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Upper Sacramento River Watershed

The Sacramento River is the largest river in the state of California. Its headwaters originate on Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy. The upper Sacramento River is approximately 40 miles long stretching from Box Canyon Dam to Shasta Lake, dropping nearly 2000 feet on its journey down the canyon.

The river's average temperature ranges from 48 degrees near Box Canyon to 68 degrees as it reaches Shasta Lake. Some of the tributaries that flow into the Upper Sacramento River are: Ney Springs Creek, Castle Creek, Soda Creek, Flume Creek, Hazel Creek, Shotgun Creek, Slate Creek, Dog Creek and Middle Dog Creek. As the tributaries flow into the river, they increase its size to four times larger than when it started at Box Canyon.

The Box Canyon Dam was built in 1969 and holds 430 surface acres of water. The Shasta Dam was built in 1945 and holds 29,500 surface acres of water. The flow of the river near Castle Crags in the spring and summer seasons is approximately 100-200 CFS, and down near the delta watershed, the flow is approximately 200-300 CFS.

There are several beautiful waterfalls and springs along the river in the Dunsmuir area. These include: Mossbrae Falls, Hedge Creek Falls, Shasta Springs and Cave Springs all of which are near Tauhindauli Park.

The upper Sacramento River is home to over 13 species of fish, 75 species of mammals, 200 species of plants, 150 species of birds, 31 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 aquatic insects. The following species that you would most likely find are:

FISH- Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Riffle Sculpin.

MAMMALS- River Otter, Striped Skunk, Raccoon, Gray Fox, Black-Tailed Deer, Mink, and Black Bear.

BIRDS- American Dipper, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Merganser and Bald Eagle.

AMPHIBIANS- Red-Legged Frog, Pacific Giant Salamander, California Newt and Pacific Tree Frog.

REPTILES- Western Fence Lizard, California Mountain King Snake, Aquatic Garter Snake, Western Skink and Gopher Snake.

AQUATIC INSECTS-Stonefly, Mayfly, Caddisfly, Dragonfly, Waterstrider and Hellgrammite.

NATIVE PLANTS-Western Azalea, Indian Rhubarb, Horsetail, White Alder, Black Cottonwood and Willow.

On July 14, 1991, a train carrying a chemical called Metam Sodium (a soil fumigant) derailed approximately 4 miles North of Dunsmuir at Cantara Loop. This chemical killed all aquatic organisms and damaged up to 80 acres of vegetation. With funding from Southern Pacific Railroad after the accident, the Department of Fish and Game formed the Cantara Trustee Council. Along with these funds and programs of organizations like the Upper Sacramento River Exchange, area watershed projects and local school students, recovery and restoration programs have been conducted resulting in the near recovery of the trout population. Other species and all vegetation are recovering at a slower rate, but the health of the river has been restored and the community shares an ongoing respect and concern for our watershed.

Upper Sacramento River Exchange

Cantara Trustee Council


©copyright 2001 Dunsmuir Garden Club**3rdrck3/09