California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act
(Coho HELP Act)

Program in Action!

Scott River Watershed - This eroding stream bank was graded and re-enforced with rock, trees with wads and eventual planting of native trees and plants. Root wads protruding into the river are creating scour pools which increase depth and space for fish to rest and forage.

BEFORE:

Stream with steap muddy bank

AFTER (before planting):

stream with gradual bank and submerged tree roots

In July 2014, the SF Garcia River was enhanced with wood using the accelerated recruitment method. This method, used on remote timber company land, carefully chooses trees to fell directly into the stream which provide instant cover for rearing young fish, and accumulate additional wood during high flows.

BEFORE:

stream with no obstructions

AFTER:

stream with tree trunks lying across

In the Shasta Watershed, culvert removal and stream bed restoration will greatly improve fish passage, allowing four miles of year-round fish passage. Will be completed in October, 2014.

BEFORE:

stream with cement culvert

This lower Klamath tributary will be enhanced with log jams, trees with root wads and tree plantings, which will increase stream complexity and provide protection for young fish. Young salmon from throughout the Klamath watershed rely on these lower streams for additional rearing and growth before continuing their migration to the ocean. Will be completed October, 2014.

BEFORE:

open stream

Fish and Game Code Section 6950 et seq.

On January 1, 2013, the Coho Salmon Habitat Enhancement Leading to Preservation Act, or Coho HELP Act, went into effect.  The Coho HELP Act allows persons, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations to request approval from CDFW for a “coho salmon habitat enhancement project,” defined as a restoration project in a region described in an adopted state or federal coho salmon recovery plan with the primary purpose of accomplishing one or more of the following:

  • The removal of a road crossing and/or the replacement of a culvert either of which prevents, impedes, or tends to prevent or impede the passing of fish up and down stream.
  • The restoration of eroded or denuded streambanks using predominantly nonrock bioengineering practices and revegetating stream corridors with native riparian species focused on promoting tree establishment along the active channel and on streambanks for the purposes of bank stabilization, bank development, and live wood complexity.
  • Wood placement that benefits naturally reproducing fish stocks by creating or enhancing fish habitat and/or increasing stream complexity.

If CDFW approves a project under the act, the project proponent does not need to obtain any CDFW permit, license, or approval for the project, including, but not limited to, an incidental take permit under the California Endangered Species Act (Fish & G. Code, § 2050 et seq.) and a lake or streambed alteration agreement under Fish and Game Code section 1600 et seq.

To request CDFW approval of a project under the act, the project proponent must submit to CDFW a Coho HELP Act Project Request Application (DFW 739) in accordance with the instructions to complete the form, and the applicable project fee.

For more information regarding the Coho HELP Act and CDFW’s review and approval of Coho HELP Act projects, please contact:

Mary Olswang: (916) 445-7633 or Mary.Olswang@wildlife.ca.gov
Kevin Shaffer: (916) 327-2241 or Kevin.Shaffer@wildlife.ca.gov