|Have you ever looked at your local creek and wondered if it ever had fish in it? Thought about what it might be like to see a salmon or steelhead cruising through that deep pool? Savored the knowledge that the fry feeding in that quiet eddy are there because you and your friends did something to bring it about? Well, at the North Bay Chapter, bringing those fish back is our business. There are always plans afoot, ideas being hatched, opportunities to help. So please, join us today, and let us know how you might like to participate.
To our corporate friends, there never seems to be sufficient funding to respond to all of the opportunities which exist. We have a proven track record of successful projects, and can demonstrate positive results in the form of increased salmon stocks. Your tax deductible contributions make this work possible. Could we show you our plans? Would you consider sponsoring a project? Thank you in advance. We appreciate your help.
To volunteer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To sponsor a project, or a part of a project, either go to our Sponsor page, or send an email to email@example.com.
NBTU has a long history of spearheading conservation projects in Northern California.
1980's: A fish ladder is constructed on Lagunitas Creek to provide downstream passage for juvenile fish. Habitat restoration includes planting trees and willows, installing erosion barriers, fencing off stream access from cattle, and creating holding areas for young fish. Hatch boxes are placed in tributaries of Lagunitas Creek and rearing troughs are erected with the subsequent release of 60,000 coho salmon eggs.
Early 1990’s: Habitat work is undertaken to stabilize spawning gravel beds in the stretch of Lagunitas Creek immediately below Kent Lake. Returns of wild coho salmon begin to improve with over 500 coho salmon returning in 1995. Informational kiosk and plaque honoring Leo T. Cronin are installed in 1995 at the Salmon Viewing Area near Shafter Bridge
Late 1990’s: Planning begins for the removal of Roy's Dam with the help of an Embrace-A Stream grant from TU National. NBTU rallies local support and gets approval from several government agencies. In 1999, Roy's Dam is removed and construction of what is now known as Roy's Pools is completed providing miles of new spawning habitat. Bruce Babbitt, the Secretary of the Interior, attends the dedication and NBTU receives national TV coverage of its efforts.
Early 2000’s: NBTU receives an Embrace-A-Stream grant and NBTU begins work in partnership with the Point Reyes National Seashore on restoring Devil’s Gulch, a major tributary of Lagunitas Creek. Fencing is installed to keep cattle away from the stream where wild coho salmon and steelhead are spawning. A second Embrace-A-Stream grant provides for trail restoration and the replacement of three footbridges along Devil's Gulch allowing better protection for spawning fish from human exposure. Three failing culverts are removed and replaced by wet crossings, preventing hundreds of cubic yards of sediment from entering the creek and destroying sensitive spawning habitat. Funding was provided from a California Department of Fish and Game grant.
Late 2000’s: NBTU in conjunction with the National Park Service and California State Parks Department continues trail improvements at Devil’s Gulch and installs an 18' long footbridge, adding to visitor safety and reducing human intrusion into spawning areas. Several fish rescue events are conducted by NBTU volunteers over the years to transport stranded fish from diminishing summer pools. NBTU, the State and National Parks Departments and other environmental groups sponsor a symposium on the salmon restoration efforts at Lagunitas Creek. NBTU expands its restoration activity to the Redwood Creek Watershed, organizing several workdays to plant native plants in the Muir Beach Lagoon.
For a more detailed account of NBTU’s restoration efforts visit “NBTU Restoration History”.
2010 and Beyond:
NBTU is sponsoring workdays at Muir Beach and the Redwood Creek Nursery to restore the Redwood Creek watershed to its natural state as part of a multi-year restoration project. Redwood Creek is the southernmost watershed in North America with active Coho salmon and steelhead runs. For details on the Redwood Creek restoration effort please go to “Redwood Creek”.
NBTU has begun a four-phase habitat restoration project at Devil’s Gulch to reduce human interference with spawning fish, reduce erosion along the stream bed and provide refuge for young fish. For details on the Devil’s Gulch restoration effort please go to “Devil’s Gulch”.
If you are interested in volunteering at future conservation efforts, please send an email to info@NBTU.org.
|Early 1980's: Fish ladder constructed at site of fish killing seasonal tidewater dam to provide downstream passage for juvenile fish.
November 1982: Hatch boxes placed on tributaries of Lagunitas Creek. 20,000 eggs are developing.
April 1983: Torrential rains and sediment hammer alevin (baby salmon). Thousands are lost.
