Tuesday February 21, 2023

Marin Independent Journal

Marin salmon and steelhead researchers said this week that the outcome of this year’s spawning season will likely remain a mystery until the summer because recent storms prevented surveys during the peak period of the run.

While the storms help to signal fish such as endangered coho salmon, threatened chinook salmon and steelhead trout to swim upstream to their spawning grounds, the intensity of the back-to-back storms in January scoured creekbeds in salmon strongholds such as Lagunitas Creek and Redwood Creek.

The storms occurred right as coho salmon were completing their spawning season. Several egg nests that were laid in the stream bed were likely washed away by the powerful torrents, surveyors said.

“Streams remained either too turbid or too high to survey until late January,” said Marin Municipal Water District ecologist Eric Ettlinger, who monitors the Lagunitas Creek watershed. “By the time surveys resumed, the coho run was over. The streambed was wiped clean, erasing any signs of spawning from the previous months.”

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