Resources about Salmon and Other Anadromous Fish
Welcoming the Coho Salmon Back to West Marin
by Jules Evens on October 01, 2001
Anadromous Fish Symposium
The Center for Ecosystem Mangement and Restoration (CEMAR) and the Oakland Museum are sponsoring a symposium on November 14-15 on “Salmon and Steelhead in Your Creek: Restoration and Management of Anadromous Fish in Bay Area Watersheds.” This event, which will include groups from around the Bay Area, will be held in the James Moore Theater of the Oakland Museum. Contact CEMAR at (510)420-4565
Recent reports show that Lagunitas Creek is one of the few watersheds in the Central California ESU (along with Redwood Creek in Muir Woods and Noyo River in northern California) in which salmon numbers are remaining stable or possibly increasing. This is, in part, due to the work of several organizations dedicated to preserving wild fish populations and restoring watershed health. The following groups offer a variety of opportunities for people to get involved in Lagunitas watershed work.
Trout Unlimited started working in the Lagunitas watershed in the 1980s, calling attention to the adverse impacts of dam construction on the coho and steelhead runs. To preserve the populations in the face of declining water flows, TU members captured salmon in tributaries, spawned them, and raised the young in hatcheries until they were big enough to survive in the creek. On October 13-14, TU will be installing exclusionary fencing along Devil’s Gulch to reduce sedimentation in the creek. To help out, contact Mike Cronin at (415) 453-5370 or the TU state office at (510) 528-5390.
Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout Restoration Program (CSRP)
The CSRP is run by the National Park Service in Point Reyes National Seashore. The aim of the program is to identify, evaluate, restore, and enhance coho and steelhead populations, focusing on four watersheds (Lagunitas Creek, Olema Creek, Redwood Creek, and Pine Gulch Creek) in west Marin. Project staff and volunteers survey redds and fish populations over multiple life stages of the fish. They also monitor changes in habitat and oversee restoration projects. Contact Tom Echols at (415) 464-5195.
Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN)
SPAWN, based in Forest Knolls, works to protect coho and steelhead in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. The group organizes winter spawning surveys and yearly habitat surveys, leads creek walks, sponsors public information meetings, responds to creek disturbances, monitors water quality, advocates for measures that improve watershed health, and oversees efforts to rescue fish from drying tributaries. Each fall and winter SPAWN does a training for people interested in leading walks or helping with educational outreach. Call the SPAWN hotline at (415) 488.1090 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomales Bay Association
Tomales Bay Association is a volunteer-run oranization that does spawner counts, riparian restoraton, and other work in the creeks of the Tomales Bay watershed. It is working cooperatively with the CSRP on an upcoming habitat restoration project at Stewart’s Ranch along Olema Creek. Bolunteers are also needed to help with spawn counts in winter. Call Ken Fox at (415) 663-1467.
Around the Bay
In watersheds around the Bay Area, citizens are initiating and participating in an array of grassroots projects to restore creeks and improve conditions for anadromous fish (steelhead trout, coho salmon, and chinook salmon). Through their work on monitoring projects, habitat restoration, and cleanup efforts, residents have found a tangible way to connect to the natural environment close to their homes. Here is a sampling of projects and volunteer opportunities around the Bay Area; for a more complete list, contact the Urban Creeks Council at (510) 540-6669.
San Francisquito Creek
San Francisquito Creek drains the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Portola Valley and Woodside before flowing through Menlo Park and Palo Alto to the Bay. It supports one of the last wild steelhead populations in the South Bay. The San Francisquito Watershed Council, sponsored by Acterra, has an active Steelhead Task Force which is successfully modifying and removing migration barriers and improving habitat conditions for steelhead and other native species which inhabit San Francisquito Creek and its tributaries. Contact Susan Fizzell at (650) 962-9876 ext.305; www.acterra.org.
