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Butte Creek supports the largest run of wild, naturally spawned Spring Run Chinook in California
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Breaking News: PG&E wants to cut and run on the DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric project, read the article.

Centerville Dam

PosterFriends of Butte Creek partnered with the Museum of Northern California Art to bring the 11th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour to Chico. We had a sold out crowd and a good time was had by all. Your support will help us continue our work in 2018 and we made a significant donation to our Film Festival Partnermonca

More info







Salmon are done spawning but you can watch the action 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

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

Salmoncam is out of commission again.

Enjoy this video of the 2017 run.


The Butte Creek Canyon Zoning Overlay is out for Review

Canyon groups have contributed to developing a zoning overlay for Butte Creek Canyon which will help protect the water, wildlife and the beauty of this incredible scenic wonder. The draft document and the map are online now. 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 and most of the work is done! February 27, 2018 the proposed Overlay will be presented to the County Supervisors to make this part of the General Plan. We need your attendance to show support for these historic protections for Butte Creek Canyon. Download Powerpoint presentation.

10th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival another success!

PosterThanks to all who made this another great Film event at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room and the Pageant Theater

Complete Film Program is available here.

Friends of Butte Creek celebrated TEN YEARS of Wild and Scenic Films in Chico

Thanks to the Friends of Butte Creek sponsors! Sierra Nevada Brewery, Klean Kanteen, Sacramento River Preservation Trust, Rail Riders, Sacramento River Eco Tours, Nature Conservancy, FishBio, Cal Trout, Pure Skin, River Valley Enterprises, Greg and Marji Thomas Will, Lisa Thompson and all the national sponsors, volunteers and silent auction donors. Special thanks to Jim Monaco for all the beautiful Butte Creek salmon clay tiles. They are treasured by many!

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 and the photo of our Bear Gardener...


Spring Run Salmon are getting ready to return to Butte Creek.

Flows are ideal! Fish should be able to easily ascend Quartz Bowl Falls this year. As soon as Centerville Dam is removed they can go even further!


Mid-morning to early afternoon is best. Click here

poolThe HD camera donated by Aercontvision is online. The spring run salmon are getting ready to come home. The camera will be at the Holding Pool in May. 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 2017 - Snorkel 980, Carcass ????

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.