USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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Research Topics Water & Watersheds

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Caspar Creek Experimental Watershed Study

Caspar Creek North Fork Weir, Jackson State Demonstration Forest.
Caspar Creek North Fork Weir, Jackson State Demonstration Forest. U.S. Forest Service photo.

Located on the Jackson Demonstration State Forest near Fort Bragg, California, the North Fork and South Fork tributary watersheds of Caspar Creek serve as research sites for evaluating the effects of timber management on streamflow, erosion and sedimentation.

Established in 1961 as a cooperative effort between the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), the Caspar Creek study has evolved from a simple paired watershed study into one of the most comprehensive and detailed investigations of its kind.

PSW and CAL FIRE have a 100-year Memorandum of Understanding to continue research at the site at least through 2099. Since 2007, Caspar Creek has been one of 11 USFS Experimental Forests and Ranges in the national network of long-term ecological research sites.

The half-century-long record from the North and South Forks of Caspar Creek is unique in providing long-term hydrologic data from small, rain-dominated watersheds located in second and third growth conifer forests.

Because of the kinds of research carried out, the lengthy record, and the relevance of site conditions to major water supply sources, the Caspar Creek Experimental Watersheds have long provided information used both to extend basic knowledge and to guide land management practices.


Caspar Creek elevation profile


Map of the North Fork of Caspar Creek


Map of the North Fork of Caspar Creek


Map of the North Fork of Caspar Creek

Phase Three

Cover of the Proceedings of the conference on coastal watersheds: the Caspar Creek story


More information on the Caspar Creek Experimental Watershed: