Ten Mile River Estuary, MacKerricher State Park

Ten Mile River Estuary, MacKerricher State Park

by | Sep 5, 2019

Ten Mile River is a stream located about 10 miles (16 km) north of the Noyo River at Fort Bragg and 5.7 miles (9.2 km) south of Westport, California. The watershed drains approximately 120 square miles (310 sq km) and is bounded to the south by the Noyo River watershed and to the east and north by the South Fork Eel River watershed.

The Ten Mile River basin has been logged continuously since the early 1870s. Historically, trees were cut using single-bladed axes and dragged by oxen to mills at Fort Bragg. Ox teams were replaced by railroad lines in the early 1900s, and in the 1930s, the railroads were replaced by tractor roads. In 1973, the California Forest Practice Act banned destructive tractor logging on steeper slopes. The timber on both sides of the river was logged by the Georgia Pacific Company until 1999 when the company was acquired by the Hawthorne Timber Company.

The river flow is a function of precipitation and under low flow conditions, sand bars build at the river mouth constricting and often blocking it entirely. When this occurs, the estuarine portion of the Ten Mile River temporarily becomes a freshwater lagoon. Estuarine conditions return when large storm events re-establish ocean connectivity. Despite the episodic connectivity, the river and estuary provide important fish habitat for anadromous and marine fishes but this varies seasonally and annually. The Ten Mile River Estuary, Ten Mile Beach, and Ten Mile State Marine Reserve form a marine protected area that extends from the estuary out to 5 nautical miles (9 km). Ten Mile Beach is also part of MacKerricher State Park, which extends approximately 5 miles (8 km) south from the river mouth and includes approximately 1,300 acres (530 ha) of sand dunes. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Ten Mile River here:

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About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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