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Willow Creek

Willow Creek flows west from the Santa Lucia Range crest to the Pacific Ocean. It represents one of the few opportunities on the Central Coast to protect a stream from its source to the ocean as a Wild & Scenic River. It is located entirely on public lands and mostly within the Silver Peak Wilderness.

Willow Creek was not studied by the Forest Service for its Wild & Scenic River attributes. Conservationists believe that the creek is free flowing and possesses outstanding values.

Outstanding Values:

Hydrological – Willow Creek represents one of the few opportunities to protect an entire Central Coast stream from its source to the Pacific Ocean in the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

Fish – The California Department of Fish and Game considers Willow Creek to be one of the most productive spawning streams for threatened steelhead in southern Monterey County.

Botanical – Lower Willow Creek supports the only know occurrence of the La Graciosa thistle on National Forest land. The plant is proposed for federal listing as endangered. It is found in serpentine seeps surrounded by chaparral that receives exposure to coastal fog near Willow Creek. The upper Willow Creek drainage supports the largest of the most southerly know coastal stands of Douglas fir.

Wildlife – Willow Creek supports one of the few populations of sensitive foothill yellow-legged frog in the Santa Lucia Range of the Los Padres Forest.

Cultural – Historic remnants of 1880s gold mining occur along Willow Creek including an extensive dry laid stone retaining wall believed to have been built by a crew of Chinese miners over one hundred years ago.

Ventana Wild Rivers Campaign Hannah Schoenthal-Muse, Organizer Friends of the River 99 Pacific St., Suite 555A, Monterey, CA 93940 831/535-8304 • hannah@friendsoftheriver.org

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