Exciting moments as water flows into restored Prairie Creek

Site visit shows amazing progress on floodplain restoration

Prairie Creek restoration
This photos offers a good view of the newly restored section of Prairie Creek. The biodegradable netting that is visible along the banks is to hold the shoreline in place while native plants grow. It also helps prevent non-native plants from coming in.

The first thing you realize when you visit the Prairie Creek restoration project is the sheer scale of it. For someone like me who had only seen the project through photographs and maps and artist renderings, it was shocking to see how much land is being restored to nature. It might take 30 minutes to cross from one end to the other on foot.

Here’s a quick refresher: The Prairie Creek restoration is park of a larger project where Save the Redwoods League and a number of partners are returning this giant asphalt lot—which is the remnant of a large redwood mill on the site—to nature, with an extensive restoration of Prairie Creek and adjacent floodplains as well as the creation of new visitor amenities and trail access to nearby old-growth groves within Redwood National and State Parks and Yurok ancestral lands. Work will continue through 2025. 

Key partners on the project include the Yurok Tribe Construction Corporation and Fisheries Program, California Trout, Redwood National and State Parks, California State Coastal Conservancy, NOAA Fisheries, and more. 

Last week was a great time to visit, as crews from the Yurok Construction Corporation and Fisheries Program were reconnecting to the main flow a 1,000-foot section of the creek that they had spent the last several months restoring. Now fish can make full use of the new habitat. A lot of the partners were on-site to witness the occasion, including Rep. Jared Huffman, whose 2nd District includes the project site.

Probably best to let the pictures tell the story:

prairie creek restoration yurok crews
The crew from the Yurok Construction Corporation work on the creek bank.
Matt Williams Yurok Construct Corp.
Here’s the man who makes it happen on the Prairie Creek restoration site. Matt Williams is the project lead for the Yurok Tribe Construction Corporation, and he oversees the work crews. In the foreground is Steve Mietz, superintendent of Redwood National and State Parks.


Jared Huffman prairie creek restoration
Last Thursday’s site visit included Rep. Jared Huffman, (foreground, center) whose district includes the former mill site. Left, Mary Burke, north coast program coordinator for California Trout. Right, Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League.


Aaron Martin Yurok fisheries prairie creek
Aaron Martin of the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program guides the removal of the temporary dam blocking Prairie Creek while crews completed the restoration.


Jessica Carter Spencer Stiff.
The League’s Jessica Carter, left, and Spencer Stiff, right, survey the restored creekbed.


About the author

Garrison Frost joined Save the Redwoods League in 2019 as its Director of Communications.

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