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Butte Creek supports the largest run of wild, naturally spawned Spring Run Chinook in California
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Colin Stokes

Vic and Kay Simenc

Kathy Garlick & Joe King

Phillip and Judith LaRocca

Dorothy Whitlock

Saving our Foothills-Saving Salmon-Saving our Hometown - Join us to Stop the Sprawl

Stop the Sprawl-Save our Hometown
A watershed is exactly that. a basin where all the water runs off into creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean. Butte Creek’s upper basin drains mostly intact conifer forests, and healthy meadows, with very little development. There are but a few hundred homes, cabins and businesses in Butte Meadows, Jonesville, Stirling City and Forest Ranch that drain to Butte Creek, from over a hundred thousand acres. Magalia, Paradise and the Little Butte Creek watershed represents around 10 % of the watershed and although it was a large urban area it now has less that half of the homes and businesses prior to the Camp Fire. It is still the largest urban contribution to runoff in Butte Creek. Much of the runoff is captured in Paradise and Magalia Reservoirs and treated and used for domestic use by Paradise Irrigation District. The remainder travels more than 10 miles through the low-density developments on Honey Run Road before entering Butte Creek above the Honey Run Covered Bridge Park. The foothills of Butte Creek are dominated by pristine oak and pine woodlands and grasslands used almost exclusively for grazing land. Read more

Salmoncam is Back!

Thanks to a generous donation from a flyfishing friend, the Salmoncam is back up and running 24/7. We are still working on developing the graphics, framing and a donate button but wanted to share the link with our friends now. This is a great reason to make a donation to one of our many causes or just for general purposes. We hope to expand the Salmoncam program to have a couple wildlife cameras and possibly an underwater camera.


Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour - Another Big Success

There are Currents of Hope in the future that will bring great promise to the lives and habitats of the Spring Run Chinook Salmon and Steelhead on Butte Creek. Thank you for all your support through the years and please join our email list. Please consider a donation to FBC.

Our Appraisal fund for the Butte Creek Water Right we are acquiring is still in need of $$ to offset the out of pocket $25,000 we paid for the appraisal.

The big DONATE button to the left will help fund our general support.

Below is the Endowment Fund set up to pay the watermaster fees for the water right in perpetuity.

Appraisal Fund

Endowment Fund

The Michael Smith Salmon Water Endowment Fund

Long-time board member, close friend and fishing compadre, Michael Smith, passed away November 9, 2021. The void in our hearts is vast, but his spirit is filling it with love. He has literally been on this Friends of Butte Creek journey since the day we first met 26 years ago. I know he sits on my shoulder, flies with the eagles and swims with the salmon.

And to ensure his legacy is never forgotten, we have established the MIchael Smith Salmon Water Endowment Fund with the North Valley Community Foundation. This fund will provide the annual costs of maintaining a dedicated instream water right for salmon that Friends of Butte Creek is purchasing. It will also support future stream flow enhancements that we are currently working on. Contributions can be made online, via credit card, through ACH or by check. Should you want to mail a check, the address is: 1811 Concord Avenue, Suite 220, Chico CA 95928. Please make the check out to: Michael Smith Salmon Water Endowment.

Visit North Valley Community Foundation

2021 Final Report on Adult Monitoring - Bad News!

California Department of Fish and Wildlife releases the bad news about the 2021 Phoenix Butte Creek Salmon. Although an estimated 21,580 salmon returned from brood year 2018 (Camp Fire), 19,773 died before spawning due to elevated water temperature and poor water management. We are running out if time, running out of options and the only safe place for Butte Creek Spring Run Salmon is higher in the watershed! It is time to get it done before we start losing entire year classes of these remarkable fish. View the report.... Also read the FBC blog post response from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance here.

Here they come again!!! Spring Run Salmon also Fly!

Fish Flow Forever Fund

Friends of Butte Creek is getting an appraisal of the value of a water right of 5 cubic feet per second (cfs) that is dedicated to Butte Creek from April 15 through October 15 and an additional 1.5 cfs dedicated to the stream the rest of the year. The combined volume of water for fish is over 2000 acre-feet. The appraisal must be completed prior to the transfer of the water right. FBC is responsible for the cost associated with the initial appraisal. all other costs are covered by the grant funds from the California Wildlife Conservation Board. With this in mind we are asking for your help to cover these initial cost. We have established a GoFundMe site for you to donate to help us reach our goal. Read more on the donation page.

