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Blue Creek (California) facts for kids

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Blue Creek
Blue Creek (California) is located in California
Blue Creek (California)
Location of Blue Creek in California
Country United States
State California
Physical characteristics
Main source Elk Valley
Siskiyou Wilderness, Del Norte County
5,080 ft (1,550 m)
41°35′33″N 123°42′39″W / 41.59250°N 123.71083°W / 41.59250; -123.71083
River mouth Klamath River
About 10 mi (16 km) SE of Klamath, Humboldt County
69 ft (21 m)
41°25′27″N 123°55′42″W / 41.42417°N 123.92833°W / 41.42417; -123.92833
Length 23 mi (37 km)
Basin features
Basin size 73 sq mi (190 km2)

Blue Creek is a 23-mile (37 km) long stream in the Northern Coast Ranges of California, and is the lowermost major tributary of the Klamath River. The creek begins in Elk Valley, in the Siskiyou Wilderness of the Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County. It flows southwest, receiving several major tributaries including the East Fork, Crescent City Fork, Nickowitz Creek, Slide Creek and the West Fork. It flows into the Klamath River in Humboldt County, 16 miles (26 km) upstream from where the Klamath empties into the Pacific Ocean.

The Blue Creek watershed covers about 47,000 acres (19,000 ha) and is considered one of the most pristine areas in the Klamath River Basin. The area is within the historic territory of the Yurok people. During the 19th and early 20th centuries the Blue Creek valley was subject to intensive logging, but the area has begun to recover with recent conservation efforts by the Yurok Tribe.

Blue Creek is a critical migration point for salmon and steelhead in the Klamath River watershed. Summer water temperatures in Blue Creek are typically lower than the main stem Klamath; migrating fish can lower their body temperature considerably by resting in Blue Creek, increasing their chances of survival upriver. Blue Creek itself, with no dams or diversions, also provides good spawning habitat for these fish.

The confluence of Blue Creek with the Klamath River is directly downstream from the original planned site of Ah Pah Dam, a massive structure proposed in the 1950s which would have diverted the Klamath River to Southern California.

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