News & Stories

  • Salmon Salmon run above average/Falls short of high forecast, but still meets standards

    March 7, 2014

    By Lacy Jarrell, Herald and News

    Klamath River salmon runs fell short of predictions but still met requirements for commercial and sport fishing in 2013. Predictions for the 2014 Klamath River salmon run aren’t available yet, but scientists estimate surplus numbers will be considerably less than last year.

    According to Sara Borok, a scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), 179,541 salmon entered the Klamath River and its tributaries in 2013. Of those, 165,125 were adults and 14,416 were 2-year-old males, known as “jacks.”

    “It’s still an above-average run,” she said. “We did good; it just wasn’t as big as projected.”

    Scientists predicted the 2013 run would be 272,000. The average Klamath River salmon run is 122,000. The 2013 Klamath Basin fall chinook run estimate ranks 11th out of 36 years, according to a report released at a CDFW public information meeting.

    Borok said 2013 was the second year in a row fish numbers hit the minimum floor escapement, which was set at 40,700. It exceeded the estimate, with 69,986 (10,367 jacks and 59,619 adults).

    The escapement regulations allow scientists to ensure enough adults return to their natal stream to produce fish that will return in later years.

    According to Morgan Knechtle, a CDFW environmental scientist, the Shasta River was the only mid-Klamath tributary that had a run above the 37-year average. The Shasta averages about 6,000 per season, Knechtle said.

    “This year we got back 8,021,” he said.

    For 2014, scientists estimate ocean abundance for salmon from the Klamath River is 219,800 3-year-old fish, 67,400 4-year-old fish, and 2,100 5-year-old fish, according to Knechtle.

    “It’s telling us there will be enough fish to allow for minimum natural escapement. There will be a surplus available in 2014, but it will be considerably less than what was available in 2013,” Knechtle said.

    An estimate of the 2014 Klamath River salmon run will be announced this spring.

    Borok said more than 11,000 fish — 95 percent of the Klamath sport harvest — were taken at the mouth of the Klamath River last year because it turned south and created about a quartermile of standing room for sport fishermen on either side.

    California Fish and Game officials are reviewing three options for regulating fishing at the mouth of the river this year:

    ■ Option 1: Close fishing at the mouth of the Klamath River after 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota has been taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge.

    ■ Option 2: Close fishing at the mouth of the Klamath River after 15 percent of the Lower Klamath River sub-quota has been taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge.

    ■ Option 3: Close fishing at the mouth of the Klamath River year-round to provide protection for Klamath River spring and fall Chinook salmon and coho salmon migrating through the estuary.

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  • Court says Marin development plan neglects threatened salmon

    March 6, 2014

     A state appeals court says Marin County's latest land-use plan failed to assess the effects of proposed development on the habitat of threatened species of coho salmon and steelhead trout.

    The general plan adopted by county supervisors for unincorporated areas in 2007 also lacked measures to reduce the impact of construction on the fish and their habitat, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said Wednesday. The court ordered the county to conduct a new environmental study and invite more public comment.

    The ruling protects the last remaining wild population of California coho coastal salmon, said the Turtle Island Restoration Network, which challenged the plan in court.

    "We hope that after this decision, county supervisors are ready to work together so we can save these species from extinction," said Todd Steiner, executive director of the organization's salmon-protection program.

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  • Mattole River

    March 4, 2014

    The mouth opened twice, once after the Sept rain and again after the Thanksgiving rain and numerous chinook and a few coho and steelhead came in. They have not gotten above Honeydew due to low flows and are now spawning in the mainstem. Very few tribs are accessible at low flows.We are now praying for light rains to allow the eggs to hatch. The heliwood placed this fall is already providing these fish cover in the pools."

    Topics: blog

  • Salmon Creek (Sonoma County)

    March 3, 2014

    by Brock Dolman, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center

    Yippeee – that rain was amazing! For what it is worth – we at OAEC logged 16.48" from Wed., to Sunday!!! I was at Delia Moon's place on Tannery Creek today and had some very pleasant Steelhead watching. There was a very large male (30"?) and a large female (24"+) cavorting in a pool and then another 2 fish about 20" came by and kept going up the riffles. And a smallish 14" fish came by that invoked the ire of the male!! All of them had their adipose fins on – yea for wild Steelhead!!! I looked hard to make sure they were not Coho – but all had lots of spots on the dorsal and tail fins.I heard today from one of our OAEC staff folks that a bunch of fish were seen jumping at the Salmon Creek Falls – yea!!!

    Topics: blog

  • Lagunitas Creek Spawner Update

    February 21, 2014

    By Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Biologist, Marin Municipal Water District

    Coho season is wrapping up, and thankfully it’s ending with more of a bang than a whimper. In late January, at the typical end of the coho spawning season, the San Francisco Chronicle ran the headline “Crisis for the coho” with a couple of pictures showing the extremely dry conditions in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. As if on cue, the rain started falling a few days later and coho spawning took off. Since then spawning activity has subsided and in the last week we’ve seen what are likely the last few coho of the season. Our preliminary watershed totals are 433 coho and 203 redds, which is roughly double the size of the coho run three years ago.

    Steelhead (pictured) have also been spawning in impressive numbers. In the last three weeks MMWD biologists have seen 153 steelhead and 126 redds. Steelhead are likely to continue spawning through at least April, and at this pace we’re looking at a very good year for steelhead. Rain is forecast to return late next week, which should bring up another wave of steelhead spawners.

    Topics: blog

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