Low streams may threaten salmon

David Briggs
Dry weather stands to leave salmon stranded.

Coho salmon that entered the Lagunitas Creek watershed to spawn are now under threat from an unusually protracted dry spell, according to Dr. Christopher Pincetich of the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN). The endangered fish typically swims upstream between November and February to mate and lay eggs, but low precipitation has left water levels so low that it may be impossible for coho to pass through a number of areas to complete their winter migration. However, Pincetich said that the most pressing threats to coho remain pollution and habitat loss, and that SPAWN is working to restore the watershed by reintroducing native plants, reducing sediment erosion from unpaved roads and educating the public. Most weekends during the winter SPAWN sponsors naturalist-led creek walks to view spawning salmon. Space is limited and registration is required. The walks are free for SPAWN members, $10 for on-member adults and $4 for children, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.