The Smith River Alliance Newsletter
Watershed Newsletter | Fall 2016

Hurdygurdy Creek Protection Complete!

This is a true milestone in the protection of the Smith River watershed — 10 years in the making! SRA transferred the final 852 acres into the Smith River NRA (SRNRA) in late July.

The project included approximately 5,500 acres of the Hurdygurdy Creek, Little Jones Creek and Siskiyou Fork watersheds owned by the Agnew family since the 1950’s. Success required a coordinated team effort and enormous dedication and help from many of you. The now protected land contains over 9.5 miles of perennial streams and riparian corridors and many more miles of intermittent streams.

Hurdygurdy Creek is recognized as one of the most productive salmon streams within the SRNRA. With the completion of the Hurdygurdy Creek purchase and transfer into the SRNRA, SRA has protected the last remaining large private inholding within the 460+ square mile SRNRA and we have guaranteed public access in perpetuity for hunting, fishing, hiking, nature watching, and other recreational activities. Special thanks to the Agnew family for working with us, the Forest Service staff —- and to the donors who supported our work.

North Fork Smith Mining Update

Our Del Norte community is very much in synch about opposing the strip mining and protecting their drinking water source —- and they turned out to listen to Congressmen Peter DeFazio and Jared Huffman in late October pledge to work hard to persuade the administration to put in place the temporary mineral withdrawal.

It’s difficult to go against the 1872 Mining Law, but we have an extraordinary cross-border coalition, excellent leadership from OR and CA Congressional representatives, and our community is standing strong in opposition to upstream strip mining in the headwaters of the Smith River.

We have the support and participation of Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, Crescent City Council, every local water agency in the county, the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce (representing 370+ businesses), CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, N. Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, a Joint-Resolution to Protect the Smith River passed by the CA Senate and Assembly, and of course the partnership and help from dozens of non-government organizations.

To learn more about why the risk is too great (think drinking water and healthy salmon runs) to allow strip mining in the headwaters of the Smith — please see Cal Trout’s video, Eternally Wild, about the Smith River and the strip mine threat.

Smith Estuary Restoration Project is Launched

In September SRA hired watershed scientist Marisa Parish to lead and advance restoration projects across the basin. Marisa has been working in the watershed for several years and recently completed her M.S. thesis through HSU titled “Beaver bank lodge use, distribution, and influence on salmonid rearing habitat in the coastal plain of the Smith River.” A major focus for Marisa will be the Smith River Estuary Restoration Project which is a partnership project involving the Del Norte Resource Conservation District and private landowners. Special thanks to the State Coastal Conservancy for their grant in support of this project. The estuary is the nursery for salmonids and many aquatic species.

Rock Creek Ranch New Faces!

Jason Smith-Vidaurre was hired in October to serve as the Rock Creek Ranch Caretaker. He has a background in engineering, construction, and alternative energy design and installation experience. His partner Brittany Rymer is the Food Program Director for Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands and she has a background in sustainable agriculture and food systems. A warm welcome to both Jason and Brittany!

Annual Smith River Clean-Up

This has become a signature project for SRA over the last decade and it has been very exciting to see strong volunteer support and new partners joining with us to clean-up illegal dumping on our public and riverside lands.

2016 was a banner year for our clean-up effort. 5180 pounds of trash, three vehicles, and a travel trailer were recovered and recycled!

Special thanks to our sponsors/partners including the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority, Del Norte Resource Advisory Committee, Home Depot, Kokatat, Rumiano Cheese, Tidewater Contractors, Curry Transfer + Recycling, HSU’s Waste Reduction & Resource Awareness Program, the Trash Dogs, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Smith River NRA Collaborative Launched

SRA has teamed up with nine motivated stakeholder entities and Six Rivers National Forest to launch a “Collaborative” initiative to advance habitat restoration, fuels treatment, and other projects across the National Recreation Area.

Help us Protect the Smith

"Protecting land and water, restoring habitat, and stewarding the Smith River for future generations."
Photo: Thomas Dunklin

Communities Stand Strong Against Strip Mining

Read some of the press and letters submitted in support of the proposed mineral withdrawal.
Learn more

Experience the Smith

Clear waters, old-growth forests, salmon and bears... get to know the world famous Smith River and see where we work. Learn more.