Alameda Creek is the largest watershed in the East Bay, draining much of the southern East Bay hills and the northwestern Diablo range. It enters the Bay between the Dumbarton and San Mateo Bridges. The Alameda Creek Alliance has been the galvanizing force in efforts to restore healthy populations of steelhead and chinook in the watershed, including the installation of fish ladders at dams and fish screens and removal of other barriers. It has a stream stewards program and regular creek cleanups. Each winter, ACA volunteers transport returning fish upstream past remaining barriers. Call (510) 845-4675; www.cemar.org/alamedacreek.
Sausal Creek flows from the Oakland hills down through East Oakland, entering the Bay in the vicinity of the Fruitvale Avenue Bridge. The Friends of Sausal Creek holds weekly work events and has teams that monitor various aspects of creek health. Its projects include creek cleanups, native vegetation plantings, non-native plant eradication, and trail maintenance. Contact Stuart Richardson at (510) 912-7792.
Sonoma Creek Watershed
Sonoma Creek and its tributaries flow from Sonoma Mountain and the Mayacamas range, through the Valley of the Moon, and out into San Pablo Bay. The Sonoma Ecology Center’s Sonoma Valley Watershed Station is leading numerous research and restoration projects in the watershed to promote the health of steelhead populations. It does fish habitat surveys, water quality studies, invasive plant eradication, and restoration work, in addition to other related research. It also has a stream stewards program and plenty of volunteer and intern opportunities. Contact Wendy Losee at (707) 996-9744; www.vom.com/sec.
Codornices Creek starts in the north Berkeley hills and winds through Berkeley and Albany to enter the Bay near Buchanan Street. The Urban Creeks Council recently received two grants to do a comprehensive study of Codornices Creek, focused on fish passage problems and possible solutions. They will be working under the leadership of Bill Kier of Kier & Associates, fisheries biologists in Sausalito, and hope to accomplish such tasks as putting baffles in culverts, daylighting sections of the creek, and improving fish habitat and water quality. They expect to have volunteer opportunities starting in early 2002. Contact Lisa Owens Viani at (510) 540-6669 or visit Urban Creeks Council.
Friends of Five Creeks has ongoing projects on Codornices Creek at Live Oak Park, at the Ohlone Greenway, and between San Pablo Avenue and Ninth Street, They have monthly work parties, monitor water quality in the creek, and do similar projects on Cerrito, Blackberry/Middle, Marin, and Village Creeks in the East Bay. Call (510) 848-9358; email email@example.com; or visit www.fivecreeks.org.
Walker Creek drains from Laguna Lake in west Marin, through the Chileno Valley and into the east side of Tomales Bay, just north of Marshall. The Marin Resource Conservation District, in conjunction with the private construction firm Prunuske Chatham, Inc., is currently starting work on a three-year project funded by Portland-based For the Sake of the Salmon. The project consists of extensive steelhead habitat restoration in the Walker Creek watershed. Contact Nancy Scolari of MCRCD at (415) 663-1170.
San Pablo Creek
San Pablo Creek starts at the San Pablo Reservoir and makes its way through El Sobrante and San Pablo before draining into the Bay south of Point Pinole. The Aquatic Outreach Institute will be starting a project this fall in conjunction with the El Sobrante Boys and Girls Club. It’s been a number of years since the last confirmed steelhead sighting in San Pablo Creek, but the groups hope that their removal of invasive vegetation and replanting of natives will encourage the fish to return. Contact Shannah Anderson at (510) 231-5704 or visit www.thewatershedproject.org.
Friends of Baxter Creek
El Cerrito/ Richmond area
Corte Madera Creek
Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed
Corte Madera/ Larkspur area
San Leandro Creek
Friends of San Leandro Creek
Oakland/ San Leandro area
Stemple Creek and others
North Bay Riparian Station
Friends of Strawberry Creek
Friends of Temescal Creek
Oakland/ Emeryville/ Berkeley area
Tennessee Hollow Creek
Urban Watershed Project
Presidio/ San Francisco area
Organizations for Teachers and Children
In addition to the Aquatic Outreach Institute (see San Pablo Creek), the following groups lead restoration projects for interested teachers and elementary school students.
Earth Island Institute