The 2021 Return!

2018 was a tough year for Butte Creek and the spring run salmon. Less than 2000 fish were estimated to have spawned successfully. The Camp Fire broke out just as salmon were emerging from the gravel. Massive efforts to protect the creek from toxic runoff most likely helped usher the juveniles out of the canyon and on to the ocean. Now we are seeing the adults return, and return they are. Record numbers have been seen everywhere in the system, from Colusa to the upper reaches above Centerville. We will keep you posted! Follow the Facebook page.

Watch the video: Helltown Pool #1

Butte Creek Water Legacy Falls

We have exciting news on our Wildlife Conservation Board grant for the purchase of a water right dedicated to the creek and its' creatures. The water that was formerly dedicated to agricultural use was no longer needed by the right holder and was transferred to instream flow dedication. We have finished all the apprasial process and will be going into escrow in 2023 to formalize the purchase and transfer to FBC. We have established an Endowment for Butte Creek through the North Valley Community Foundation(see above). We need to raise another $10,000 to guarantee the funds necessary to maintain that right in perpetuity. In addition we are pursuing other opportunities to build upon this success.

Spawning 2020

spawnerOur spring run salmon are doing their thing. Scroll down to see past years' video action. The run is small, but healthy and ready to complete the cycle. The growing bear population is feasting on the carcasses and sharing the nutrients far and wide in the environment. Bear video As this crazyyyyyy year winds down, we complete our annual cycle as well.

Friends of Butte Creek assisted the Butte Creek Canyon Volunteer Fire Company to Skid Unitapply for a grant to upgrade their fire protection equipment and were successful! The California Fire Foundation awarded the Company $15,000 toward the purchase and installation of a Skid Unit Pumper that fits in the department pickup truck. It carries 300 gallons of water and can carry fire fighting foam also. Friends of Butte Creek donated our time to write the grant and added $1000 to the project as a local match. We are proud to help our brave firefighters and the Company!

2019 Salmon Count

The last we heard in September 2019 was that there were probably just over 6000 wild spring run salmon in Butte Creek based on the annual snorkel survey and fish counter data from the spring. California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists do a follow up survey counting spawned out carcasses in late September and through October. The final count: a whopping 15,000 salmon. This represents over 90% of the total Central Valley Spring Run population. Once again, the resiliency of these fish amazes everyone.

OracleWe SAVED OUR TREES Butte County removed nearly 700 trees along Centerville and Honey Run Roads. Surveys by Friends of Butte Creek and two retired arborists found many trees with very little, and in some cases, no damage as a result of the fire. Many trees still had green moss almost to the base, little scarring, and no loss of bark thickness. The Butte County Public Works Department heard from you and the Supervisors and dozens of trees were saved including this Oracle oak on Centerville Road.trees


Interactive Tree Map

Save These Trees

FROM FIRE TO FLOOD. Days after the Camp fire was officailly contained, flash flooding pounded the foothils and lower canyon. Check Facebook for photos.

Butte Creek Canyon Landowners: The Butte County Resource Conservation District is compiling a database for mapping of restoration work. Landowners can send their property information and give permission for crews to perform erosion protection work free of charge. Visit their website at Send in your information as soon as possible.

You can follow the restoration efforts on Facebook at Save Butte Creek Salmon: Stop the Runoff


CAMP FIRE DEVASTATES PARADISE, CONCOW AND BUTTE CREEK more info, pictures and videos as we have time and accurate information. Watch this video from Thursday when the fire first started.

Completely inappropriate creek bank work begins in Butte Creek. See the photos.


As salmon prepare for spawning on Butte Creek, Governor Brown is in a position to sign AB 2528 that will help protect Butte Creek and other salmon strongholds. Click here to go to the CalTrout Action Alert and click here to watch the Wild Salmon Center video on Salmon Strongholds.

Butte Creek Spring Run Salmon are back home. View the recent video. More to come!

