Bear Creek Meadow Restoration Project
-- A StreamWise Project
Although no Shasta crayfish are found in Bear Creek, Shasta crayfish in the upper Fall River have been negatively impacted by sediment transported from Bear Creek, which is the only major surface water tributary to Fall River. In 1960, Bear Creek was channelized in its lower meadow, just above its confluence with the Fall River. Following the channelization, it cut deeply into its alluvial meadow soils and began to erode laterally. Over the course of the following 40 years, erosion through Bear Creek Meadow produced and transported over 200,000 cubic yards of sediment out of the meadow and into Fall River.
By the early 1990s there were only four isolated subpopulations of Shasta crayfish remaining in the mainstem Fall River downstream of Thousand Springs. These Shasta crayfish populations were located in areas where lava cobble and boulder substrate was available and unembedded. The large amount of sediment introduced by erosion in Bear Creek Meadow and the continued threat of elevated sediment delivery from this source made the geomorphic restoration of Bear Creek Meadow a priority-one task in the Recovery Plan for the Shasta crayfish.