Nez Perce Tribe

Department of Fisheries Resources Management


Big Creek Watershed

The Nez Perce Tribe Watershed Division incorporated the Big Creek watershed in 2010 in an effort to expanded restoration activities.  The Big Creek watershed was chosen for restoration efforts due to its species of concern, physical conditions and similar limiting factors to those of the SFSR watershed.  Both Big Creek and the lower SFSR watersheds are under the jurisdiction of the Payette National Forest (PNF).  Located northeast of the SFSR watershed, the Big Creek watershed encompasses approximately 380,000 acres and contains 5 sub-watersheds (Upper Big Creek, Big Creek- Beaver Creek, Big Creek- Cabin Creek, Monumental Creek and Rush Creek) and drains into the Middle Fork Salmon River.  The Big Creek watershed contains 90% wilderness land (the Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness Area), with another 7% designated as non-wilderness, roadless area.  Private in-holdings make up less than 1% of the Big Creek watershed, totaling 3380 acres divided into 19 properties.  Parcel sizes range from 2 to 700 acres with an average of 178 acres.  Private owners hold 700 acres in the Edwardsburg-Big Creek town site directly below the Big Creek Bridge and within one of the most important Chinook spawning sites in the drainage. 

The SFSR and Big Creek watersheds provide some of the most important summer Chinook and steelhead spawning streams in Idaho.  Historically the SFSR watershed produced one of the largest Chinook salmon runs in the entire Columbia River Basin.  Researchers estimate that the SFSR watershed historically contributed 60-70% of all adult summer Chinook salmon runs in Idaho.  The SFSR and Big Creek watersheds comprise two of only four drainages in the Columbia Basin that support viable populations of wild B-run steelhead.  Big Creek Chinook salmon represent a non-supplemented spawning aggregate and have been referred to as a genetic refuge for all salmonids.  In addition, biologists identified the SFSR and Big Creek as bull trout strongholds within the Salmon River Basin.

Project Staff

wesleyk@nezperce.orgWesley KellerProject Leader06(208) 621-3318x3318
ering@nezperce.orgErin GrindeWatershed Restoration
Specialist II
11(208) 621-3320x3320

Project Photos

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