July 1983: Work begins in Flanders Field to halt erosion on San Geronimo Creek, a tributary of Lagunitas Creek. Fencing, armoring of gully walls, and willow planting are completed by volunteers cooperating with the land owner.
July 1984: The Great Weekend For The Fish!
Over two hundred people join TU's effort at Samuel P. Taylor State Park to improve the habitat of Lagunitas Creek. Trees are planted to provide cooling shade, gabions are placed to diminish erosion, fences are built to exclude cattle from the creek bed, check dams are constructed to slow the flow of water in hillside swales, and hewlett ramps are created to provide protected holding water for young fish.
January 1985: 40,000 coho (silver salmon) eggs are placed in hatch boxes.
March 1985: Rearing troughs (the beginning of Trout Unlimited's hatchery) are constructed behind the MMWD treatment plant in San Geronimo Valley. Fish from the hatch boxes will be reared here until they reach a suitable size for release, thus assuring a high survival rate.
April/May 1985: Volunteers feed and care for young coho, all 24,000 of them!
June 1985: 23,000+ fish are released into the Lagunitas Watershed waters.
December 1985: Eggs are collected from returning adult silver salmon for fertilization and development at the hatchery.
Fall 1986: Hatchery improvements are completed.
February 1987: 10,800+ eggs are "eyed up", new life is developing within the tiny eggs. Hatchery work continues. Hopefully TU will get out of the hatchery business as young fish survive and return as spawning adults.
December 1987: Over 5,000 fish of larger than usual size are released because they have been kept in the hatchery over the summer.
December 1987/January 1988: 5,000 eggs are collected from Lagunitas fish. The eggs are fertilized and the young are reared and released.
October 1988: After letters from Trout Unlimited reach the Department of Fish and Game, and the Department of Water Resources, the Marin Municipal Water District agrees to increase water releases into Lagunitas Creek.
May 1989: "Salmon in the Classroom" programs get started in Marin. This program now has over two hundred classes involved in Marin and Sonoma counties. It brings to students the life cycles of salmon and steelhead and the excitement of raising fish from egg to fry and releasing them into the wild.
October 1989: Volunteers work on spawning gravels to loosen them prior to the arrival of the Fall run of fish. The gravels had become impacted with sediment.
October 1991: Habitat work undertaken to stabilize spawning gravels in the stretch of Lagunitas Creek immediately below Kent Lake.
Spring 1992: High turbidity and possible bacterial disease cause loss of all fry at hatchery. Good rains bring natural spawners into the Lagunitas system. Many of them use the spawning beds near Kent Lake.
October 1992: Imbedded spawning cobble loosened in upper Lagunitas Creek.
Fall 1993: Banner year for coho as more fish return to spawn in the creek.
July 1994: Instream structures are built, root wads are anchored to provide protected habitat for young fish, and erosion control work is completed up slope of the stream. Approximately 200 people volunteered over the Fourth of July weekend.
January 1995: At least 500 fish return to spawn in the Lagunitas system.
September 1995: Lagunitas work continues with more trees planted, gravel moved, boulders placed, tree trunks muscled into position, reinforcing steel sledged into the substrate, and hearty food prepared to feed the volunteers.
October 1995: Informational kiosk and plaque honoring Leo T. Cronin is installed by MMWD at the Salmon Viewing Area near Shafter Bridge.
Winter 1995-96: Trout Unlimited member Bob Chamberlain collects majority of tissue of coho for the University of California at Davis's Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory. DNA testing is undertaken to document the strain of coho found at Lagunitas Creek.
May 1997: Trout Unlimited joins in the clean up of Lagunitas Creek. Fifty-six tires and much assorted junk is removed from the stream.
June 1997: Planning begins for the removal of Roy's Dam. TU and many other parties are involved. Approval of several government agencies is necessary if we are to proceed.
Fall 1997: Roy's Dam gets it's initial "trim" ito improve passage for this year's run of fish. This effort is successful, but more work is in the offing.
Spring 1998: North Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited receives Embrace-A-Stream grant for the purpose of correcting the fish passage problem at Roy's Dam.
May 1998: Core samples are taken to determine the base material on which Roy's Dam was built.
October 1998: Work on the removal of Roy's Dam continues. U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt, accepts TU's invitation to come to Marin and help tear down the dam.
1999: Removal of Roy's Dam is finished and construction of what is now known as Roy's Pools is completed. The planning and work took the time and talents of many people who all saw in Roy's Dam, a problem which should have and could be fixed. Some gave a great deal, some gave less; all gave together to accomplish a common goal.
