Degraded Riparian Area in Stones Valley

This photo shows willows along a stream in Stones Valley in the Klamath National Forest’s Marble Mountain Wilderness. Stones Valley’s wet meadows are one of the headwaters of Grider Creek, a key salmon stream which enters the Klamath River near the town of Seiad Valley. To get to the tender grass along headwater streams, cattle push into stream-side willows and alders breaking branches and trampling streambanks. As a result, sediment is deposited in the stream’s bed and the water’s temperature rises because shade is removed. When cattle are not moved regularly and rotated among a grazing allotment’s pastures, sediment and temperature pollution accelerate causing problems downstream. In this case, poor grazing management contributes to fish disease epidemics which are killing juvenile salmon and other cold water fishes downstream in the Klamath River.

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