Assisted by generous early rains, astounding numbers of salmon swam up Lagunitas and San Geronimo creeks (on the northwest side of Mount Tamalpais) to spawn this past winter. Surveyors counted 318 active salmon redds (depressions in the stream bottom gravel where salmon deposit their eggs), the highest level since surveying began in 1982. This is primarily a coho salmon and steelhead trout stream system, so observers were surprised to find chinook and chum salmon in significant numbers—a real rarity. This watershed has become a national model for fisheries restoration through proactive programs initiated by numerous local groups. Larger than usual numbers of salmon were also sighted by monitors and tourists alike in Redwood Creek in Muir Woods National Monument. For the first time in 30 years, a spawning coho pair was observed in Pine Gulch Creek above Bolinas Lagoon. Further north, sharp eyes documented five coho spawning in Dutch Bill Creek in the Russian River basin, the first documented sighting there since 1954. (For more information on coho and on related conservation organizations, see the October-December 2001 issue of Bay Nature.)
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