Lassen Creek Stream and Meadow Restoration

Northeast Region

Lassen Creek Stream and Meadow Restoration


Overview of Lassen Creek meadow, Spring 2008

Watershed: Lassen Creek, Goose Lake Basin, Modoc County

Project Sponsor: Goose Lake Resource Conservation District

Time Frame: 2003–2006

Funding: $300,000 (Federal 319 NPS)

Project Objectives:

  • Reduce channel erosion
  • Restore floodplain function
  • Improve fish passage and habitat
  • Increase summer base flow
  • Improve livestock and wildlife forage

A 1-mile, privately owned meadow reach on Lassen Creek (tributary to Goose Lake) was affected by severe channel erosion and entrenchment, causing problems for red-band trout habitat, loss of floodplain function during high flows, and progressive drying and vegetation change on the adjacent meadow (grass to sagebrush). The problems started from 1960s channelization work and continued to evolve from years of summer-long, intensive grazing in the meadow. Under the direction of the Goose Lake RCD and their consultant (StreamWise), the project was designed and implemented using a geomorphic approach known as pond and plug. This approach, which has been used extensively to treat entrenched channel problems in the Upper Feather River Watershed, uses earth fill to plug and eliminate the existing gullied stream channel and redirects the flow to remnant stream channels on the surface of the meadow. Soil for filling the gully is acquired by excavating a number of on-site ponds. The end result is a streambed and channel with a much reduced cross-section area (compared to the treated gullied channel) that annually spreads winter and spring high flows onto the floodplain and recharges meadow hydrology that supports more robust forage growth and augments dry season baseflow in the stream. Grazing management was made part of the project that included fencing and off-site water to control livestock access. Construction work was completed in fall 2005 and subsequent inspection in spring 2006 found there was need for some follow-up maintenance and modification. With funding assistance from DFG, this work was completed in 2006 and stream conditions have continued on an improving trend since that time.


Lassen Creek erosion, summer 2003 (pre-project)


Lassen Creek erosion, summer 2003 (pre-project)


Post project Lassen Creek channel (spring 2008)


Newly constructed ponds and Lassen Creek channel