Upcoming events focusing on river and forest health in Willits (press release)

Upcoming opportunities to get involved with river and forest health.

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WILLITS, CA., 6/07/17 — Want to know more about the health of your local river? The Eel River Recovery Project is officially set up at the new Willits Hub, and they’re organizing a series of free events to assist residents who want to get involved in monitoring the health of regional rivers and forests. The first event will be a Outlet Creek monitoring event, that takes place this Sunday, June 11. The van will leave at 10am, but you can come to the Hub at 9am to meet the core monitoring group and learn about their progress. If you missed the first one, here’s a chance to go again (repeat attendees are also welcome)!

Lyn Talkovsky and Kirk Lumpkin assist with Long Valley Creek monitoring on May 30. Photo by Pat Higgins:ERRP
Lyn Talkovsky and Kirk Lumpkin assist with Long Valley Creek monitoring on May 30. Photo by Pat Higgins:ERRP

The event will involve a guided tour of the water temperature gauges installed throughout the creek, which help monitors regularly assess the health of the creek and its many wildlife inhabits, such as steelhead trout and spawning Pacific lampreys. Nine spots are available in the “Willits Goes Wild” van and the info to register is below. You’re invited to bring your swim suit and go for a dip!

On Saturday June 17 an outing focused on forest health will begin at 9 am at the Willits Hub, entitled “What has Forest Health got to do with Coho Salmon?” The group will go to the headwater tributaries of the South Fork Eel River near Branscomb.

More info on both events are available on the ERRP’s website and their Facebook page, where you can also find upcoming events — like a pikeminnow dive in Standish Hickey at the end of June, plus lots of cool videos of salmon spawning and other local wildlife, informational resources, and much more.

Here’s the full press release, with all the details:

The Eel River Recovery Project and Friends of Outlet Creek are holding another citizen monitoring event that welcomes public participation on Sunday June 11.  A field trip will depart at 10 AM from the Willits Hub at 630 S Main Street two blocks north of Highway 20. ERRP and FOC have been placing water temperature gauges all over the Outlet Creek watershed and citizens will take a guided tour of select sites.

The idea behind the monitoring project is to check the ecological status of Outlet Creek and its tributaries and the first visits have found most sites to be cold, with steelhead trout present and signs of spawning Pacific lamprey everywhere.

At each site, canopy conditions, the size of stream bed materials, aquatic insect diversity and the quality of fish habitat are all noted. Photopoints taken in an upstream and downstream direction are useful for showing changes over seasons but may also be used to show changes over longer time periods.

ERRP and FOC believe that citizens will work harder to maintain and restore Outlet Creek and the Eel River, if they learn more about them and get exposed to their beauty.

The Willits Goes Wild van can accommodate up to nine passengers and there is no charge for participation in field trips.  Those interested in attending should be at the Willits Hub before 10 AM and should dress for the weather and bring a lunch and water. For more information about joining the field trip, call Robin at 459-0155.  If you want to invite ERRP to monitor your stream, call Pat Higgins at (707) 223-7200.

A forest health field trip is scheduled for departure from the Willits Hub on Saturday June 17 at 9 AM with the destination being headwater tributaries of the South Fork Eel River near Branscomb.  The theme is “What has Forest Health got to do with Coho Salmon?” See ERRP Facebook and website for more details.

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