a blog & documentary ~ in the making

by Lisa Redfern


About & Contact

Story-based Study of the Deer Creek Watershed

Following Deer Creek is a story-based study of the Deer Creek watershed. Much of the creek traverses through private property and is hidden from view. It is a vastly unknown beauty that flows through the heart of the community.

In the winter of 2017, when water levels reached heights that hadn’t been seen in a decade, Lisa Redfern set out to photograph and film various locations along the creek’s thirty-four-mile length. This began a journey of discovery.

Watershed Overview

Plate tectonics created the Smartville Block, ancient uplifted ocean floor and hard granite, that comprises much of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. (*See Resources section below for more details.)

Approximately 7,000 Native People lived in the territory before the Gold Rush lured white men and an array of people from various cultures.

During the Victorian era with strict social rules, newcomers actualized an atmosphere where personal failure and reinvention were acceptable. Ingenuity, invention, the attitude that only ‘civilized’ people had rights to the land, and the quest to get rich resulted in long-term environmental damage that is an on-going concern in the present day.

The twentieth century saw more changes. Further development of water rights, the narrow-gauge railroad, farming, forestry, building the freeway, and several large-scale planned communities contributed to the watershed community we now recognize.

Documentary Film in the Making

The blog (and eventual documentary film) is a personal passion project of Lisa Redfern, a local author, artist, and photographer. She creates blog posts about the plants and animals she observes as well as historical reenactments, and interviews with historians, long-time residents, and representatives from agencies that connect with the waterway.

Many posts include custom created artwork for her Life on the Creek series, made-to-order home and clothing items. Five dollars from each sale (above production and shipping costs) supports the blog and film project (savings for a narrator, music, and audio/video editing assistance). Once the film is complete, Life on the Creek proceeds will be donated to stream stewardship organizations.







e-mail: lisa ‘at’ redfern ‘dot’ biz
cell / txt: (530) 559-4367






The Complexity of the Yuba Watershed Neighborhood. – Hank Meals, Yuba Trails and Tales Blog




After the Gold Rush: Society in Grass Valley and Nevada City, California, 1849-1870, Ralph Mann

The Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California Volume 6 (2013), Josiah Dwight Whitney

Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization (1976), Sherburne F. Cook




The Cousin Jacks; the Cornish in America (1969), A.L. Rowse

Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss, and Luck, Gary Noy
Gold Rush Stories book review by Lisa Redfern

Hard Rock Epic: Western Miners and the Industrial Revolution, 1860-1910, Mark Wyman




History of Us: Nisenan Tribe of the Nevada City Rancheria, Richard B. Johnson
History of us book review by Lisa Redfern

Jews in the California Gold Rush (1994), Robert E. Levinson

The pioneer miner and pack mule express, (California Historical Society. Special publication) (1931)




Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues, Gary Noy

Tribal Land Conservation, Beth Rose Middleton

Wildflowers & Trees and Shrubs, Redbud Chapter of California Native Plant Society




Yuba Trails: A Selection of Historic Hiking Trails in the Yuba River Watershed, Hank Meals

Documentaries & Films:

Online Books:


Man and Nature, George Perkins Marsh (Father of Conservation) – 1864 – epub, html, and other formats

1856 – Nevada (City), Grass Valley & Rough & Ready General Directory of Citizens; a historical sketch of Nevada County,  A. A. Sargent, ESQ
Three Years in California, J.D. Borthwick
The Frontier in American History (1920), Frederick J. Turner


California Native Plants for Placer and Nevada Counties – Lani Houck
Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of California – California Range Brushlands and Browse Plants  – Arthur Sampson and Beryl Jesperson (pg. 129)
History of the Tahoe National Forest (1982)


Bear Yuba Land Trust
California Native Plant Society – Redbud Chapter
CalPhotos – California Universty, Berkeley- 2,965 photos of plants, animals, fossils, people, and landscapes from Nevada County.
California Wildlife YouTube videos
Deer Creek YouTube videos

ebird sightings recorded along Deer Creek

Forest Trails Alliance Facebook page
Gold Rush History: 49ers Left Rich Legacy of Outrageous Names
Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Nevada Couty – Noehill
History of Tahoe National Forest: 1840 – 1940
Internet Bird Collection
Keep Me Wild Campaign – California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Nevada City Chamber of Commerce – Nevada City, a colorful town that has prepared for its future by preserving its past

Library of Congress – Edible Wild Plants
Nevada County Resource Conservation District
Nevada County Wildlife Services
North Yuba Naturalist blog
Sierra College Press
Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum
Sierra Streams Institute
USGS California Water Science Center

Individual blog posts include additional resources.