Salmon Snapshot Goals

Why Salmon Matter?

Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead are iconic species of the Pacific. For at least 2 million years, salmon and steelhead have existed in coastal areas from Baja California through Alaska. They are an important part of our economy and cultural heritage. But throughout California, wild salmon are disappearing—as are the ecosystems, jobs and way of life that depend on them. Read more »

Chinook hiding out in the Mattole River © Thomas Dunklin  

A rotary screw trap is used to monitor juvenile fish on their outmigration.  

Timber companies like Green Diamond Resource Company restore instream habitat on their lands. © Pacific Watershed Associates

Snapshot Goals

Provide a Clearinghouse for Population Data

Annual population data for coho salmon, Chinook salmon, and steelhead are presented for 55 monitored salmon watersheds to provide Californians with a better understanding of how many fish return to rivers and creeks each year. Population trends can help decision makers, resource agencies, watershed groups and communities better understand where salmon and steelhead are thriving or declining.

Salmon Snapshots are available for 18 of California's interior Central Valley monitored Chinook salmon streams, including the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River watersheds. Monitoring programs of Chinook salmon returning to spawn in the Central Valley have existed since the early 1950s, and while the programs continue to evolve, there are dedicated adult escapement monitoring programs comprising the comprehensive Central Valley Chinook Adult Escapement Monitoring Plan.

We present Salmon Snapshots for 37 California coastal watersheds that have already engaged in or are initiating long-term dedicated monitoring programs for adult migration following the California Coastal Monitoring Program or are already engaged in other long-term monitoring programs, such as the Klamath-Trinity Restoration Program. We intend to grow the number of Salmon Snapshots as more watersheds engage in the California Coastal Monitoring Program.

Highlight Salmon Restoration Efforts

Communities, conservation organizations, and state, federal and local agencies across California work together to restore salmon habitat to see a return of healthy salmon runs.  There is strong commitment to salmon restoration in California and since 2000 over 1,200 on-the-ground restoration projects were completed in coastal salmon and steelhead watersheds, but there is much more to be done if recovery within our lifetime is to become a reality. The Salmon Snapshots highlight the on-the-ground restoration work that these organizations do to help Californians better understand the innovations going on in their back yard and help agencies focus resources where salmon and steelhead need them most. 

Prioritize Monitoring

Monitoring is an essential part of understanding the effectiveness of restoration efforts and evaluating trends in the recovery of salmon and steelhead in coastal California watersheds. Currently, there is no comprehensive monitoring program in coastal California. We aim to encourage implementation and funding of the California Coastal Salmonid Monitoring Program to comprehensively track the status, trends and recovery of populations.