Friday August 12, 2022

Marin Independent Journal

National Park Service biologists say they have counted the largest number of young coho salmon in Pine Gulch Creek in the Point Reyes National Seashore in more than 20 years — an encouraging sign that the once-thriving, but now endangered fish may be returning to their former stronghold after more than a decade-long absence.

National Park Service biologists reported finding 300 juvenile salmon in the creek this summer, which they said is the largest count since it began regularly monitoring the creek in 2001.

“Those that survive over the summer and through the winter will migrate out to sea next spring as smolts,” park service staff wrote in an update this month. “Hopefully several will return again as adults to keep the coho population alive on Pine Gulch.”

This is the second year in a row that park staff found coho salmon in the creek after they vanished more than a decade ago. The park service says historical accounts indicate the 7-mile creek that follows Highway 1 and flows into the Bolinas Lagoon was one of several salmon strongholds in coastal Marin. By the 1970s, damming, water diversions and the major drought in 1976-77 had extirpated most of the Pine Gulch Creek runs and others throughout the county.

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