Our Work

Our Work

Salt River Ecosystem Restoration

Salt River Ecosystem Restoration

The Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project is located in Humboldt County, near the City of Ferndale. This watershed-based, ecosystem-scale project is designed to restore ecological and hydraulic functions in the Salt River watershed. The objectives of the project are to restore and enhance habitat, support the recovery of special-status species, improve water quality, alleviate flood risks, and sequester carbon.

H. T. Harvey & Associates provided restoration design and planning services for 7.7 miles of the Salt River channel and more than 400 acres of tidal salt marsh on Riverside Ranch. We assisted the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District as a subcontractor.

Our work for this project reestablished a free-flowing channel that is connected hydrologically to its floodplain. The channel design concept focused on:

  • restoring hydraulic capacity, fish habitat, and water quality in lower Salt River and lower Francis Creek;
  • benefiting native species by reestablishing natural ecological processes;
  • improving drainage, fish passage, and water quality by restoring hydraulic function;
  • addressing challenges associated with sediment sources in headwater areas of the watershed;
  • restoring wetland and salt marsh habitat in the lower Salt River; and
  • increasing the tidal prism (the volume of water exchanged on each tidal cycle) into the Salt River, as well as the extent of estuarine habitat, through restoration on Riverside Ranch

Our landscape architects, restoration ecologists, and fish ecologists assisted the project engineers in all aspects of this project, from planning and design to permitting and implementation. 

H. T. Harvey & Associates restoration ecologists began the Riverside Ranch Conceptual Restoration Plan in 2008. Our team mapped and identified many plants and habitats in the field, and also used aerial photos to assist in the restoration design. The project engineers’ plans changed substantially throughout the project, creating a particularly complex design challenge. Working closely with the engineers, we surmounted the challenge and prescribed successful planting designs for riparian, wetland, and salt marsh habitat.

Coho salmon and tidewater goby are federally listed fish species that were identified and documented in the project area during the design phase. Our team of fisheries ecologists conducted field sampling, identified habitats where Coho salmon and gobies occur, and assisted engineers in changing the restoration design to minimize impacts on these species and support their recovery.
 
We produced numerous documents for the Salt River Ecological Restoration Project, including its Adaptive Management Plan, Rare Plant Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (MMP), and Habitat MMP. This regionally important restoration project was in planning stages for ten years, and we are pleased to be part of the team that is seeing it through to completion. 
 
Our ecologists prepared applications for the following permits for the Salt River Ecological Restoration Project:
 
  • Federal and California Endangered Species Act Biological Assessments and permits issued under Section 2081 of the California Fish and Game Code
  • Clean Water Act Section 401 certification from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the Coastal Commission
The CDP posed a unique challenge in that agricultural land conversion was an important issue for this project. H. T. Harvey & Associates regulatory specialists were able to provide the Coastal Commission with information sufficient to allow the Commission to approve the CDP.

 

Coho salmon and tidewater goby are federally listed fish species that were identified and documented in the project area during the design phase. Our team of fisheries ecologists conducted field sampling, identified habitats where Coho salmon and gobies occur, and assisted engineers in changing the restoration design to minimize impacts on these species and support their recovery.

We produced numerous documents for the Salt River Ecological Restoration Project, including its Adaptive Management Plan, Rare Plant Plan, and Habitat Mitigation and Monitoring Plan. This regionally important restoration project was in planning stages for ten years, and we are pleased to be part of the team that is seeing it through to completion. 

Our team of botanists, ecologists, and wetland specialists prepared applications for the following permits for the Salt River Ecological Restoration Project:

  • Federal and California Endangered Species Act Biological Assessments and permits issued under Section 2081 of the California Fish and Game Code
  • Clean Water Act Section 401 certification from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the Coastal Commission

The CDP posed a unique challenge in that agricultural land conversion was an important issue for this project. H. T. Harvey & Associates regulatory specialists were able to provide the Coastal Commission with information sufficient to allow the Commission to approve the CDP.