October 2001: With another Embrace-A-Stream grant, along with partnership of Point Reyes National Seashore, and the cooperation of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, exclusionary fencing is being constructed to keep cattle away from the stream corridor and riparian habitat of Devil's Gulch. Devil's Gulch is a major tributary of Lagunitas Creek winding through both National and State Park property.
October 2002: TU's project on Devil's Gulch involved the completion of cattle exclusionary fencing along a major portion of the creek that began one year prior. Through the efforts of many committed volunteers, the project was a complete success. The project was performed in cooperation with the National Park Service Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout Restoration Program.
October 2003: With another Embrace-A-Stream Grant, a volunteer project involved the restoration of existing trails and replacement of three footbridges along Devil's Gulch. The new bridges replaced existing structures that were too close to the creek bank. The emphasis was on protecting the endangered coho salmon and steelhead from over exposure to human contact during spawning months when the popular trail attracts many visitors. The areas around the new structures were stabilized with environmental blanketing and the planting of native plant species to prevent erosion.
Late Summer 2004: Over several weekends, TU volunteers conducted a fish rescue from Cascade Creek in Fairfax. Salmonids and other species, stranded by diminishing summer pools that eventually dry up by late summer, were netted and moved to safer local habitat.
October 2004: A major TU project which removed three failing culverts from Devil’s Gulch was completed with funding from a California Department of Fish and Game grant. The culverts were replaced by wet crossings, thus preventing hundreds of cubic yards of sediment from entering the creek and destroying sensitive spawning habitat.
April 2005: Trout Unlimited, the National Park Service, and California State Parks Department joined forces on Earth Day, at Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Marin County along with interested volunteers to do much needed trail improvements and install an 18' long footbridge. Improvements to the trail added to visitor safety and help reduce intrusion on spawning salmon and steelhead. TU volunteers also planted native flora around the site of our culvert removal project completed in October of 2004.
Late Summer 2005: Another Cascade Creek fish rescue was conducted by TU volunteers. We successfully rescued twice as many fish as the year before from the same areas along the creek. Once again all species, stranded by diminishing summer pools were transported to safer local habitat.
October 2005: Trout Unlimited was a participating sponsor, along with the State and National Parks Departments and other environmental groups, that presented a “Symposium on Salmon Restoration in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed”.
Fall 2007: Over 20 volunteers gathered at Devil's Gulch to repair fencing and install two new gates, eliminating cattle from access to the creek.
Spring 2009: Over 20 volunteers repaired cattle exclusionary fencing and erected gates at Devil's Gulch. Work begins with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at Redwood Creek.
November 2009: Planted native plants and grasses in Muir Beach Lagoon
January 2010: Planted native plants and grasses in Muir Beach Lagoon
Spring 2010: Fencing installed at Devil's Gulch to eliminate erosion and traffic in creek. NBTU receives a DFG grant to study removal of the Dickson weir. Work continues at Redwood Creek.
March 2010: Weeded invasive plants in Muir Beach Lagoon
June 2010: NBTU receives a Marin Fish and Game Foundation grant for fencing, installation of informational signs, and bridge repair along the trail at Devil's Gulch.
July 2010: Pruned, transplanted and washed pots at Redwood Creek Nursery. Plans drawn for erosion control at Devil's Gulch.
October 2010: Installed wattles, fencing and native plants to eliminate erosion
February 2011: Planted native plants and grasses upstream of the Muir Beach Lagoon
May 2011: Repaired fencing and gates to prevent cattle from creek access
Summer 2011: Split rail fencing installed along Devil's Gulch trail to keep people out of the creek. Wattles installed along trail to prevent erosion. Signs posted to stay on trail. Work continues at Redwood Creek.
Winter 2011: NBTU takes first water quality tests in Devil's Gulch.
Summer 2012: Wattles replaced before winter rains to prevent erosion. Work continues at Redwood Creek.
Spring 2013: NBTU receives an Embrace-A-Stream grant from TU National to repair the wet crossing on National Park Service land.
NBTU’s main restoration project is at Devil’s Gulch which is part of the Lagunitas Watershed in Marin County. There are four phases in the project which will relocate a trail and provide refuge for salmon and steelhead fry and smolts during heavy periods of rain. This project is being undertaken in cooperation with the California State Parks.
