Salmon Snapshots

Lagunitas Creek

Restoration Highlights

    • 13 fish barriers removed
    • 7 miles of stream made accessible to fish
    • 110 large woody debris structures added for instream habitat
    • 6 miles of riparian corridor restored, including 2,000 plantings and 8,300 acres
    • 11.5 miles of streamside livestock exclusion fence installed
    • 65 miles of roads decommissioned or upgraded to reduce sediment loading to streams
    • 165,000 cubic yards of sediment prevented from reaching streams 
    • 4,400 feet of streambank stabilized
    • 110 stream crossings removed or upgraded

    Restoration Organizations

    Local Restoration Groups

    Actively support these salmon restoration groups with your donations, volunteer time and expertise:

    Other Participants and Agencies

    Priority Restoration Actions

    • Conduct a salmonid limiting factors assessment in Keys Estero and Tomales Bay
    • Continue riparian protection and enhancement and sediment control projects
    • Restore channel complexity and increase pool frequency; retain, recruit and actively input large wood into stream
    • Develop cooperative projects with private landowners to conserve summer flows
    • Develop floodplain enhancement in modified and incised channels
    • Restore fish passage throughout the watershed for all life stages

    See all National Marine Fisheries Service Recovery Plan restoration actions at




    Restoration Highlights compiled from DFW Fisheries Restoration Grant Program publicly available information; California Fish Passage Assessment Database (PAD); FishNet 4C project data; Marin Municipal Water District information (1998-2012); Marin County Parks metric information; Urban Stream Restoration Program (USRP) grant data; Marin Resource Conservation District 50 Year Report (1960-2010); the UC Davis Information Center for the Environment (ICE) Natural Resource Projects Inventory (NRPI); National Park Service (2003-2012); and NOAA Restoration Center grant information. Metrics from 2000-2012 unless otherwise specified.

    Priority Restoration Actions are the Priority 1 Immediate Restoration Actions listed in the Final Recovery Plan for Central California Coast Coho Salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit

    Marin Municipal Water District increases flows in Lagunitas Creek each year on November 15 to assist salmon on their migration. This year the extra water seems to have encouraged Chinook salmon to start spawning. Between last week and this week we counted 49 Chinook and ten redds. We also observed a pair of chum salmon - making this the third year in a row we’ve observed this species. Smaller males keep their distance from the biggest male in the center. Learn more©  E. Ettlinger 

    Each spring the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) operates a Rotary Screw Trap in lower Lagunitas Creek to count young salmon as they migrate to the ocean. The trap consists of a rotating cone that funnels fish into a live box, where every morning fish are counted, measured, and sent on their way. The fish seen in this video are mostly coho salmon smolts, but also include steelhead trout, Tomales roach, sculpin, three-spined stickleback, and likely a few Chinook salmon smolts.  © Marin Municipal Water District

    Coho salmon spawning in Lagunitas Creek. See if you can count how many fish there are! December 2012. © Richard James -

    With the help of heavy machinery, crews are removing more than 13,000 cubic yards of dumped fill and abandoned structures from a West Marin floodplain, all to restore the habitat of the endangered coho salmon. The $5 million project by the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network is underway along a 1-mile stretch of Lagunitas Creek. The two-year project is funded by a grant from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California State Water Resources Control Board, as well as SPAWN member contributions and private donors. Preston Brown, left, and Todd Steiner review the Lagunitas Creek excavation project on Monday. The work was organized by their nonprofit, the Turtle Island Restoration Network. Learn more here and here

    For more than three weeks, Trout Unlimited placed nearly 40 logs, several tree bulbs, and a handful of boulders along a three-quarter of a mile stretch in the Devil’s Gulch area in Lagunitas Creek Watershed over September and October. The recently placed logs and boulders secured by threaded rods will provide shelter to juvenile coho and steelhead. The structures will provide the fish with a habitat in the summer. It will also protect the fish from the strong flow of the creek during heavy rains. Without shelter, juvenile fish often get washed downstream and perish. The local branch of Trout Unlimited has worked with the Marin Municipal Water District on the project since the idea was envisioned six years ago. Learn more.  © Mill Valley Herald

    The Devils Gulch Bridge Replacement, in a tributary to Lagunitas Creek, provides access to all user groups and eliminate the negative effect of horses on a sensitive coho spawning area.  © Marin RCD

    The San Geronimo Creek fish passage project improves fish passage through the 60 year old culvert and improves fish habitat during low-flow drought conditions with the construction of deep pools created by log and rock structures to be installed along 365 feet of the channel downstream from Railroad Avenue. The San Geronimo Valley is the last undammed headwaters of Lagunitas Creek and is considered critical coho salmon spawning and juvenile rearing habitat. Over 8 fish passage barriers have been removed in San Geronimo. Learn more.  © Marin County Department of Public Works


    The Marin Resource Conservation District helped to revegetate an unnamed tributary to San Geronimo Creek located at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  Prior to restoration, approximately 700 linear feet of the streambank was failing. © Marin RCD

    The Marin Municipal Water District inspects a large woody debris site in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. © Eric Ettlinger