A tributary to Dry Creek and the Russian River, Grape Creek flows west of the city of Healdsburg. The Grape Creek system drains a basin of approximately 3.2 square miles and includes 2.9 miles of USGS blue-line streams. Elevations in the watershed range from 900 feet at the headwaters to approximately 80 feet at the Dry Creek confluence. As in other Coho Partnership focus watersheds, flow within the system varies seasonally and ranges from continuous perennial flows to disconnected pools when surface flows decrease in the summer and fall months.
Currently, all land in the Grape Creek watershed is privately owned, with a significant portion being used for vineyard cultivation. The majority of the natural vegetation occurs in the upper portion of the watershed as mixed conifer, hardwood, and chaparral forest.
Historically, Grape Creek supported a thriving population of coho salmon. However, surveys conducted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service (in 1998 and 2007, respectively) confirmed the presence of only steelhead adults, juveniles, and redds (gravel nests where salmonids lay their eggs). In 2010, the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program reintroduced hatchery coho into the Grape Creek system.
Grape Creek is classified as a Phase I expansion area for coho salmon recovery in the NMFS Recovery Plan, 2010 and was named on the National Fish Habitat Partnership’s 2013 Waters to Watch list. Over the last 10 years the Coho Partnership, among other entities, have been working to reduce the impact of dry season water diversions while increasing long-term water reliability in the Grape Creek watershed.
The Coho Partnership works with landowners within the Grape Creek watershed to identify and remediate barriers impeding salmonid passage and streamflow, among other water storage projects.
For more information, see Grape Creek Streamflow Improvement Plan or Dry Creek District Watershed on the Sonoma RCD website.
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