Report from Eric Ettlinger, MMWD
We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks on Lagunitas Creek with lots of both rain and fish. In that time we’ve received over eight inches of rain and Lagunitas Creek flows increased from 20 cubic feet per second to a peak of 1,800 cfs. During a break in the rain on Monday we observed 63 coho, 28 Chinook, and one a chum salmon.
The stats for the season so far include:
•117 coho, 74 Chinook, and two chum salmon
• 24 coho redds (gravel nests), 20 Chinook redds, one chum redd, and nine redds we couldn’t classify
Our coho observations are far above average for this early in December and we’ve already seen the second-highest number of Chinook recorded for the creek.
Not only have the numbers been unusual, but so have the interactions between salmon species. On Monday we saw a male chum salmon attempting to spawn with a female Chinook (see the photo here). This confused fish was driving off three male Chinook salmon and even biting and wounding the female, presumably because he occasionally mistook her for a male. These species can’t hybridize, so hopefully the female Chinook survived the encounter and eventually spawned with her own kind. Male coho have also been seen attempting to spawn with female Chinook, maybe because these extra-large females are simply irresistible.
Today we observed salmon jumping through Roy’s Pools (at the western edge of the San Geronimo Golf Course), at The Inkwells (the confluence of San Geronimo and Lagunitas Creeks), and spawning at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area. We’re hoping flows will recede enough to get into the creek on December 9, but if anyone sees salmon before then, particularly in Devil’s Gulch and San Geronimo Creek, please share your observations in the comments section of this blog post:
Eric Ettlinger
Aquatic Ecologist

This just in from Michael Reichmuth, a fisheries biologist working at Redwood Creek:

The 2014-2015 spawner season is already upon us! Both chinook and coho salmon spawning has already started in Lagunitas Creek. Hopefully with a little more rain we will also start to see coho spawning in Olema and Redwood Creeks. The last time we saw this cohort was during the winter of 2011-2012 when seven redds were recorded on Olema Creek and four were seen on Redwood Creek. Hopefully ocean conditions were favorable during the spring of 2013 and we can surpass the 2011-2012 spawner counts.

Read more: The Coho Are Already Here!

This in from Sam Davidson, Communications Director for TU California:
The link below is an excellent visual tool for understanding the various components of Prop. 1 (The Water Bond).  TU played a significant role in getting some of the most fish-beneficial elements including in this measure, and as has been pointed out previously among the provisions we fought for are those to fund state obligations related to restoration of the San Joaquin River and implementation of the Klamath River agreements (removal of four dams) -- campaigns which TU National and grassroots have strongly supported for many years.

The North Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited has two projects in Marin County focused on restoring habitat for the endangered Coho salmon and protected steelhead trout. NBTU is leading the restoration of Devil’s Gulch (part of the Lagunitas Watershed) through grant writing, engineering and on-site restoration work. The second restoration effort provides planting assistance to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in the multi-year restoration of the Redwood Creek Watershed.  Please scroll down the page for details.

After years of concerted effort and leadership by our very own Brian Johnson, as well as his predecessor Chuck Bonham, with many setbacks along the way, and bedeviled by drought, total water cut-offs, massive salmon kills, and Siskiyou County’s unique view of the world, we finally reached a long-dreamed-of milestone on the Klamath River.

Recently, four members of the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that will authorize and pay for key elements of the three formal agreements now in place between Klamath Basin water users, Tribes, farmers and ranchers, a major utility, conservation groups, local and state governments, and resource management agencies.  These agreements collectively resolve virtually all of the issues (including water sharing, listed species recovery, commercial and sport fishing, hydropower operations and infrastructure, river management, Tribal rights, wildlife refuge needs, and irrigation requirements) that have undermined a comprehensive solution for the Klamath for decades.

Read more: Big News on the Klamath River!

This just in from Michael Reichmuth, Fishery Biologist with the National Parks Service:

For those of you interested in a summary of our 2014 smolt trapping operations I have provided a link below to a short summary of the information collected during the trapping season.

In general this spring started out wet but dried out quickly with only one storm that caused a disruption in our trapping operations. Coho smolt production increased on Olema Creek when compared with the previous time this cohort was seen while smolt production decreased on Redwood Creek.

Follow the link provided below if you are interested in viewing a summary of our preliminary spring 2014 coho smolt trapping results.

North Bay TU received word this week that it has been awarded a grant by the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife to install large wood at eight sites in Devil's Gulch Creek, a tributary to Lagunitas Creek.  This will provide improved habitat for the endangered Coho salmon as well as threatened steelhead trout.  The work will be completed this summer and will include assistance from NBTU volunteers like you.  Thanks for all you do for the fish!

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.

Read more: Devil's Gulch


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