Phase I was completed in August 2010. Five work teams installed six signs to notify park visitors of the fragile habitat, repaired a bridge damaged by a fallen tree and constructed 100 feet of split-rail cedar fencing to reduce the possibility of Coho salmon and steelhead being spooked off of their redds this winter by park visitors. Funding for Phase 1 was provided through a grant from the Marin Fish & Wildlife Foundation. A special thank you goes to Ralph Alexander and Associates for their plans and supervision of the work.
Phase II was completed in November 2010 and focused on eliminating erosion around the creek. Nine wattles (stray-filled burlap tubes) were installed on the Barnabee Trail to provide basins for sediment to accumulate instead of entering the creek. Eighteen plants were relocated into channels created by runoff in hopes of stabilizing the stream banks. A bridge (previously installed by NBTU) was repaired and 60 feet of split-rail fencing were installed to eliminate foot traffic on the creek banks. In October 2011 and November 2012, the wattles were replaced in advance of the rainy season and additional fencing installed to keep visitors on the trail and away from the creek. A number of steelhead fry were spotted on both outings.
North Bay Trout Unlimited (NBTU) replaced three culverts with wet crossings in Devil’s Gulch Creek, a tributary to Lagunitas Creek - one of California’s Southern most reaches of the endangered Coho salmon, in 2004. The uppermost crossing, on National Park land, was washed out by the 100 year storm of 2006. The watershed empties into Bolinas Bay and on to the Pacific Ocean. NBTU is continuing 40 years of work in the area by repairing a wet crossing to enhance water quality, habitat and open more spawning areas for migrating salmon and steelhead trout.
NBTU, with grants from Trout Unlimited, the Rockey Foundation, and Patagonia completed restoration of the wet crossing on October 12, 2013 installing rock walls and three layers of bio-technical fabric that will eliminate a source of sediment load downstream of the crossing.
At the same time, an existing wet crossing received a new grading which will permit fish to migrate farther upstream. NBTU volunteers harvested and planted native trees and bushes to help stabilize the banks and provide overhead shelter to lower water temperatures and provide protection for the young fish. Our previous restoration work indicates that we should expect to see fish in the upstream area as well as less sediment in the lower reaches.
NBTU would like to thank the following for their contribution:
Trout Unlimited Embrace-A-Stream Program
Firma Design Group
Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Phase III is currently awaiting approval by the CA State Parks and will re-route a portion of the trail to eliminate human contact with the fish.
Phase IV will consist of in-stream habitat restoration to provide refuge for young fish.
Thanks to the many volunteers who participated in Phases I and II and to the Dennis and Carol Ann Rockey Fund which is providing a grant to fund Phases III and IV. If you are interested in volunteering at Devil’s Creek or other conservation efforts, please send an email to info@NBTU.org.
The North Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited is sponsoring a number of workdays at Muir Beach to restore the Redwood Creek watershed to its natural state. Redwood Creek is the southernmost watershed in North America with active Coho salmon and steelhead runs. More than a century of landscape modifications, including road construction, have diverted the natural flow of the creek and reduced water flows in the creek and tidal lagoon. This multi-year restoration project includes widening the creek channel, expanding the tidal lagoon, improving related wetlands through the replanting of native plants and the excavation of several ponds to provide habitat for the California red- legged frog. The restoration is being undertaken by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service. Additional information can be found at http://www.parksconservancy.org/about/publications/multimedia/redwood-creek-restoration.html.
NBTU hosted its most recent workday on Saturday, September 28th. Six volunteers spent the morning removing the exclusionary fencing we installed in April to keep the deer away from the alders. A number of fry were spotted under the woody debris bundles. We also toured the Muir Beach worksite. The new foot bridge connecting the parking lot to the beach access path has been installed and progress is being made on the new parking lot. As a reminder, the Muir Beach parking lot is closed through November. If you are interested in participating in Redwood Creek or other restoration projects, please send an email to Info@NBTU.org.
Redwood Nursery Workday – September 28, 2013
Redwood Nursery Workday – August 17, 2013
Redwood Creek Workday – June 8, 2013
Redwood Creek Workday – April 20, 2013
Redwood Creek Workday – March 16, 2013
Redwood Creek Workday – January 5, 2013
Redwood Creek Workday – September 29, 2012
Redwood Creek Workday – June 30, 2012
The National Park Service has completed its 2011-2012 Spawner Survey. On Redwood Creek they found five coho redds, nine live coho and six coho carcasses with spawning first observed in January. As far as steelhead, they found 24 redds, 11 live adults and two carcasses. The adult coho returns were better than those observed from the same “year class” or cohort three years ago when two coho redds were observed.
