Salmon rebound in watershed

12/27/2012

Salmon numbers in the Lagunitas Creek watershed are on track to meet the average of the last 17 years—a significant rebound from the low counts of recent years, Municipal Water District announced last week. District and community volunteer surveyors have already counted 160 federally endangered coho salmon and 80 redds, or spawning nests, in Lagunitas and San Geronimo Creeks, representing the highest level of spawning activity since 2006. The “extraordinarily” low numbers counted from 2007 to 2010 were matched by regional lows throughout California and Oregon, and district biologists attribute them to ocean conditions rather than to any upstream changes. Counting will not be completed until mid-February. In addition, the district said observers caught an unexpected glimpse of a chum salmon, a rare species in California that makes its home mainly in the Arctic Ocean and Oregon. Observers with the district usually only see a handful of chum during a season and none have been spotted since 2006. Lagunitas Creek, originating on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais, is considered home to one of the healthiest coho populations in the state. The district suggests that anyone interested in seeing the fish go to the Leo T. Cronin fish viewing area in Samuel P. Taylor State Park, particularly after a heavy rain.