Outlet Creek, located in Mendocino County, California, begins its twenty-plus-mile journey in the north end of Little Lake Valley near the town of Willits. It winds northward along the bottom of steep narrow canyons close to Highway 101 and then heads eastward along two-lane Highway 162, where it becomes a main tributary of the federally designated Wild & Scenic Eel River. The Eel River continues northward over another 100 miles before it joins the Pacific Ocean just south of Humbolt Bay.
The creek is critical habitat for federally listed threatened and endangered species and species of special concern including Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout and Foothill Yellow-legged Frog. Outlet Creek is home to beavers, river otter, western pond turtles and so much more. It hosts the longest spawning migration route of Coho Salmon in the state of California. Sadly, it is also silt and temperature impaired and in great need of protection and restoration.
Friends of Outlet Creek has led successful efforts to stop industrial concrete and asphalt production in the creek’s floodplain and is currently involved in a Clean Water Act Case against owners of an industrial site along the creek. Check out the litigation page to learn more about these efforts.
For the second year in a row Friends of Outlet Creek has teamed up with the Eel River Recovery Project to learn more about the health of our watershed. We’ve organized citizen science efforts to monitor temperature throughout the Outlet Creek basin, and have set up a monitoring station at Willits High School to facilitate students to learn more about the health of their creek.