Redwood Creek Workday – April 22, 2012
Redwood Creek Workday – March 3, 2012
Redwood Creek Workday – January 21, 2012
Redwood Creek Workday – November 13, 2011
Redwood Creek Workday - July 16, 2011
Redwood Creek Workday – February 19, 2011
Thanks to the many volunteers who have made our past Redwood Creek restoration days so successful.
|The president of the newly formed Truckee TU Chapter Stefan McLeod's impassioned testimony to the Lahontan Water Board (LWB), along with NBTU's past president John Regan's many years of bird dogging, has led to, what my be, the final chapter in the fight to save the Paiute Cutthroat. NBTU began field trips to the Silver King Creek area over twenty years ago and, along with the CA Dept. of Fish & Game, found a solution to saving this species - only to be thwarted, a few years ago, by a last minute cell phone call to the site with a stop work order from the courts.
As of 2011, the CA Dept. of Fish & Game is waiting to hear from the courts concerning any challenges to their plan for removing non-native fish from Silver King creek.
For the entire story on the LWB meeting, please go to www.tu.org or read the Fall 2010 issue of Trout magazine.
Paiute Cutthroat Trout - Oncorhynchus clarki seleniris
The Paiute cutthroat trout is a member of the Salmonidae (trout and salmon) family. It is distinguishable from other cutthroat trout by the absence or near absence of body spots. Body spots are the diagnostic character that distinguishes the Paiute cutthroat from the Lahontan cutthroat. Paiute cutthroat trout rarely have more than five body spots; Lahontan cutthroat trout typically possess 50 to 100 body spots and may have more. A secondary distinguishing character is body color. Lahontans typically have a coppery to purplish-pink body color, whereas Paiutes from comparable streams are normally yellowish to light green.
Paiute Cutthroat in Silver King Creek
Paiute Cutthroat Trout have survived for thousands of years exclusively in the watershed of Silver King Creek and its isolated tributaries in Alpine County. By the early 1970's, Paiute cutthroat trout had reached such low population levels that they were near extinction. The US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the Paiute cutthroat trout be placed on the Federal Endangered Species list.
The main causes of the Paiute's demise were; hybridization, competition with introduced trout species, and habitat degradation caused by poor range management. The introduction of rainbow trout to Silver King Creek by unnamed sources in the 1950's and 60's had caused hybridization and the loss of important pure Paiute cutthroat genetics. Small tributaries to Silver King Creek still hold a pure strain of Paiute cutthroat trout. Hybridization can be a double- edged sword, by not only losing important genetics, but also the competition for valuable food sources.
Sheepherders have utilized Silver King Creek since the late 1800's and cattle grazing began in the 1950's. However, poor range management has led to extensive habitat degradation.
Finally, in 1985, the United States Forest Service (USFS) developed a Paiute Cutthroat Trout Recovery Plan that involved the California Department of Fish and Game, and Trout Unlimited volunteers, spearheaded by the North Bay Chapter. The plan focused on habitat restoration above Llewellyn Falls at Silver King Creek. From 1986 to 1993, over 400 TU volunteers worked tirelessly on restoration projects to improve the Paiute habitat. In-stream log structures were installed in the creek to stabilize the bank and reduce siltation, and solar powered exclusionary fencing was erected to prevent further habitat degradation from grazing. The majority of hybridized fish in the area above the falls were removed through electro-shocking and transported to high mountain lakes. Almost ten years later, all the hard work resulted in an increased population of only pure strain Paiute Cutthroat trout above Llewellyn Falls.
Trout Unlimited continues to spearhead the work on Silver King Creek while relying on the cooperative agencies for scientific and logistical support. We are planning the next phase of the project in conjunction with the agencies and will provide an abundance of volunteer labor as well as funding for equipment, materials, and transportation. The project for this next phase will extend the range of the Paiute trout below Llewellyn Falls to an additional six miles of native stream. The same successful methods will be used as in 1993. Most of the hybridized fish will be removed by electro-shocking (see photo at right).
The fish will be moved downstream below the barrier falls for angling. Any remaining hybrids will be eradicated from the six miles of stream. Healthy Paiute trout will then be reintroduced to their original habitat. A successful reintroduction of the Paiute Cutthroat Trout to the entire length of Silver King Creek could ultimately result in the Paiute Cutthroat being the first fish species removed from the Federal Endangered Species List.
Above all, the greatest benefit will be to the survival of the Paiute Cutthroat trout by restoring the species to their native runs and ultimately being de-listed from the Endangered Species List, a first in fisheries.
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