Coho salmon recovery programs seek help from local landowners

Sonoma West –

Nestled up against a verdant, forested ridge in western Sebastopol lies an idyllic little stream with plenty of cold, clear water and shady pools that look like prime fish habitat. Redwood Creek is a tributary to Jonive Creek, which weaves under and along Bodega Highway before entering Atascadero Creek at the northwest corner of Ragle Ranch Park. Atascadero Creek then flows through Graton into Green Valley Creek, which meets the Russian River in Forestville.

Green Valley Creek is renowned as a critical and productive stronghold for endangered coho salmon and was the last stream in the Russian River watershed to support three consecutive year classes of coho. For decades, it has been a focal point of local salmon recovery efforts, but comparably little is known about the potential of Atascadero Creek and its tributary streams to support salmon.

Research is difficult in part because of the terrain of the Atascadero — it’s a boggy, entangled wetland — and in part because much of it lies on private land. In order to conduct any sort of fish monitoring or habitat assessment, it is necessary to gain access permission from each of the numerous landowners who own the patchwork of private parcels along the stream banks.

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