Wednesday June 15, 2022

Marin Independent Journal

The heavy downpours in late 2021 not only helped relieve Marin County’s drought but also created some of the best conditions in several years for endangered coho salmon, according to local biologists.

On Lagunitas Creek, which has the largest population of coho salmon between Monterey Bay and Mendocino County, fish surveyors saw one of the largest runs of coho in the last decade.

“We had a decent amount of rain that just allowed fish to spawn everywhere,” said Eric Ettlinger, a Marin Municipal Water District ecologist who monitors Lagunitas Creek. “For the public, it was an amazing year because they were all over the watershed. People were seeing them in popular spots like Devil’s Gulch and Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area and spawning over an extended period of time. They said they had not seen so many salmon in years and that this year was the best viewing they had ever seen.”

Once believed to number in the tens of thousands, coho salmon in Marin have dwindled to the hundreds. The decline is attributed largely to habitat loss caused by land-use changes and development such as dams, which blocked access to about half of the salmon’s historic habitat and caused creeks to fill in with more sediment.

Read more >

Link copied successfully