News & Stories

  • Shasta Chinook counts higher than 38-year average

    October 30, 2013

    By David Smith, Sisikiyou Daily News, October 30, 2013

    As salmon journey to their spawning grounds in the Klamath River’s tributaries, preliminary counts are coming in higher than the 38-year average.

    The annual adult salmon escapement count occurs from about September to early January, according to Morgan Knechtle of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Knechtle and his team monitor the three weirs on Bogus Creek and the Shasta and Scott rivers, compiling data that will be used in the formulation of the following year’s ocean abundance and harvest allowance estimates.

    The weirs funnel the salmon through a small box containing a video camera, which is connected to a motion-activated digital video recorder that allows for a visual count of each fish that passes through on its way upstream. As of Oct. 21, the CDFW had counted approximately 7,346 Chinook, a number higher than the multi-year average but much smaller than last year’s 29,544.

    The numbers vary with different age cohorts, according to Knechtle, and numerous factors can play a role in determining how many adults return each year from ocean maturation.

    Five Coho have returned to the Shasta River this year, according to CDFW data, but the numbers are not used in harvest estimates due to the species’ endangered status. Knechtle said that by utilizing the various facets of salmon counting – from adult escapement to outbound juveniles – the CDFW is in a position to provide a broad look at the Klamath as a whole and provide fishermen, tribes and agencies with an outlook for the coming year.

    Along with estimates on ocean abundance and overages for harvest, the data can be used to pinpoint causes of shifts in run sizes, providing a look at whether numbers are being affected primarily by in-river changes or conditions outside the basin. Knechtle said he expects final Chinook data to be ready for the 2014 fisheries management cycle by February.

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  • Young, endangered coho salmon seen in Walker Creek for the first time in five years

    October 22, 2013

    By Mark Prado, MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL, October 22, 2013

    Federally endangered juvenile coho salmon have appeared in Walker Creek in West Marin for the first time in five years, and their return could have been aided by human hands.

    The Marin Municipal Water District reports counting 137 juvenile coho salmon this month in the Walker Creek watershed. This is the first time juveniles have been seen since 2008 in Walker Creek, a tributary to Tomales Bay.

    "Ranchers in the area report there were no coho at all in the late 1980s and early 1990s," said Greg Andrew, the water district's fisheries biologist. "It's exciting to see this many."

    The endangered coho salmon were said to be in an "extinction vortex" after their numbers dipped to all-time lows three years ago.

    But counts have been on the rise since then.


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  • Parents and students enjoy salmon migration

    October 21, 2013

    By Kevin Dickinson, SISKIYOU DAILY NEWS, October 21, 2013

    Salmon restoration and conservation is a subject of much discussion in Siskiyou County even though few locals have salmon habitat flowing through their yards.

    As it so happens, The Nature Conservancy does have a backyard filled with salmon habitat, and on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, the nonprofit environmental organization invited the public for an open house at its Shasta Big Springs Ranch in Montague to watch salmon spawn in the wild and learn about conservation efforts in the Shasta Valley.

    "I think (the open house) allows (participants) to better understand the discussions we have in the county on agriculture and salmon," said Shasta Big Springs Ranch field scientist Chris Babcock.

    The ranch contains stretches of the Shasta River and Big Springs Creek, and open-house attendees were welcome to sit streamside at four sites across the two waterways.

    At each, volunteers were present to help answer questions and discuss the importance the environment played in salmon conservation. Some sites even had underwater cameras to provide participants a fish-eye view of the gravelly stream bed that would serve as the spawning ground.

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  • Salmon swim against currents of change along the coast

    October 18, 2013

    By Matthew Hansen, PENINSULA PRESS, October 18, 2013

    Gazos Creek runs roughly 12 miles to the ocean, through redwood groves, pasture land and foggy coastal plains. Like many watersheds in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, the endangered coho salmon once swam along its length, returning to spawning grounds to breed. The coho salmon are a unique visitor to California’s central coastal waters thanks to their limited range, which extends only from Alaska to Monterey Bay.

    Today, only one watershed south of San Francisco remains an active coho spawning ground: Scott Creek, in Santa Cruz County. Salmon continue to spawn there thanks to the efforts of conservationists, landowners, fishermen and volunteers who help sustain a hatchery on its tributaries.

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  • The Nature Conservancy's Shasta Big Springs Ranch Open House, October 18-19

    October 15, 2013

    Join us to watch this year’s spectacular run of fall Chinook in the Shasta River. See female salmon guard and build nests, while males compete with each other for spawning opportunities. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and point you to the best spots to catch all the action. It’s the perfect outing for families, photographers, and all wildlife enthusiasts.

    Dates & Time:

    • Friday, October 18, 2013, 1–4pm. Streamside presentation at 2 pm
    • Saturday, October 19, 2013, 10am–3pm. Streamside presentations at 11am and 1pm


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