The Nature Conservancy’s protection of the 4,543-acre Shasta Big Springs Ranch offers tremendous potential for re-establishing bountiful salmon populations in the Klamath basin.
The Shasta Big Springs Ranch contains the source of large cold-water springs that support over 80% of the coho salmon found rearing in the Shasta River.
A UC Davis scientist conducts salmon research in the chilly Shasta River. The Shasta Big Springs Ranch, located about 20 miles north of the town of Mt. Shasta, contains both the Shasta River and Big Springs Creek.
Salmon return to spawn in the Shasta River, which runs through The Nature Conservancy's Shasta Big Springs Ranch before spilling into the Klamath.
Despite the rapid loss of glaciers in the western United States, the glaciers atop Mt. Shasta actually are increasing in size. It’s estimated that they’ve grown 50% over the last 50 years.
As other streams in the state begin to warm and become less suitable for salmon, the aquifers on Mt. Shasta that feed into the Shasta River will remain cold in the summer and relatively warm in the winter, buying us time to develop climate change adaptation strategies.
The Klamath River was once the third most productive salmon river on the Pacific Coast of the continental United States.
The Conservancy will be collaborating with scientists from UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences, California’s Department of Fish and Game and California Trout to create efficient water-use methods that will support both ranching and the recovery of salmon.
The large cold-water springs of Shasta Big Springs Ranch support over 80% of the coho salmon found rearing in the Shasta River. Protecting this ranch is a major step toward restoring salmon habitat in California.