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Ash Creek Wildlife Area

Description

Ash Creek is one of the most remote, least improved, and most pristine of all of CDFW's Wildlife Areas. Located in the heart of Big Valley, these approximately 14,400 acres preserve freshwater wetlands created by the seasonal flow of six streams, including Ash Creek. In addition to 3,000 acres of natural wetlands, other natural communities include vernal pools and upland sagebrush. Among the mammals seen here are pronghorn antelope, beaver, and bobcat. Bird species include numerous waterfowl species, sandhill cranes, falcons, sage grouse, short-eared owls, and bald eagles.

For more information, call the area at (530) 294-5824 or the Northern Region Redding office at (530) 225-2300.


Recreational Opportunities

fishing Waterfowl Hunting Pheasant Hunting camping Restrooms ildlife Viewing Wildlife Viewing Information Kiosk or Visitor Center

PLEASE NOTE: For information on public use regulations for this area and other Department lands, refer to the link opens in new windowCDFW Public Lands Regulations. All visitors are responsible for knowing and following these regulations.

Activities: fishing, hunting, camping, wildlife viewing, hiking, and birdwatching

Facilities: restrooms, informational kiosk

link opens in new windowAsh Creek Birding Checklist (PDF)

Hunting Opportunities

Type B Wildlife Area - Restricted hunter access during waterfowl season. A Type A or Type B season hunting pass must be purchased in advance and presented for an entry permit.

Waterfowl, coots, moorhens, doves, snipe, and pheasants may be present. Pronghorn antelope may be taken during junior hunts only.

ATTENTION WATERFOWL HUNTERS: August 2015 update: The 285 acres of wetlands that were re-leveled and re-contoured in 2014 have produced excellent stands of swamp timothy and smartweed. Tule patches are coming in and will provide additional cover in the coming years. These projects have increased the total managed wetland acreage by 30%, improved water conservation and provide additional hunting opportunities. The CWA ponds were restored this summer increasing the pond sizes and improved water conservation. Vegetation will be limited in these ponds for the 2015/2016 waterfowl season.

Surface water is limited due to the drought for fall flood up but all the deep wells are currently running to provide as much habitat as possible. Most of the deep water ponds in the restoration area still have some water left in them.

The deep water ponds (link opens in new windowmap available) that were excavated during the restoration project vary in size from less than 1 acre to several acres. Early in the waterfowl season these new ponds are dependent on ground water and surface flows to fill. When completely full, they will average in depth from 4-7 feet and the side slopes entering the ponds may be steep in some areas. The use of a retrieving dog is highly recommended.

Elkins Lane is open at this time but subject to closure when road becomes flooded.

Due to changing water conditions, please contact the wildlife area at (530) 294-5824 for current conditions.

Area History

Big Valley is a farming region with major emphasis on the production of alfalfa, native meadow hay, cereal grains, and livestock. Cereal grains were raised in greater acreages in the past. Agricultural use began by 1900, and since then the land has been managed similarly to other lands in Big Valley. These practices were mostly compatible with wildlife.

In the 1980s, livestock grazing was dramatically increased on the former ranch and plans were developed to drain and farm the tule marsh. The planned activities would be extremely detrimental to the wetlands and associated wildlife. Fortunately, the land was purchased by the Department. The property was designated as a wildlife area by the Fish and Game Commission in 1986.

Restoration Projects

NOVEMBER 2014 RESTORATION UPDATE

The Ash Creek Wildlife Area has undergone a major 3,485 acre wetland restoration project. Phase 1 and Phase 2 (east of Elkins Ln.) are completed. Phase 3 is currently under construction on the east end of the wildlife area towards the town of Adin. This project will result in improved stream channel conditions, cooler water temperatures and improve angling opportunities. This project is necessary because Ash Creek and its associated floodplain were degraded due to channel incision and flood flows rarely accessing the floodplain. The degradation caused the wet meadow vegetation to be replaced with upland grassland and sagebrush type habitats. A proven restoration technique known as "pond and plug" was used to restore the natural form and function of the stream channels and floodplain. Approximately 80 "ponds" were excavated creating 150 acres of additional wetlands. The excavated material was then be used to "plug" the incised channels.

In addition to the wetland restoration project, a new pipeline has been installed on the north side west of Elkins Ln. and new well has been completed to provide additional water for early fall flood up.

Thank you for your patience during this important project. For further information, contact the Ash Creek Wildlife Area at (530) 294-5824 or Jim Chakarun at (530) 527-8917.


Last update : 2/15/2017 4:11:45 PM


Wildlife Branch - Lands Program
1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 445-0411


Map of Ash Creek WA - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge

Location

Northern Region (Region 1)

Lassen and Modoc Counties

Highway 299, 4 miles northeast of Bieber

Access: From Highway 299 at the town of Bieber take Bieber Lookout Road north; from Highway 299 at the town of Adin take Lookout Road west.

CDFW Lands Viewer