A female coho salmon

State fisheries biologists recently reported some disturbing news: the coho salmon that typically spawn near Muir Woods had vanished. Recent rainstorms may be helping the endangered salmon, but habitat degradation and the persistent drought are taking a major toll. We’ll discuss the plight of coho salmon in the Bay Area.

Doug Karpa, legal program director for the Turtle Island Restoration Network, involved in the Salmon Protection Watershed Network (SPAWN), which does restoration work at the Lagunitas Creek
Gordon Becker, senior scientist at the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration

  • thucy

    Habitat degradation of salmon spawning grounds near Muir Woods? Would that include GGNRA’s gross exploitation of Muir Woods, including single day visitation of over 6,000 people? Neither the roads nor the woods themselves are designed to handle such an influx. The notion that GGNRA can continue in this fashion WITHOUT negative impact on the salmon spawning grounds is pure fantasy. And let’s not ignore the runoff created by GGNRA’s decision to expand parking at the intersection a mile or so above the woods.
    Cue Polanski’s angry sheep farmer in “Chinatown”.

  • Bob Fry

    There have been far deeper and longer droughts in California’s history (last 1000 years or so). How did the salmon and lots of other plant and animal species survive then? Clearly they did, so reductions now must be caused by habitat changer other than drought, yes? In other words, man-made habitat alteration and destruction.

    • Strandwolf

      How about both? As a creek watcher (primarily San Francisquito Creek that runs, when it does, the border of San Mateo/Santa Clara Counties, mostly) it has run very feebly the past several years, with disastrous consequences for the aquatic-adapted animals. Even before the logging of the Santa Cruz Mountains the stream was intermittent in its lower reaches, apparently.

    • Andy Gunther

      Bob, I would expect the droughts that you identify would have wiped out populations in the hardest hit areas, but not everywhere. After the drought the remaining populations would serve as the source for recolonization of the hard hit watersheds through straying.

  • ES Trader

    Do naturally spawned salmon behave differently than those from a fishery ?

    If not can’t artificially fertilized coho be placed into Laguinatas in years like this ?

    Years ago a “Nature” segment mentioned that hatchery raised fish did not have the same survival skills as naturally spawned fish.

  • Ira Weiss

    I interned with The Nature Conservancy this summer working on these salmon issues and monitoring stream flow in the Navarro river watershed. I think it is very important to stress how much not only the wine growers in these areas are taking water from these rivers, but also to stress that it is the marijuana growers as well. I worked with Mia from CEMAR doing these measurements and she explained to me how there is a regulation that limits water collection for agricultural purposes after march. Seeing as though it rains sufficient amounts in april and may in California, i think it is important to work on changing this regulation.

    • spinningdisk

      Making it illegal to collect water on your own property is just one of
      many illegal laws promoted under the [not ratified by U.S.] treaty known
      as UN Agenda 21. One Bay Area and ABAG are the unelected boards
      implementing policies like thisin the bay area. They are wildly
      successful because they’ve been operating under the radar without public
      consent or public elections for years now. It’s all illegal. Go onto
      your city, county and state websites to find out if your community is an
      ABAG member, most likely it is. Then go and read what the policies are. It’s all in the public domain and very shocking.

      • Andy Gunther

        In fact, key solutions being promoted by those who seek restoration of coastal streams involve collection of water on your own property in the winter so that it can be used in the summer when flows are low. Not sure why this is shocking; it increases water supply reliability for landowners while supporting restoration of salmon and steelhead. You can read about this here: http://www.cohopartnership.org/

      • Doug Karpa

        For the record, One Bay Area is required by SB375, which is one of California’s ground breaking laws for dealing with climate change. That law was enacted by our elected legislature and signed by our elected governor and requires that land use planning account for the greenhouse gas emissions (that result from people driving too much or siting in traffic). ABAG is one of the agencies responsible for carrying out the legislature’s directives. Most people think that intelligent planning is a wise thing to do. However, it is decidedly neither illegal nor antidemocratic.

        However, this also has very little to do with salmon.

  • Robert Thomas

    For those of us who did serious time setting salmon rigs for tourist fisherman more tipsy than prone to tip well,

    Chinook salmon == King salmon
    Coho salmon == Silver salmon

  • Livegreen

    Whats a good way to tell smelt species apart? Is there a way to notify someone if we see them in Redwood Creek?

    I have pictures of smelt from a year ago and the Muir Woods Visitors Center didn’t know how to ID or who to notify.

    (If on an anecdotal basis it even matters).

  • Ira Weiss

    What is the progress on lifting the water collection regulation that prevents agricultural farmers in these Northern California watersheds from collecting water past mid march?

  • BubbaBlackwell

    If the state was really seriious about wate depletion it would recognize the difference between water used commericialy to produce a product and that used for human consumption, tax the former at 1 cent per gallon. The tax revenue gained could used to build de-salination plants and habitat restoral. The commercial interest would simply factor in the cost of the water the same as the other resources used to produce to their product. Why are we not taxing the commercial water? Each acre foot is about 320,000 gallons!

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