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.