For Northern California rivers, luck is not a plan
September 11, 2013
By Jared Huffman, SFGate, September 11, 2013
In "Dirty Harry," Clint Eastwood memorably asked, do you "feel lucky?" It made for great theater, but it's no way to manage North Coast salmon. Unfortunately, that's been the policy of the U.S. Department of Interior toward the near-record run of chinook salmon that is migrating up the Trinity and Klamath rivers. Instead of a comprehensive strategy to fulfill its duty to protect this iconic fishery, the department is rolling the dice. So far, the salmon have been lucky.
A decade ago, they were not so lucky. In 2002, the same conditions we are experiencing this year - large salmon returns, a dry year, and over-allocated Klamath River water unable to satisfy all competing needs - produced a massive fish kill. Insufficient river flows brought death to thousands of salmon and economic disaster for tribes, fishermen, and communities up and down the West Coast.
Discovery of young coho salmon in Russian River tributary heralded
September 8, 2013
By Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, September 8, 2013,
The recent discovery of hundreds of young coho salmon in a tributary of the Russian River near Jenner is being hailed by biologists as a breakthrough in the decade-long effort to restore the critical habitat and nurse the endangered fish back to health.
Approximately 450 coho were counted in the upper reaches of Willow Creek this summer, an astounding number given that virtually none of the fish have been seen in the waterway for the better part of two decades.
Run-off from logging and farming, coupled with the end of dredging efforts that were aimed at preventing road flooding, had turned the nearly-nine mile waterway flowing from Coleman Valley to the Jenner estuary into a meandering mess.
But restoration work that involves numerous government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and to date has cost more than $1 million, appears to be paying off, to the degree that Willow Creek is quickly becoming one ofthe healthier habitats for coho among all 150 creeks and streams that comprise the Russian River watershed.