State funds salmon restoration

David Briggs
Years of decay in Jewell and Tocaloma’s buildings and an invasion of ivy and blackberry since the park service purchased the land in 1972 have channeled a floodplain into a narrow creek. Coho salmon have struggled to swim upstream through rushing waters that can be like a “friggin’ river,” a SPAWN biologist said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded four grants to Marin organizations this month totaling half a million dollars for salmon restoration projects. Turtle Island Restoration Network’s SPAWN program will improve a migration passage at Roy’s Pools by developing a more gradually elevated, navigable passage upstream.

Another SPAWN project will restore a floodplain west of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, an area that formerly housed the towns of Jewell and Tocaloma, to its natural habitat. “Right now, this mile-long stretch is a mess of abandoned houses, garages, retaining walls, driveways and a plethora of non-native plants located in the creek’s floodplain,” SPAWN’s executive director Todd Steiner said.

In cooperation with the Point Reyes National Seashore, which will demolish buildings within five years, SPAWN plans to remove residual structures like patios and concrete fills and re-grade the land to undo the channeling that has made the creek impassible in heavy rains. The county Department of Public Works and Trout Unlimited will also receive funding for two other projects in the Lagunitas Watershed.