The Butte Creek Canyon Overlay was passed by the Butte County Board of Supervisors

Canyon groups have contributed to developing an overlay for Butte Creek Canyon which will help protect the water, wildlife and the beauty of this incredible scenic wonder. You can browse the County website on the Overlay by clicking here. Information workshops were held on June 30, and October 27, 2016 and January 26 and April 27, 2017 in Oroville. The revised overlay has been approved by the Planning Commission. February 27, 2018 the proposed Overlay was presented to the County Supervisors for approval to include this as part of the General Plan, a process that was started eight years ago. The Supervisors approved the Overlay on April 24th.

2018 Salmon are not yet spawning but you can watch the action from 2017 here! Day 1 and 2.


Breaking News

California Department of Fish and Wildlife proposes a minimum instream flow of 120 cfs below Durham Mutual Dam for safe passage for salmon and steelhead. Currently there is no minimum flow and almost every years dozens, and in some cases hundreds of spring run salmon have died before spawning below this dam on their migration to upper Butte Creek. The unusually hard and resistent Lahar rock formation has limited channels with sufficient width and depth for safe passage for the salmon, especially at low water. Water diverters may have to limit their diversions until all fish have moved upstream. The list of priority streams, the Butte Creek flow study and plan, and the Public Resources Code are available at these links.

Priority Streams; Butte Creek Flow Study; Public Resources Code


Above: Durham Mutual Dam and the downstream rock formation

Breaking News: PG&E wants to cut and run on the DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric project, read the article.

PG&E has decided to withdraw their application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the continued operation of the DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project. Essentially they are nullyfying 12 years of work by agencies, NGO's and their own staff, not to mention millions of dollars, and they have put the project on the market. Read the press release. If a buyer is not found PG&E could be forced to decommission the whole project. Meanwhile the deadbeat Centerville Head Dam will continue to block fish passage for no reason.

deadbeat dam

Spring Run Chinook Salmon Symposium
July 26-28, 2016
Chico, CA

Salmonid Restoration Federation and Friends of Butte Creek brought back this Symposium focused on Spring Run Chinook Salmon. The first day was updates and research presentations followed by two days of tours of Butte, Mill, Deer, Clear Creeks.

Click here for more information.

Bears in Butte Creek


Bears appear to have taken a serious toll on the few salmon that made it up to spawn in 2015. Low water and lots of hungry bears made it easy pickings for the bears. Check out the great shots from Suji Roland of a spawning salmon snatched from her redd by the mama bear. Her two cubs were waiting on shore for lunch. We will be creating a wildlife page to share all the great pictures that Friends have been taking. Enjoy this visit on the creek.

poolThe new camera is online. The spring run salmon are home.  YOU CAN SPAWNSOR THE LIVE CAMERA FEED.Your name, your business or your dedication will be featured on the salmoncam web page.

Please contact us to find out how you can help keep the beauty of Butte Creek live on the internet and share with your friends this beautiful place we live! Thanks to Michael Smith for this incredible photo taken May 7.

Butte Creek Spring Run Salmon Run Counts

Spawn 2022 -No info yet. Snorkel Count 2500

Spawn 2021 carcass survey 21,500, pre-sapwn mortality 19,773 or 92% of the run

Spawn 2020 - Snorkel 1500

Spawn 2019 - Snorkel 6200, Carcass 14,900

Spawn 2018- Snorkel 2118

Spawn 2017 - Snorkel 980, Carcass 500

Spawn 2016 - Snorkel 4,450, Carcass 5,317

Spawn 2015 - Vaki camera est. 1,939, Snorkel 1,081, Carcass 413

Spawn 2014 - 4,894

Spawn 2013 - 15,866

Spawn 2012 - 17,000

Spawn 2011 - 4,500

Spawn 2010 - 1,979


The 2014 Spring Run Salmon are back. Low water may have triggered an early return. And then came the rain! The creek is in remarkably good condition with good flows for the juveniles heading to the ocean and adults returning home to entertain the creatures of the Canyon. Otters are happy and enjoying wild salmon sashimi regularly. View the Salmoncam and check out the action. Sponsors needed!

2012 Fish Spawned in Record Numbers!

We had a spectacular run with a final estimate at just under 17,000 salmon. This is in the top 4 years of recent records. Spawning began earlier than usual. Contact us for a 2013 Spring Run Salmon Tour. More videos including underwater action are located on the video page.