Redwoods State Park and will visit the Hamilton Reach where Cal Trout and State Parks have instream and floodplain restoration projects. The tour will also visit Grasshopper Creek which is close to Hamilton in the Talls Tree Grove of Rockefeller Redwoods. Here we will see some excellent examples of old growth log jams formed after the stream was cleaned in the late 1980s and the CCCs placed log weirs in the creek. Participants will see amazing comparisons between long profiles, XSs, and large wood data from 1997-2001 and the last two years. We also have some good data on the architecture of old growth log jams that should inspire some good conversations. The site tells the story of impact and natural recovery in an old growth creek. The data also tell the story of channel incision and how the channel and log jams adjust. 
Three Critical Road Crossing Upgrades for Fish Passage — and Lost Opportunities for Habitat Improvement and Riparian Stability
Field Tour Coordinators: Richard Gienger (Founder of the Confab), Bill Eastwood and Harry Vaughn, Eel River Watershed Improvement Group
Participants will visit a Coho stream reach in Briceland in a section of Dinner Creek (a tributary to the South Fork Eel) where there were road-stream crossing replacements near Briceland Road to address fish passage but without the habitat improvements that could have been accomplished. Significant adverse stability impacts are continuing.  At least one very significant large pool was lost, and other pool formation and spawning habitat improvements opportunities were lost that could, and should, have been integral to the project(s).  This short tour offers Important lessons for future crossing replacement projects. If time and interest permits, this tour may be paired with Eel River Watershed Improvement Group restoration projects / Marshall Ranch flow augmentation project that is under construction this summer in Redwood Creek.