The Butte Creek Ecological Preserve (BCEP) is a 93-acre site along the middle section of Butte Creek. The site was formerly used for gold, sand and gravel mining, and is recovering from those activities.
The property contains more than a mile of creek frontage, as well as habitat for many species of special status, including the Western Pond Turtle and Yellow-legged Frog. Butte Creek is critical salmon habitat and spawning grounds for the largest population of Central Valley Spring Run Chinook, a state and federal threatened evolutionarily significant unit (ESU).
In December 1998, the Chico State Research Foundation purchased this site with grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Federation, CALFED, and the Wildlife Conservation Board.
The goal of the Preserve is to work in conjunction with other programs toward achieving a reasonable balance among the diverse demands on the resource base of the Butte Creek watershed.
The Reserves have adopted an adaptive management approach to managing the property. Program areas at the preserve include habitat management and conservation, outreach and education, and research. The Preserve is open to the public year round.