Old growth - Prior to timber harvest beginning in the late 19th Century, most of the watershed was in late successional and old growth forest, of which approximately 14,000 acres of old remain (mostly in the mountainous slopes of the upper watershed). Silver fir, noble fir, western and mountain hemlock, and western red cedar are the most common tree species.
Second Growth Forest - About 84 percent of the forested habitat in the watershed is second growth, forest that has regenerated following timber harvest. The second growth forest shown here is in a ‘stem-exclusion” stage characterized by dense conifer trees and little understory growth. As these stands get older, the forest will become less dense due to mortality from competition and natural disturbance, such as wind.
Riparian forests - Deciduous tree species, such as red alder and big-leaf maple, are most frequently found in riparian forests along streams. Deciduous trees provide important habitat for numerous birds. Coniferous riparian trees that fall into adjacent streams are important for creating high quality fish habitat.
Meadows - In the upper watershed, the forest gives way to open meadows, typically where soils are wetter or where snow stays on the ground into early summer. These meadows provide habitat for several amphibian species and provide forage and cover for elk and deer.
Eagle Ridge Fen - Eagle Ridge Fen is part of an extensive wetland in the upper watershed that includes both acidic bog habitat and richer fens. Fens have flowing water that provides higher nutrient levels than bogs.
Felsenmeer - Felsenmeer is exposed rock that has been broken by frost action into extensive areas of angular rubble on steep mountain slopes. It translates from the German as “sea of rock.” It occurs on the steep slopes above the Cedar River in the Cascade Mountains and supports a diverse moss and lichen flora.
Goat Peak - Rock formations that have been eroded by glacial activity often result in spectacular rock outcrops and cliffs. Goat Peak is one of the more striking rock outrcrops in the watershed and is named for the mountain goats that are occasionally seen on the ridges and peaks high above Chester Morse Lake.
Lower Cedar River - The Cedar River below Cedar Falls is regulated by outflows from Chester Morse Lake and also receives flow from several tributaries, including Taylor, Rock, and Williams creeks. It’s channel is largely confined within a narrow floodplain carved into glacial outwash sediments.
Upper Cedar River bull trout spawning area - The Cedar River upstream of Chester Morse Lake provides important spawning habitat for bull trout. In this area, gravel has accumulated where the river flattens out from its steeper upstream reaches. These gravels provide good conditions for bull trout to create redds, where they lay their eggs and the eggs mature into juvenile fish.
Taylor Creek - Taylor Creek is the largest tributary to the Cedar River in the lower watershed. A natural falls just above its confluence with the Cedar River is a barrier to salmon, but Taylor Creek provides abundant habitat to native cutthroat trout.
Rack Creek - Rack Creek is a tributary to Chester Morse Lake and in its lower reaches provides spawning and rearing habitat for bull trout. Like many streams in the upper watershed, it mostly has step-pool and cascade type channels.
Chester Morse Lake - Water levels in Chester Morse Lake, the largest water body in the watershed, are controlled by the Masonry Dam and the Overflow Dike. Prior to the construction of these control structures, a natural lake known as Cedar Lake occurred here. Chester Morse Lake supports populations of bull trout and pygmy whitefish.
Findley Lake - Findley Lake is in the upper elevations of the Cedar River Watershed within the silver fir forest zone (3,700 feet elevation). Considerable biological research has been conducted in the Findley Lake subbasin, beginning in the 1970s with its designation as a Coniferous Forest Biome study site of the International Biological Program.