BDA build – Bear Trap Meadow

Restoration Project Update: The Haskell Peak Meadows

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The Haskell Peak Meadows Restoration project is a 229-acre meadow restoration project that focuses on five meadows—Haskell Headwaters Fen, Freeman, West Church, Bear Trap and Chapman Saddle Meadows— in Sierra County, Northeast of Bassetts. This project is led by the South Yuba River Citizens League, in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest, and focuses on restoration of high elevation meadows at the headwaters of Church, Chapman, and Howard Creeks, that provide downstream benefits to the North Yuba River. These meadows were selected as great candidates for the use of low-impact, process-based restoration methods to produce outsized ecosystem benefits relative to restoration investment.  

In 2020, SYRCL received a planning grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board to pursue restoration designs and to complete the environmental review process, and baseline monitoring for streamflow, groundwater, plant communities and carbon storage. After a multi-year planning effort, SYRCL received funding from Point Blue Conservation Science through the Sierra Meadows Partnership block grant to complete restoration implementation.  

The Haskell Peak Meadows Restoration Project aims to rehabilitate the meadow hydrology in five meadows, thereby restoring ecosystem function and increasing resilience in each of these meadows to expected changes in climatic conditions. 

Meadows provide benefits that make them biodiversity and carbon sequestration hotspots, provide late season baseflows (the portion of the streamflow that is sustained between precipitation events), refugia habitat, and improve water quality and quantity for downstream users. Restoration of meadow hydrology, by re-connecting the stream channel to its natural floodplain, is the primary basis upon which other ecological values are sustained, including restoring historic riparian wet meadow, aquatic habitat, and wetland function, within the meadow system. 

The Haskell Peak Meadows Project has the following goals to support hydrologic and ecosystem benefits: 


  • Sustained hydrologic connection between streams and meadow floodplain. 
  • Delayed spring recession period and increased groundwater levels. 
  • Aggrade incised channels by reducing stream velocities and encouraging sediment deposition. 
  • Prevent erosion that would impact downstream water quality. 


  • Increased coverage of wetland plant species, providing refugia habitat and forage for terrestrial wildlife species. 
  • Increased habitat complexity contributing to refugia habitat for aquatic species (cold and warm pools). 
  • Increased riparian nesting habitat for bird species. 
  • Increased carbon sequestration. 
  • Decreased lodgepole pine encroachment success. 

Before – After – Freeman Meadow

Before – After – Freeman Meadow

In September 2023, this project began with the first year of implementation, focusing on restoration actions using low-impact tools such as beaver dam analogs (BDAs) and post-assisted log structures (PALS) to reconnect remnant floodplains in each of the five project meadows. To date, all BDA and PALS structures planned for installation in 2023 have been installed.  

Follow-up BDA and PALS structures will be installed in summer and fall of 2024 and 2025, intentionally sequenced over a three-year period to let the power of the stream during spring snowmelt provide the energy needed to aggrade sediment and stimulate floodplain processes. During the upcoming implementation seasons, a partnership between Swiftwater Designs (the BDA installation specialist), SYRCL, and the United Auburn Indian Community will provide a tribal workforce training to train the United Auburn Indian Community on how to implement low-impact meadow restoration projects using tools such as BDAs and PALS. 

Monitoring of the following attributes will be continued through 2026 to determine if the project is meeting its goals in achieving ecosystem and hydrologic benefits: groundwater, streamflow, water quality, herbaceous vegetation communities, conifer encroachment, and carbon storage. 

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